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Full text of "The complete works of Stephen Charnock"

( OCT li 

B#93TB .CA27 1864 v. 2 
Charnock, Stephen, 1628 

The complete works of 



Wii\ (^mral f r^fm 


LiNCOi-N college; HosoEAur canoh of Worcester; rector of st martin's, birminqham. 





W. LINDSAY ALEXANDER, D.D., Professor of Theology, Congregational 
Union, Edinburgli. 

JAMES BEGG, D.D., Minister of Newington Free Chnreh, Edinburgh, 

THOMAS J. ORAWFOED, D.D., S.T.P., Professor of Divinity, University, 

D, T. K. DRUMMOND, M,A., Minister of St Thomas's Episcopal Church, 

WILLIAM H. GOOLD, D.D., Professor of Biblical Literature and Church 
History, Reformed Presbyterian Church, Edinburgh. 

ANDREW THOMSON, D,D., Minister of Broughton Place United Presby- 
terian Church, Edinburgh. 

General ffiftttor. 
REV. THOMAS SMITH, M.A., Edinbtjegh. 



Wiiil^ gntxatindxan 
















A Discourse upon the Power of God. 
A Discourse upon the Holiness of God. 
A Discourse upon the Goodness op God. 
A Discourse upon God's Dominion. 
A Discourse upon God's Patience. . 

. Rom. XVI. 27. 


. Job XXVI. 14 

. 99 

. ExoD. XV. 11. 

. 188 

. Mark X. 18. 

. 275 

. Ps. cm. 19. 

. 400 

. Nahum. I. 3. 

. 500 




To God only wise, he glory through Jems Christ for ever. Amen. — 
Rom. XVI. 27. 

This chapter, being the last of this epistle, is chiefly made up of charitable 
and friendly salutations, and commendations of particular persons, according 
to the earliness and strength of their several graces, and their labour of love 
for the interest of God and his people. 

In ver. 17, he warns them not to be drawn aside from the gospel doctrine 
which had been taught them, by the plausible pretences and insinuations 
which the corrupters of the doctrine and rule of Christ never want from the 
suggestions of their carnal wisdom. The brats of soul- destroying errors 
may walk about the world in a garb and disguise of good words and fair 
speeches, as it is in the 18th verse, ' by good words and fair speeches deceive 
the hearts of the simple.' And for their encouragement to a constancy in 
the gospel doctrine, he assures them that all those that would dispossess 
them of truth, to possess them with vanity, are but Satan's instruments, and 
will fall under the same captivity and yoke with their principal : ver. 16^ ^^ 
♦ The God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly.' 

Whence observe, 

1. All corrupters of divine truth, and troublers of the church's peace, are 
no better than devils. Our Saviour thought the name Satan a title merited 
by Peter, when he breathed out an advice, as an axe at the root of the gos- 
pel, the death of Christ, the foundation of all gospel truth ; and the apostle 
concludes them under the same character, which hinder the superstructure, 
and would mix their chaff with his wheat. Mat. xvi. 23, ' Get thee behind 
me, Satan.' It is not, * Get thee behind me, Simon,' or, ' Get thee behind 
me, Peter,' but, * Get thee behind me, Satan : thou art an offence to me.' 
Thou dost oppose thyself to the wisdom, and grace, and authority of God, 
to the redemption of man, and to the good of the world. 

As the Holy Ghost is the Spirit of truth, so is Satan the spirit of falsehood ; 
as the Holy Ghost inspires believers with truth, so doth the devil corrupt 
unbelievers with error. Let us cleave to the truth of the gospel, that we 
may not be counted by God as part of the corporation of fallen angels, and 
not be barely reckoned as enemies of God, but in league with the greatest 
enemy to his glory in the world. 

2. The reconciler of the world will be the subduer of Satan. The God of 

4 charnock's works. [Rom. XYI. 27. 

peace sent the Prince of peace to be the restorer of his rights, and the hammer 
to beat in pieces the usurper of them. As a God of truth, he will make good 
his promise ; as a God of peace, he will perfect the design his wisdom hath 
laid and begun to act. In the subduing Satan, he will be the conqueror of 
his instruments. He saith not, God shall bruise your troublers and heretics, 
but Satan. The fall of a general proves the rout of the army. Since God, 
as a God of peace, hath delivered his own, he will perfect the victory, and 
make them cease from bruising the heel of his spiritual seed. 

3. Divine evangelical truth shall be victorious. No weapon formed against 
it shall prosper ; the head of the wicked shall fall as low as the feet of the 
godly. The devil never yet blustered in the world, but he met at last with 
a disappointment. His fall hath been hke lightning, sudden, certain, 

4. Faith must look back as far as the foundation-promise, ' The God of 
peace shall bruise,' &c. The apostle seems to allude to the first promise, 
Gen. iii. 15 ; a promise that hath vigour to nourish the church in all ages 
of the world ; it is the standing cordial ; out of the womb of this promise 
all the rest have taken their birth. The promises of the Old Testament were 
designed for those under the New, and full performance of them is to be 
expected, and will be enjoyed by them. It is a mighty strengthening to faith, 
to trace the footsteps of God's truth and wisdom, from the threatening against 
the serpent in Eden, to the bruise he received in Calvary, and the triumph 
over him upon mount Olivet. 

5. We are to confide in the promise of God, but leave the season of its 
accomplishment to his wisdom. He will bruise Satan under your feet, there- 
fore do not doubt it ; and shortly, therefore wait for it. Shortly it will be done, 
that is, quickly, when you think it may be a great way off ; or shortly, that 
is, seasonably, when Satan's rage is hottest, God is the best judge of the 
seasons of distributing his own mercies, and darting out his own glory. It 
is enough to encourage our waiting, that it will be, and that it will be shortly; 
but we must not measure God's shortly by our minutes. 

The apostle, after this, concludes with a comfortable prayer, that since 
they were liable to many temptations to turn their backs upon the doctrine 
which they had learned, yet he desires God, who had brought them to the 
knowledge of his truth, would confirm them in the belief of it, since it was 
the gospel of Christ his dear Son, and a mystery he had been chary of and 
kept in his own cabinet, and now brought forth to the world in pursuance of 
the ancient prophecies, and now had published to all nations, for that end 
that it might be obeyed ; and concludes with a doxology, a voice of praise, 
to him who was only wise to efiect his own purposes, ver. 25-27 : ' Now to 
him that is of power to establish you, according to my gospel and the preach- 
ing of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which was 
kept secret since the world began, but now is made manifest, and by the 
scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting 
God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith.' This doxology 
is interlaced with many comforts for the Romans. He explains the causes 
of this glory to God, power and wisdom. Power to establish the Romans in 
grace, which includes his will. This he proves from a divine testimony, viz., 
the gospel ; the gospel committed to him and preached by him, which he 
commends by calling it the preaching of Christ ; and describes it, for the 
instruction and comfort of the church, from the adjuncts, the obscurity of it 
nnder the Old Testament, and the clearness of it under the New. It was 
hid from the former ages and kept in silence, not simply and absolutely, but 
comparatively and in part ; because in the Old Testament, the doctrine of 

Rom. XVI. 27.] god's wisdom. 5 

salvation by Christ was confined to the limits of Judea, preached only to the 
inhabitants of that country : ' To them he gave his statutes and his judg- 
ments, and dealt not so magnificently with any nation,' Ps. cxlvii. 19, 20 ; 
but now he causes it to spring with greater majesty out of those naiTow 
bounds, and spread its wings about the world. This manifestation of the 
gospel he declares, first, from the subject, all nations ; 2, from the principal 
efficient cause of it, the commandment and order of God ; 3, the instrumental 
cause, the prophetic scriptures ; 4, from the end of it, the obedience of faith.* 

Obs. 1. The glorious attributes of God bear a comfortable respect to believers. 
Power and wisdom are here mentioned as two props of their faith; his power 
here includes his goodness. Power to help, without will to assist, is a dry 
chip. The apostle mentions not God's power simply and absolutely con- 
sidered, for that of itself is no more comfort to men than it is to devils ; but 
as considered in the gospel covenant, his power, as well as his other perfec- 
tions, are ingredients in that cordial of God's being our God. We should 
never think of the excellency of the. divine nature, without considering the 
duties they demand, and gathering the honey they present. 

Obs. 2. The stability of a gracious soul depends upon the wisdom, as well 
as the power of God. It would be a disrepute to the almightiness of God, 
if that should be totally vanquished which was introduced by his mighty 
arm, and rooted in the soul by an irresistible grace. It would speak a want 
of strength to maintain it, or a change of resolution, and so would be no 
honour to the wisdom of his first design. It is no part of the wisdom of an 
artificer to let a work, wherein he determined to shew the greatness of his 
skill, to be dashed in pieces, when he hath power to preserve it. God designed 
every gracious soul for a piece of his workmanship, Eph. ii. 10. What, to have 
the skill of his grace defeated ? If any soul which he hath graciously con- 
quered should be wrested from him, what could be thought but that his 
power is enfeebled ? If deserted by him, what could be imagined, but that 
he repented of his labour and altered his counsel, as if rashly undertaken ? 
These Romans were rugged pieces, and lay in a filthy quarry, when God 
came first to smooth them, for so the apostle represents them with the rest 
of the heathen, Rom. i. 19 ; and would he throw them away, or leave them 
to the power of his enemy, after all his pains he had taken with them, to fit 
them for his building ? Did he not foresee the designs of Satan against 
them, what stratagems he would use to defeat his purposes and strip him of 
the honour of his work ? And would God so gratify his enemy, and disgi-ace 
his own wisdom ? The deserting of what hath been acted is a real repent- 
ance, and argues an imprudence in the first resolve and attempt. The gospel 
is called, ' the manifold wisdom of God,' Eph. iii. 10 ; the fruit of it in the 
heart of any person, which is a main design of it, hath a title to the same 
character ; and shall this grace, which is the product of this gospel, and 
therefore the birth of manifold wisdom, be suppressed ? It is at God's hand 
we must seek our fixedness and establishment, and act faith upon these two 
attributes of God. Power is no ground to expect stabiUty, without wisdom 
interesting the agent in it, and finding out and applying the means for it. 
Wisdom is naked without power to act, and power is useless without wisdom 
to direct. They are these two excellencies of the Deity, the apostle here 
pitches the hope and faith of the converted Romans upon for their stability. 

Obs. 3. Perseverance of believers in grace is a gospel doctrine. ' Ac- 
cording to my gospel : ' my gospel ministerially, according to that gospel 
doctrine I have taught you in this epistle (for as the prophets were comments 
upon the law, so are the epistles upon the gospel). This very doctrine he 
* Gomanis in loc. 

9 chabnock's works. [Rom. XVI. 27. 

had discoursed of, Rom. viii. 88, 39, where he tells them, that * neither 
death nor life,' the terrors of a cruel death, or the allurements of an honour- 
able and pleasant life, * nor principalities and powers,' with all their subtilty 
and strength ; not the things we have before us, nor the promises of a 
future felicity, by either ' angels ' in heaven or devils in hell ; not the highest 
angel, nor the deepest devil, ' is able to separate us,' us Romans, ' from the 
love of God, which is in Christ Jesus.' So that, according to my yospel may 
be according to that declaration of the gospel which I have made in this 
epistle, which doth not only promise the first creating grace, but the perfect- 
ing and crowning grace ; for not only the being of grace, but the health, 
liveliness, and perpetuity of grace is the fruit of the new covenant, Jer. 
xxxii. 40. 

Obs. 4. That the gospel is the sole means of a Christian's establishment. 
' According to my gospel ;' that is, • by my gospel.' The gospel is the in- 
strumental cause of our spiritual life, it is the cause also of the continuance 
of it ; it is the seed whereby we were bom, and the milk whereby we are 
nourished, 1 Peter i. 23 ; it is the power of God to salvation, 1 Peter ii. 2, 
and therefore to all the degrees of it : John xvii. 17, ' Sanctify them by thy 
truth,' or ' through thy truth ; ' by or through his truth he sanctifies us, and 
by the same truth he establisheth us. The first sanctification, and the pro- 
gress of it ; the first lineaments, and the last colours, are wrought by the 
gospel. The gospel therefore ought to be known, studied, and considered 
by us ; it is the charter of our inheritance, and the security of our standing. 
The law acquaints us with our duty, but contributes nothing to our strength 
and settlement. 

Ohs. 5. The gospel is nothing else but the revelation of Christ : verse 25, 
* According to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ.' The discovery 
of the myster}', and redemption, and salvation in and by him, it is genitiviis 
objecti, that preaching wherein Christ is declared and set out, with the 
benefits accruing by him. This is the privilege the wisdom of God reserved 
for the latter times, which the Old Testament Church had only under a veil. 

Obs. 6. It is a part of the excellency of the gospel that it had the Son of 
God for its publisher : ' The preaching of Jesus Christ.' It was first 
preached to Adam in paradise by God, and afterwards published by Christ 
in person to the inhabitants of Judea. It was not the invention of man, but 
copied from the bosom of the Father, by him that lay in his bosom. The 
gospel we have is the same which our Saviour himself preached when he was 
in the world. He preached it not to the Romans, but the same gospel he 
preached is transmitted to the Romans. It therefore commands our respect ; 
■whoever slights it, it is as much as if he slighted Jesus Christ himself, were 
he in person to sound it from his own lips. The validity of a proclamation 
is derived from the authority of the prince that dictates it and orders it ; 
yet, the greater the person that publisheth it, the more dishonour is cast 
upon the authority of the prince that enjoins it, if it be contemned. The 
everlasting God ordained it, and the eternal Son published it. 

Obs. 7. The gospel was of an eternal resolution, though of a temporary reve- 
lation : ver. 25, ' According to the revelation of the mystery, which was 
kept secret since the world began.' It is an everlasting gospel. It was a 
promise ' before the world began,' Tit. i. 2. It was not a new invention, 
but only kept secret among the Arcana, in the breast of the Almighty. It 
was hidden from angels, for the depths of it are not yet fully made known 
to them ; their ' desire to look into ' it speaks yet a deficiency in their know- 
ledge of it, 1 Peter i. 12. It was published in paradise, but in such words 
as Adam did not fully understand ; it was both discovered and clouded in 

Rom. XVI. 27.] god's wisdom. 7 

the smoke of sacrifices ; it was wrapped up in a veil under the law, but not 
opened till the death of the Redeemer ; it was then plainly said to the cities 
of Judah, * Behold, your God comes.' The whole transaction of it between 
the Father and the Son, which is the spirit of the gospel, was from eternity; 
the creation of the world was in order to the manifestation of it. Let us 
not then regard the gospel as a novelty ; the consideration of it, as one of 
God's cabinet rarities, should enhance our estimation of it. No traditions 
of men, no invention of vain wits, that pretend to be wiser than God, should 
have the same credit with that which bears date from eternity. 

Obs. 8. That divine truth is mysterious. ' According to the revelation of 
the mystery,' Christ, ' manifested in the flesh.' The whole scheme of God- 
liness is a mystery. No man or angel could imagine how two natures, so 
distant as the divine and human, should be united ; how the same person 
should be criminal and righteous ; how a just God should have a satisfac- 
tion, and a sinful man a justification ; how the sin should be punished and 
the sinner saved. None could imagine such a way of justification as the 
apostle in this epistle declares ; it was a mystery, when hid under the 
shadows of the law ; and a mystery to the prophets, when it sounded firom 
their mouths ; they searched it without being able to comprehend it, 1 Peter 
i. 10, 11. 

If it be a mystery, it is humbly to' be submitted to ; mysteries surmount 
human reason. The study of the gospel must not be with a yawning and 
careless frame. Trades you call mysteries are not learned sleeping and 
nodding, diligence is required ; we must be disciples at God's feet. As it 
had God for the author, so we must have God for the teacher of it ; the 
contrivance was his, and the illumination of our minds must be from him. 
As God only manifested the gospel, so he only can open our eyes to see the 
mysteries of Christ in it. 

In verse 26 we may observe, 

1. The Scriptures of the Old Testament verify the substance of the New, 
and the New doth evidence the authority of the Old : ' By the Scriptures of 
the prophets made known.' The Old Testament credits the New, and the 
New illustrates the Old. The New Testament is a comment upon the pro- 
phetic part of the Old. The Old shews the promises and predictions of God, 
and the New shews the performance ; what was foretold in the Old is fulfilled 
in the New ; the predictions are cleared by the events. The predictions of 
the Old are divine, because they are above the reason of man to foreknow ; 
none but an infinite knowledge could foretell them, because none but an in- 
finite wisdom could order all things for the accomplishment of them. 

The Christian religion hath then the surest foundation, since the Scrip- 
tures of the prophets, wherein it is foretold, are of undoubted antiquity, and 
owned by the Jews and many heathens, which are and were the great enemies 
of Christ. The Old Testament is therefore to be read for the strengthening 
of our faith. Our blessed Saviour himself draws the streams of his doctrine 
from the Old Testament ; he clears up the promise of eternal life, and the 
doctrine of the resurrection, from the words of the covenant, ' I am the God 
of Abraham,' &c.. Mat. xxii. 32. And our apostle clears up the doctrine of 
justification by faith, from God's covenant with Abraham, Rom. iv. It must 
be read, and it must be read as it is writ ; it was writ to a gospel end, it 
must be studied with a gospel spirit. The Old Testament was writ to give 
credit to the New, when it should be manifested in the world. It must be 
read by us to give strength to our faith, and establish us in the doctrine of 
Christianity. How many view it as a bare story, an almanack out of date, 
and regard it as a dry bone, without sucking from it the evangelical marrow I 

8 ' charnock's works. [Rom. XVI. 27. 

Christ is, in Genesis, Abraham's seed ; in David's Psalms and the prophets, 
the Messiah and Redeemer of the world. 

2. Observe, the antiquity of the gospel is made manifest by the Scriptures 
of the prophets. It was of as ancient a date as any prophecy. The first pro- 
phecy was nothing else but a gospel charter ; it was not made at the incarna- 
tion of Christ, but made manifest ; it then rose up to its meridian lustre, and 
sprung out of the clouds wherewith it was before obscured. The gospel was 
preached to the ancients by the prophets, as well as to the Gentiles by the 
apostles : Heb. iv. 2, * Unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto 
them.' To them first, to us after ; to them indeed more cloudy, to us more 
clear ; but they, as well as we, were evangelised, as the word signifies. 

The covenant of grace was the same in the writings of the prophets and 
the declarations of the evangelists and apostles. Though by our Saviour's 
incarnation the gospel light was clearer, and by his ascension the effusions 
of the Spirit fuller and stronger, yet the believers under the Old Testament 
saw Christ in the swaddling bands of legal ceremonies and the lattice of 
prophetical writings. They could not ofier one sacrifice, or read one pro- 
phecy, with a faith of the right stamp. Abraham's justifying faith had 
Christ for its object, though it was not so explicit as ours, because the 
manifestation was not so clear as ours, 

8. Ail truth is to be drawn from Scripture. The apostle refers them here 
to the gospel and the prophets. The Scripture is the source of divine 
knowledge ; not the traditions of men, nor reason separate from Scripture. 
Whosoever brings another doctrine coins another Christ : nothing is to be 
added to what is written, nothing detracted from it. He doth not send us 
for truth to the puddles of human inventions, to the enthusiasms of our 
brain ; nor to the see of Rome, no, nor to the instructions of angels ; but 
the writings of the prophets, as they clear up the declarations of the apostles. 
The church of Rome is not made here the standard of truth, but the Scrip- 
tures of the prophets are to be the touch-stone to the Romans for the trial 
of the truth of the gospel. 

4. How great is the goodness of God ! The borders of grace are enlarged 
to the Gentiles, and not hid under the skirts of the Jews. He that was so 
long the God of the Jews, is now also manifest to be the God of the Gen- 
tiles. The gospel is now ' made known to all nations, according to the 
commandment of the everlasting God ;' not only in a way of common pro- 
vidence, but special grace, in calling them to the knowledge of himself, and 
a justification of them by faith. He hath brought strangers to him, to ' the 
adoption of children,' and lodged them under the wings of the covenant, 
that were before ' alienated from him ' through the universal corruption of 
nature. Now he hath manifested himself a God of truth, mindful of his 
promise in blessing all nations in the seed of Abraham. The fury of devils 
and the violence of men could not hinder the propagation of this gospel. 
Its light hath been dispersed as far as that of the sun, and that grace that 
sounded in the Gentiles' ears hath bent many of their hearts to the obedience 
of it. 

5. Observe that libertinism and licentiousness find no encouragement in 
the gospel. It was made known to all nations ' for the obedience of faith.' 
The goodness of God is published, that our enmity to him may be parted 
with. Christ's righteousness is not ofi'ered to us to be put on, that we may 
roll more warmly in our lusts. The doctrine of grace commands us to give 
up ourselves to Christ, to be accepted through him, and to be ruled by him. 
Obedience is due to God, as a sovereign Lord in his law, and it is due out 
of gratitude, as he is a God of grace in the gospel. The discovery of a 

KoM. XVI. 27.] god's wisdom. 9 

farther perfection in God weakens not the right of another, nor the obliga- 
tion of the duty the former attribute claims at our hands. The gospel frees 
us from the curse, but not from the duty and service. We are ' delivered 
from the hands of our enemies, that we might serve God in holiness and 
righteousness,' Luke i. 74. ' This is the will of God' in the gospel, ' even 
our sanctification.' When a prince strikes off a malefactor's chains, though 
he deliver him from the punishments of his crime, he frees him not from 
the duty of a subject. His pardon adds a greater obligation than his pro- 
tection did before, while he was loyal. Christ's righteousness gives us a 
title to heaven, but there must be a holiness to give us a fitness for heaven. 

6. Observe that evangelical obedience, or the obedience of faith, is only 
acceptable to God. ' Obedience of faith,' genitivus speciei, noting the kind 
of obedience God requires ; an obedience springing from faith, animated 
and influenced by faith. Not obedience of faith, as though faith were the 
rule, and the law were abrogated ; but to the law as a rule, and fmm faith 
as a principle. There is no true obedience before faith : Heb. xi. 6, 'With- 
out faith it is impossible to please God,' and therefore without faith impos- 
sible to obey him. A good work cannot proceed from a defiled mind and 
conscience, and without faith every man's mind is darkened, and his con- 
science polluted. Tit. i. 15. Faith is the band of union to Christ, and 
obedience is the fruit of union. We cannot bring forth fruit without being 
branches, John xv. 4, 5 ; and we cannot be branches without believing. 
Legitimate fruit follows upon marriage to Christ, not before it : Rom. vii. 4, 
* That you should be married to another, even to him that is raised from the 
dead, that you should bring forth fruit unto God.' All fruit before marriage 
is bastard, and bastards were excluded from the sanctuary. Our persons 
must be first accepted in Christ before our services can be acceptable. 
Those works are not acceptable where the person is not pardoned. Good 
works flow from a pure heart, but the heart cannot be pure before faith. 
All the good works reckoned up in the eleventh chapter of the Hebrews were 
from this spring ; those heroes first believed, and then obeyed. By faith 
Abel was righteous before God; without it, his sacrifice had been no better 
than Cain's. By faith Enoch pleased God, and had a divine testimony to 
his obedience before his translation. By faith Abraham offered up Isaac, 
without which he had been no better than a murderer. All obedience hath 
its root in faith, and is not done in our own strength, but in the strength 
and virtue of another, of Christ, whom God hath set forth as our head and 

7. Observe, faith and obedience are distinct, though inseparable : ' The 
obedience of faith.' Faith, indeed, is obedience to a gospel command, which 
enjoins us to believe ; but it is not all our obedience. Justification and 
sanctification are distinct acts of God; justification respects the person, 
sanctification the nature ; justification is first in order of nature, and sanc- 
tification follows. They are distinct, but inseparable. Every justified per- 
son hath a sanctified nature, and every sanctified nature supposeth a justified 
person. So faith and obedience are distinct ; faith as the principle, obe- 
dience as the product ; faith as the cause, obedience as the eflect. The 
cause and the effect are not the same. By faith we own Christ as our Lord, 
by obedience we regulate ourselves according to his command. The accept- 
ance of the relation to him as a subject precedes the performance of our 
duty. By faith we receive his law, and by obedience we fulfil it. Faith 
makes us God's children, Gal. iii. 26, obedience manifests us to be Christ's 
disciples, John xv. 8. Faith is the touchstone of obedience : the touchstone, 
and that which is tried by it, are not the same; but though they are distinct, 

10 chaenock's works. [Rom. XVI. 27. 

yet they are inseparable. Faith and obedience are joined together ; obe- 
dience follows faith at the heels. Faith ' purifies the heart,' and a pure 
heart cannot be without pure actions. Faith unites us to Christ, whereby 
we partake of his life ; and a living branch cannot be without fruit in its 
season, and * much fruit,' John xv. 5, and that naturally, from a * newness 
of spirit,' Rom. vii. 6, not constrained by the rigours of the law, but drawn 
forth from a sweetness of love ; for * faith works by love.' The love of God 
is the strong motive, and love to God is the quickening principle. As there 
can be no obedience without faith, so no faith without obedience. 

After all this, the apostle ends with the celebration of the wisdom of God : 
* To God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ for ever !' The rich 
discovery of the gospel cannot be thought of by a gracious soul without a 
return of praise to God and admiration of his singular wisdom. 

* Wise God.' His power before, and his wisdom here, are mentioned in 
conjunction (in which his goodness is included as interested in his estab- 
lishing power), as the ground of all the glory and praise God hath from his 

* Only wise.' As Christ saith, Mat. xix. 17, * None is good but God,' so 
the apostle saith, none wise but God. As all creatures are unclean in 
regard of his purity, so they are all fools in regard of his wisdom, yea, the 
glorious angels themselves, Job iv. 18. Wisdom is the royalty of God ; the 
proper dialect of all his ways and works. No creature can lay claim to it ; 
he is so wise, that he is wisdom itself. 

' Be glory through Jesus Christ.' As God is only known in and by 
Christ, so he must be only worshipped and celebrated in and through Christ. 
In him we must pray to him, and in him we must praise him. As all 
mercies flow from God through Christ to us, so all our duties are to be pre- 
sented to God through Christ. 

In the Greek, verbatim, it runs thus : * To the alone wise God, through 
Jesus Christ, to him be glory for ever.' But we must not understand it, as if 
God were wise by Jesus Christ ; but that thanks is to be given to God through 
Christ, because in and by Christ God hath revealed his wisdom to the world. 
The Greek hath a repetition of the article w not expressed in the translation, 
' To him be glory.' Beza expungeth this article, but without reason, for cS is 
as much as durw, to him ; and joining this, ' the only wise God,' with the 
25th verse, * To him that is of power to establish you,' reading it thus, 
' To him that is of power to establish you, the only wise God,' leaving the 
rest in a parenthesis, it runs smoothly, ' To him be glory through Jesus 
Christ.' And Crellius the Socinian observes that this article J, which some 
leave out, might be industriously inserted by the apostle, to shew, that the 
glory we ascribe to God is also given to Christ. 

We may observe, that neither in this place, nor anywhere in Scripture, is 
the Virgin Mary, or any of the saints, associated with God or Christ in the 
glory ascribed to them. 

In the words there is, 

1. An appropriation of wisdom to God, and a remotion of it from all 
creatures : ' only wise God.' 

2. A glorifying him for it. 

The point I shall insist upon is. 

That wisdom is a transcendent excellency of the divine nature. We have 
before spoken of the knowledge of God, and the infiniteness of it. The 
next attribute is the wisdom of God. Most confound the knowledge and 
wisdom of God together ; but there is a manifest distinction between them 
in our conception. 

Rom. XVI. 27.J god's wisdom. 11 

I shall handle it thus : 

I. Shew what wisdom is ; then lay down, 

II. Some propositions about the wisdom of God ; and shew, 

III. That God is \sise, and only wise. 

IV. Wherein his wisdom appears. 

V. The use. 

I. What wisdom is. Wisdom among the Greeks first signified an emi- 
nent perfection in any art or mystery ; so a good statuary, engraver, or 
limner, was called wise, as having an excellent knowledge in his particular 
art ; but afterwards the title of wise was appropriated to those that devoted 
themselves to the contemplation of the highest things, that served for a 
foundation to speculative sciences.* But ordinarily we count a man a wise 
man, when he conducts his afi'airs with discretion, and governs his passions 
with moderation, and carries himself with a due proportion and harmony in 
all his concerns. 

But in particular, wisdom consists, 

1. In acting for a right end. The chiefest part of prudence is in fixing a 
right end, and in choosing fit means, and directing them to that scope. To 
shoot at random is a mark of folly. As he is the wisest man that hath the 
noblest end and fittest means, so God is infinitely wise ; as he is the most 
excellent being, so he hath the most excellent end. As there is none more 
excellent than himself, nothing can be his end but himself. As he is the 
cause of all, so he is the end of all ; and he puts a true bias into all the 
means he useth, to hit the mark he aims at : 'Of him, and through him, and 
to him, are all things,' Rom. xi. 36. 

2. Wisdom consists in observing all circumstances for action. He is 
counted a wise man that lays hold of the fittest opportunities to bring his 
designs about, that hath the fullest foresight of all the little intrigues which 
may happen in a business he is to manage, and times every part of his 
action in an exact harmony with the proper minutes of it. God hath all the 
circumstances of things in one entire image before him ; he hath a prospect 
of every little creek in any design. He sees what second causes will act, 
and when they will act this or that ; yea, he determines them to such and 
such acts ; so that it is impossible he should be mistaken, or miss of the due 
season of bringing about his own purposes. As he hath more goodness than 
to deceive any, so he hath more understanding than to be mistaken in any- 
thing. Hence the time of the incarnation of our blessed Saviour is called 
the ' fulness of time,' the proper season for his coniing. Every circum- 
stance about Christ was timed according to the predictions of God ; even so 
little a thing as not parting his garment, and the giving him gall and 
vinegar to drink. And all the blessings he showers down upon his people, 
according to the covenant of grace, are said to come * in his due season,' 
Ezek. xxxiv. 25, 26. 

3. Wisdom consists, in willing and acting according to the right reason, 
according to a right judgment of things. We never count a wilful man a 
wise man, but him only that acts according to a right rule, when right coun- 
sels are taken, and vigorously executed. The resolves and ways of God 
are not mere will, but will guided by the reason and counsel of his own mfi- 
nite understanding: Eph. i. 11, ' Who works all things according to the 
counsel of his own will.' The motions of the divine will are not rash, but 
follow the proposals of the divine mind. He chooses that which is fittest 
to be done, so that all his works are graceful, and all his ways have a come- 

* Amyraut, Moral, torn. iii. p. 123. 

12 chaknock's works. [Eom. XVI. 27. 

liness and decorum in them. Hence all his ways are said to be judgment, 
Deut. xxxii. 4, not mere will. 

Hence it appears that wisdom and knowledge are two distinct perfections. 
Knowledge hath its seat in the speculative understanding, wisdom in the 
practical. Wisdom and knowledge are evidently distinguished as two several 
gifts of the Spirit in man : 1 Cor. xii. 8, ' To one is given by the Spirit the 
word of wisdom ; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit.' 
Knowledge is an understanding of general rules, and wisdom is a drawing 
conclusions from those rules in order to particular cases. A man may have 
the knowledge of the whole Scripture, and have all learning in the treasury 
of his memory, and yet be destitute of skill to make use of them upon par- 
ticular occasions, and untie those knotty questions which may be proposed 
to him, by a ready application of those rules. 

Again, knowledge and wisdom may be distinguished in our conception, as 
two distinct perfections in God. The knowledge of God is his understand- 
ing of all things ; his wisdom is the skilful resolving and acting of all things ; and 
the apostle, in his admiration of him, owns them as distinct. ' Oh the depths 
of the riches, both of the wisdom and knowledge of God,' Rom. xi. 33. 
Knowledge is the foundation of wisdom, and antecedent to it ; wisdom, the 
superstructure upon knowledge. Men may have knowledge without wis- 
dom, but not wisdom without knowledge ; according to our common proverb, 
the greatest clerks are not the wisest men. All practical knowledge is 
founded in speculation, either secunduyn rem, as in men ; or secundum ratio- 
nem, as in God. They agree in this, that they are both acts of the under- 
standing ; but knowledge is the apprehension of a thing, and wisdom is the 
appointing and ordering of things. AVisdom is the splendour and lustre 
of knowledge shining forth in operations, and is an act both of understand- 
ing and will ; understanding in counselling and contriving, will in resolving 
and executing. Counsel and will are linked together, Eph. i. 11. 

II. The second thing is to lay down some propositions in general concern- 
ing the wisdom [ofj God. 

Prop. 1. There is an essential and a personal wisdom of God. The 
essential wisdom is the essence of God, the personal wisdom is the Son of 
God. Christ is called 'wisdom' by himself, Luke vii. 35. The 'wisdom 
of God' by the apostle, 1 Cor. i. 24. The wisdom I speak of belongs to 
the nature of God, and is considered as a necessary perfection. The per- 
sonal wisdom is called so, because he opens to us the secrets of God. If 
the Son were that wisdom whereby the Father is wise, the Son would be 
also the essence whereby the Father is God. If the Son were the wisdom 
of the Father, whereby he is essentially wise, the Son would be the essence 
of the Father, and the Father would laave his essence from the Son, since 
the wisdom of God is the essence of God ; and so the Son would be the 
Father, if the wisdom and power of the Father were originally in the 

Prop. 2. Therefore, secondly, the wisdom of God is the same with the 
essence of God. Wisdom in God is not a habit added to his essence, as it 
is in man, but it is his essence. It is like the splendour of the sun, the 
same with the sun itself; or like the brightness of crystal, which is not 
communicated to it by anything else, as the brightness of a mountain is by 
the beam of the sun, but it is one with the crystal itself. It is not a habit 
superadded to the divine essence : that would be repugnant to the simplicity 
of God, and speak him compounded of diverse principles ; it would be con- 
trary to the eternity of his perfections. If he be eternally wise, his wisdom 

KoM, XVI. 27.] god's wisdom. 13 

is his essence ; for there is nothing eternal but the essence of God.* As 
the sun melts some things and hardens others, blackens some things and 
■whitens others, and produceth contrary qualities in different subjects, yet it 
is but one and the same quality in the sun which is the cause of those con- 
trary operations, so the perfections of God seem to be diverse in our con- 
ceptions, yet they are but one and the same in God. The wisdom of 
God is God acting prudently, as the power of God is God acting power- 
fully, and the justice of God is God acting righteously ; and therefore it is 
more truly said, that God is wisdom, justice, truth, power, than that he is 
wise, just, true, &c., as if he were compounded of substance and qualities. 
All the operations of God proceed from one simple essence, as all the 
operations of the mind of man, though various, proceed from one faculty of 

Prop. 3. Wisdom is the property of God alone. He is only wise. It is 
an honour peculiar to him. Upon the account that no man deserved the title 
of wise, but that it was a royalty belonging to God,f Pythagoras would not 
be called 2cf &;, a title given to their learned men, but O/Xotropoj. The name 
philosopher arose out of a respect to this transcendent perfection of God. 

(1.) God is only wise necessarily. As he is necessarily God, so he is 
necessarily wise ; for the notion of wisdom is inseparable from the notion of 
a Deity. When we say God is a Spirit, is true, righteous, wise, we under- 
stand that he is transcendently these by an intrinsic and absolute necessity, 
by virtue of his own essence, without the efficiency of any other, or any 
efficiency in and by himself. God doth not make himself wise, no more 
than he makes himself God. As he is a necesssary being in regard of his 
life, so he is necessarily wise in regard of his understanding. Synesius 
saith, that God is esseutiated, ouaioiJcdat, by his understanding. He places 
the substance of God in understanding and wisdom ; wisdom is the first 
vital operation of God. He can no more be unwise than he can be untrue; 
for folly in the mind is much the same with falsity in speech. Wisdom 
among men is gained by age and experience, furthered by instructions and 
exercise, but the wisdom of God is his nature ; as the sun cannot be with- 
out light, while it remains a sun, and as eternity cannot be without immor- 
tality, so neither can God be without wisdom. As ' he only hath immor- 
tality,' 1 Tim.'vi. 16, not arbitrarily, but necessarily, so he only hath wisdom; 
not because he will be wise, but because he cannot but be wise. He cannot 
but contrive counsels, and exert operations becoming the greatness and 
majesty of his nature. 

(2.) Therefore only wise originally. God is avroBida.}(.Tog, avrosofog. 
Men acquire wisdom by the loss of their fairest years : but his wisdom is 
the perfection of the divine nature, not the birth of study or the growth of 
experience, but as necessary, as eternal as his essence. He goes not out 
of himself to search wisdom ; he needs no more the brains of creatures in 
the contrivances of his pui-poses than he doth their arm in the execution of 
them. He needs no counsel, he receives no counsel from any : Rom. xi. 34, 
' Who hath been his counsellor?' and Isa. xl. 14, ' With whom took he 
counsel, and who instructed him, or taught him in the path of judgment, 
and taught him knowledge, and shewed to him the path of understanding ? ' 
He is the only fountain of w^isdom to others ; angels and men have what 
wisdom they have by communication from him. All created wisdom is 
a spark of the divine light, like that'of the stars borrowed from the sun. 
He that borrows wisdom from another, and doth not originally possess it in 
his own nature, cannot properly be called wise. As God is the only being, 
* Maimon. Mor. part i. cap. 53. t Laert. lib. i. Proem. 

14 charnock's works. [Rom. XVI. 27. 

in regard that all other beings are derived from him, so he is only wise, 
because all other wisdom flows from him. He is the spring of wisdom to 
all ; none the original of wisdom to him. 

(3.) Therefore only wise perfectly. There is no cloud upon his under- 
standing. He hath a distinct and certain knowledge of all things that can 
fall under action. As he hath a perfect knowledge, without ignorance, so he 
hath a beautiful wisdom, without mole or wart. Men are wise, yet have not 
an understanding so vast as to grasp all things, nor a perspicacity so clear 
as to penetrate into the depths of all beings. Angels have more delightful 
and lively sparks of wisdom, yet so imperfect, that in regard of the wisdom 
of God they ate charged with folly. Job iv. 18. Their wisdom as well as 
their holinesJip* veiled in the presence of God. It vanisheth, as the glowing 
of a fire doth before the beauty of the sun ; or as a light of a candle in the 
midst of a sunshine contracts itself, and none of its rays are seen, but in the 
body of the flame. The angels are not perfectly wise, because they are not 
perfectly knowing. The gospel, the great discovery of God's wisdom, was 
hid from them for ages. 

(4.) Therefore only wise universally. Wisdom in one man is of one sort, 
in another of another sort ; one is a wise tradesman, another a wise states- 
man, and another a wise philosopher ; one is wise in the business of the 
world, another is wise in divine concerns ; one hath not so much of plenty 
of one sort, but he may have a scantiness in another ; one may be wise for 
invention, and foolish in execution ; an artificer may have skill to frame an 
engine, and not skill to use it. The ground that is fit for olives, may not 
be fit for vines ; that will bear one sort of grain and not another. But God 
hath an universal wisdom, because his nature is wise ; it is not limited, but 
hovers over everything, shines in every being. His executions are as wise 
as his contrivances ; he is wise in his resolves, and wise in his ways ; wise 
in all the varieties of his works of creation, government, redemption. As 
his will wills all things, and his power eflects all things, so his wisdom is 
the universal director of the motions of his will, and the executions of his 
power ; as his righteousness is the measure of the matter of his actions, so 
his wisdom is the rule that directs the manner of his actions. The absolute 
power of God is not an unruly power ; his wisdom orders all things, so that 
nothing is done but what is fit and convenient, and agreeable to so excellent 
a being ; as he cannot do an unjust thing because of his righteousness, so 
he cannot do an unwise act because of his infinite wisdom. Though God 
be not necessitated to any operation without himself, as to the creation of 
anything, yet supposing he will act, his wisdom necessitates him to do that 
which is congruous ; as his righteousness necessitates him to do that which 
is just, so that though the will of God be the principle, yet his wisdom is 
the rule of his actions. We must in our conceiving of the order suppose 
wisdom antecedent to will. None that acknowledges a God can have such an 
impious thought as to affix temerity and rashness to any of his proceedings. 

All his decrees are drawn out of the infinite treasury of wisdom in him- 
self. He resolves nothing about any of his creatures without reason, but 
the reason of his purposes is in himself, and springs from himself, and not 
from the creatures.* There is not one thing that he wills, but he wills by 
counsel, and works by counsel, Eph. i. 11. Counsel writ down every line, 
every letter in his eternal book, and all the orders are drawn out from 
thence by his wisdom and will. What was illustrious in the contrivance 
glitters in the execution. His understanding and will are infinite ; what is 
rill is the result of his undersf 
Polliill against Sherlock, p. 377. 

Rom. XVI. 27.] god's wisdom. 15 

rational; his understanding and will join hands; there is no contest in God, 
will against mind, and mind against will ; they are one in God, one in his 
resolves, and one in all his works. 

(5.) Therefore he is only wise perpetually. As the wisdom of man is got 
by ripeness of age, so it is lost by decay of years ; it is got by instruction, 
and lost by dotage. The perfectest minds, when in the wane, have been 
darkened with folly. Nebuchadnezzar, that was wise for a man, became as 
foolish as a brute. But ' the Ancient of days ' is an unchangeable possessor 
of prudence ; his wisdom is a mirror of brightness, without a defacing spot. 
It was ' possessed by him in the beginning of his ways, before his works of 
old,' Prov. viii. 22, and he can never be dispossessed of it in the end of his 
works. It is inseparable from him ; the being of his Godht^u may as soon 
cease as the beauty of his mind. ' With him is wisdom,' Job xii. 13 ; it is 
inseparable from him, therefore as durable as his essence. It is a wisdom 
infinite, and therefore without increase or decrease in itself. The experi- 
ence of so many ages in the government of the world hath added nothing 
to the immensity of it, as the shining of the sun since the creation of the 
world hath added nothing to the light of that glorious body. As ignorance 
never darkens his knowledge, so folly never disgraces his prudence. God 
infatuates men, but neither men nor devils can infatuate God ; he is un- 
erringly wise, his counsel doth not vary and flatter.* It is not one day one 
counsel, and another day another, but it stands like an immoveable rock or 
a mountain of brass : * The counsel of the Lord stands for ever, and the 
thoughts of his heart to all generations,' Ps. xxxiii. 11. 

(6.) He is only incomprehensibly wise. His * thoughts are deep,' Ps. 
xcii. 5; 'his judgments unsearchable, his ways past finding out,' Rom. 
xi. 83, depths that cannot be fathomed ; a splendour more dazzling to our 
dim minds, than the light of the sun to our weak eyes. The wisdom of 
one man may be comprehended by another, and over comprehended ; and 
often men are understood by others to be wiser in their actions than they 
understand themselves to be. And the wisdom of one angel may be 
measured by another angel of the same perfection ; but as the essence, so 
the wisdom of God, is incomprehensible to any creature. God is only 
comprehended by God. The secrets of wisdom in God are double to the 
expressions of it in his works : Job xi. 6, 7, ' Canst thou by searching find 
out God ? ' There is an unfathomable depth in all his decrees, in all his 
works. We cannot comprehend the reason of his works, much less that of 
his decrees, much less that in his nature ; because his wisdom being infinite 
as well as his power, can no more act to the highest pitch than his power. 
As his power is not terminated by what he hath wrought, but he could give 
further testimonies of it, so neither is his wisdom, but he could furnish us 
with infinite expressions and pieces of his skill. As in regard of his im- 
mensity he is not bounded by the limits of place, in regard of his eternity 
not measured by the minutes of time, in regard of his power not terminated 
with this or that number of objects, so in regard of his wisdom he is not 
confined to this or that particular mode of working ; so that in regard of 
the reason of his actions, as well as the glory and majesty of his nature, 
•he dwells in unapproachable light,' 1 Tim. vi. 16; and whatsoever we 
understand of his wisdom in creation and providence, is infinitely less than 
what is in himself and his own unbounded nature. 

Many things in Scripture are declared chiefly to be the acts of the divine 
will, yet we must not think that they were acts of mere will without wisdom, 
but they are represented so to us, because we are not capable of understand- 
* Qu. • flutter ' V— Ed. 

16 charnock's works. [Rom. XVI. 27. 

ing the infinite reason of its acts. His sovereignty is more intelligible to us 
than his wisdom. We can better know the commands of a superior, and 
the laws of a prince, than understand the reason that gave birth to those 
laws. We may know the orders of the divine will as they are published, 
but not the sublime reason of his will. Though election be an act of God's 
sovereignty, and he hath no cause from without to determine him, yet his 
infinite wisdom stood not silent while mere dominion acted. Whatsoever 
God doth, he doth wisely as well as sovereignly, though that wisdom which 
lies in the secret places of the divine being be as incomprehensible to us as 
the efiects of his sovereignty and power in the world are visible. God can 
give a reason of his proceeding, and that drawn from himself, though we 
understand it not. 

Though causes of things visible lie hid from us ; — doth any man know how 
to distinguish the seminal virtue of a small seed from the body of it, and in 
what nook and corner that lies, and what that is that spreads itself in so 
fair a plant, and so many flowers ? Can we comprehend the justice of 
God's proceedings in the prosperity of the wicked, and the afflictions of the 
godly ? — yet as we must conclude them the fruits of an unerring righteous- 
ness, so we must conclude all his actions the fruits of an unspotted wisdom, 
though the concatenation of all his counsels is not intelligible to us ; for he 
is as essentially and necessarily wise, as he is essentially and necessarily 
good and righteous. 

God is not onl}^ so wise that nothing more wise can be conceived, but he 
is more wise than can be imagined, something greater in all his perfections 
than can be comprehended by any creature. It is a foolish thing therefore 
to question that which we cannot comprehend ; we should adore instead of 
disputing against it, and take it for granted that God would not order any- 
thing, were it not agi*eeable to the sovereignty of his wisdom as well as that 
of his will. Though the reason of man proceed from the wisdom of God, 
yet there is more difi'erence between the reason of man and the wisdom of 
God than between the light of the sun and the feeble shining of the glow- 
worm ; yet we presume to censure the ways of God, as if our purblind reason 
had a reach above him. 

(7.) God is only wise infallibly. The wisest men meet with rubs in the 
way, that make them fall short of what they aim at. They often design, 
and fail ; then begin again, and yet all their counsels end in smoke, and 
none of them arrive at perfection. If the wisest angels lay a plot, they 
may be disappointed ; for though they are higher and wiser than man, yet 
there is one higher and wiser than they that can check their projects. God 
always compasseth his end, never fails of anything he designs and aims at ; 
all his undertakings are counsel and will. As nothing can resist the efficacy 
of his will, so nothing can countermine the skill of his counsel : ' There is 
no wisdom, nor understanding, nor counsel against the Lord,' Prov. xxi. 30. 
He compasseth his ends by those actions of men and devils wherein they 
think to cross him ; they shoot at their own mark and hit his. Lucifer's 
plot by divine wisdom fulfilled God's purpose against Lucifer's mind. The 
counsel of redemption by Christ, the end of the creation of the world, rode 
into the world upon the back of the serpent's temptation. God never mis- 
takes the means, nor can there be any disappointments to make him vary 
his counsels, and pitch upon other means than what before he had ordained : 
' His word that goeth forth of his mouth shall not return to him void, but 
it shall accomplish that which he pleases, and it shall prosper in the thing 
whereto he sent it,' Isa. Iv. 11. What is said of his word is true of his 
counsel, it shall prosper in the thing for which it is appointed ; it cannot 

Rom. XVI. 27.] god's wisdom. 17 

be defeated by all the legions of men and devils ; for ' as he thinks, so shall 
it come to pass ; and as he hath purposed, so shall it stand. The Lord 
hath purposed, and who shall disannul it ? ' Isa. xiv. 24, 27. The wisdom 
of the creature is a drop from the wisdom of God, and is like a drop to the 
ocean, and a shadow to the sun ; and therefore is not able to mate the 
wisdom of God, which is infinite and boundless. No wisdom is exempted 
from mistakes but the divine. He is wise in aU his resolves, and never 
' calls back his words ' and purposes, Isa. xxxi. 2. 

III. The third general is to prove that God is wise. 

This is ascribed to God in Scripture : Dan. ii. 20, ' Wisdom and might 
are his:' wisdom to contrive, and power to efiect. Where should wisdom 
dwell but in the head of a Deity, and where should power triumph but in 
the arm of Omnipotency ? * All that God doth he doth artificially, skilfully, 
whence he is called the builder of the heavens, Heb. xi. 10; Ti'/virr,:, an 
artificial and curious builder, a builder by art. And that word, Prov. viii. 
30, meant of Christ, ' Then I was by him, as one brought up with him,' 
some render it, ' Then was I the curious artificer ;' and the same word is 
translated ' a cunning workman,' Cant. vii. 5. For this cause counsel is 
ascribed to God (Isa. xlvi. 10 ; Jer. xxxii. 19, ' Great in counsel ;' Job 
xii. 13, 'He hath counsel and understanding'); not properly, for counsel 
implies something of ignorance or irresolution antecedent to the consulta- 
tion, and a posture of will afterwards which was not before. Counsel is 
properly a laborious deliberation and a reasoning of things, an invention of 
means for the attainment of the end, after a discussing and reasoning of all 
the doubts which arise pro re natd, about the matter in counsel ; tut God 
hath no need to deliberate in himself what are the best means to accom- 
plish his ends. He is never ignorant or undetermined what course he 
should take, as men are before they consult ; but it is an expression in 
condescension to our capacity, to signify that God doth nothing but with 
reason and understanding, with the highest prudence, and for the most 
glorious ends, as men do after consultation, and the weighing of every fore- 
seen circumstance. 

Though he acts all things sovereignly by his will, yet he acts all things 
wisely by his understanding ; and there is not a decree of his will, but he 
can render a satisfactory reason for in the face of men and angels. As he 
is the cause of all things, so he hath the highest wisdom for the ordering of 
all things. If wisdom among men be the knowledge of divine and human 
things, God must be infinitely wise, since knowledge is most radiant in him. 
He knows what angels and men do, and infinitely more ; what is known by 
them obscurely, is known by him clearly. What is known by man after it 
is done, was known by God before it was wrought. By his wisdom, as much 
as by anything, he infinitely differs from all his creatures, as by wisdom man 
differs from a brute. We cannot frame a notion of God, without conceiving 
him infinitely wise. We should render him very inconsiderable, to imagine 
him furnished with an infinite knowledge, and not have an infinite wisdom 
to make use of that knowledge ; or to fancy him with a mighty power, des- 
titute of prudence. Knowledge without prudence, is an eye without motion ; 
and pov/er without discretion, is an arm without a head ; a hand to act, with- 
out understanding to contrive and model ; a strength to act, without reason 
to know how to act. It would be a miserable notion of a god, to fancy 
him with a brutish and unguided power. The heathens therefore had, and 
could not but have, this natural notion of God. Plato therefore calls him 
* CulverweU, Light of Nature, p. 30. 



18 charnock's works. [Rom. XVI. 27. 

Mens* and Cleanthes used to call God Reason, and Socrates thouglit the 
title of 2opAs too magnificent to be attributed to anything else but God alone. 

Arguments to prove that God is wise. 

Rects. 1. God could not be infinitely perfect without wisdom. A rational 
nature is better than an irrational nature. A man is not a perfect man 
without reason ; how can God, without it, be an infinitely perfect God ? 
Wisdom is the most eminent of all virtues ; all the other perfections of God 
without this, would be as a body without an eye, a soul without understand- 
ing. A Christian's graces want their lustre, when they are destitute of the 
guidance of wisdom ; mercy is a feebleness, and justice a cruelty, patience a 
timorousness, and courage a madness, without the conduct of wisdom. So 
the patience of God would be cowardice, his power an oppression, his justice 
a tyranny, without wisdom as the spring, and holiness as the rule. No attri- 
bute of God could shine with a due lustre and brightness without it. Power 
is a great perfection, but wisdom a greater.f Wisdom may be without much 
power, as in bees and ants ; but power is a tyrannical thing without wisdom 
and righteousness. The pilot is more valuable because of his skill, than the 
galley-slave because of his strength, and the conduct of a general more estima- 
ble than the might of a private soldier. Generals are chosen more by their 
skill to guide, than their strength to act. What a clod is a man without 
prudence ; what a nothing would God be without it ! This is the salt that 
gives relish to all other perfections in a creature ; this is the jewel in the 
ring of all the excellencies of the divine nature, and holiness is the splendour 
of that jewel. 

Now God, being the first Being, possesses whatsoever is most noble in 
any being. If therefore wisdom, which is the most noble perfection in any 
creature, were wanting to God, he would be deficient in that which is the 
highest excellency. God being the ' living God,' as he is frequently termed 
in Scripture, he hath therefore the most perfect manner of living, and that 
must be a pure and intellectual life. Being essentially living, he is essen- 
tially in the highest degree of living. As he hath an infinite life above all 
creatures, so he hath an infinite, intellectual life, and therefore an infinite 
wisdom ; whence some have called God not sapientem, but super-saplentem, \ 
not only wise, but above all wisdom. 

Reas. 2. Without infinite wisdom, he could not govern the world. With- 
out wisdom in forming the matter, which was made by divine power, the 
world could have been no other than a chaos ; and without wisdom in govern- 
ment, it could have been no other than a heap of confusion ; without wisdom, 
the world could not have been created in the posture it is. Creation sup- 
poseth a determination of the will, jDutting power upon acting ; the deter- 
mination of the will supposeth the counsel of the understanding, determining 
the will. No work, but supposeth understanding, as well as will, in a rational 
agent. As without skill things could not be created, so without it things 
cannot be governed. Reason is a necessary perfection to him that presides 
over all things. Without knowledge, there could not be in God a foundation 
for government ; and without wisdom, there could not be an exercise of 
government ; and without the most excellent wisdom, he could not be the 
most excellent governor. He could not be an universal governor, without a 
universal wisdom ; nor the sole governor, without an uuimitable wisdom ; 
nor an independent governor, without an original and independent wisdom ; 
nor a perpetual governor, without an incorruptible wisdom. He would not 

* Eugub. Per. Philosoph., lib. i. cap. v. 

t Licet magnum aii posse, majus tamen est sapere. 

% Suarez, vol. 1. lib. i. cap. iii. p. 10. 

Rom. XVI. 27.] god's wisdom. 19; 

be the Lord of the world in all points, without skill to order the affairs of it. 
Power and wisdom are foundations of all authority and government : wisdom 
to know how to rule and command, power to make those commands obeyed. 
No regular order could issue out without the first, nor could any order be 
enforced without the second. A feeble wisdom and a brutish power seldom 
or,_never produce any good effect. Magistracy without wisdom, would be a 
frantic power, a rash conduct. Like a strong arm when the eye is out, it 
strikes it knows not what, and leads it knows not whither. Wisdom without 
power, would be like a great body without feet ; * like the knowledge of a 
pilot that hath lost his arm, who, though he knows the rule of navigation, 
and what course to follow in his voyage, yet cannot manage the helm. But 
when those two, wisdom and power, are linked together, there ariseth from 
both a fitness for government. There is wisdom to propose an end, and 
both wisdom and power to employ means that conduct to that end. And 
therefore, when God demonstrates to Job his right of government, and the 
unreasonableness of Job's quarrelling with his proceedings, he chiefly urgeth 
upon him the consideration of those two excellencies of his nature, power 
and wisdom, which are expressed in his works, chap, xxxviii.-xli. A prince 
without wisdom, is but a title without a capacity to perform the office ; no 
man without it is fit for government. Nor could God, without wisdom, 
exercise a just dominion in the world. He hath therefore the highest wisdom, 
since he is the universal governor. That wisdom which is able to govern a 
family, may not be able to govern a city ; and that wisdom which governs a 
city, may not be able to govern a nation or kingdom, much less a world. 
The bounds of God's government being greater than any, his wisdom for 
government must needs surmount the wisdom of all. And though the crea- 
tures be not in number actually infinite, yet they cannot be well governed 
but by one endowed with infinite discretion. f Providential government can 
be no more without infinite wisdom, than infinite wisdom can be without 

Reas. 3. The creatures working for an end, without their own knowledge, 
demonstrates the wisdom of God that guides them. All things in the world 
work for some end ; the ends are unknown to them, though many of their 
ends are visible to us. As there was some prime cause, which by his power 
inspired them with their several instincts, so there must be some supreme 
wisdom which moves and guides them to their end. As their being mani- 
fests his power that endowed them, so the acting, according to the rules of 
their nature, which they themselves understand not, manifests his wisdom 
in directing them ; everything that acts for an end must know that end, or 
be directed by another to attain that end. The arrow doth not know who 
shoots it, or to what end it is shot, or what mark is aimed at ; but the archer 
that puts it in, and darts it out of the bow, knows. A watch hath a regular 
motion, but neither the spring nor the wheels that move know the end of 
their motion ; no man will judge a wisdom to be in the watch, but in the 
artificer that disposed the wheels and spring, by a joint combination to pro- 
duce such a motion for such an end. Doth either the sun that enlivens the 
earth, or the earth that travails with the plant, know what plant it produceth 
in such a soil, what temper it should be of, what fruit it should bear, and 
of what colour ? What plant knows its own medicinal qualities, its own 
beautiful flowers, and for what use they are ordained ? When it strikes up 
its head from the earth, doth it know what proportion of them there will 
be ? yet it produceth all these things in a state of ignorance. The sun 
warms the earth, concocts the humours, excites the virtue of it, and cherishes 
* Amyraut, Moral. t Amyrald. Dissert, Theol., p. 111. 

20 chabnock's wobks. [Kom. XVI. 27. 

ttie seeds, which are cast into her lap, yet all unknown to the sun or the 
earth ; since therefore that nature, that is the immediate cause of those 
things, doth not understand its own quality, nor operation, nor the end of 
its action, that which thus directs them must be conceived to have an in- 
finite wisdom. When things act by a rule they know not, and move for an 
end they understand^not, and yet work harmoniously together for one end, 
that all of them, we are sure, are ignorant of, it mounts up our minds to 
acknowledge the wisdom of that supreme cause that hath ranged all these 
inferior causes in their order, and imprinted upon them the laws of their 
motions, according to the idea in his own mind, who orders the rule by 
■which the}' act, and the end for which they act, and directs every motion 
according to their several natures, and therefore is possessed with infinite 
wisdom in his own nature. 

Reus. 4. God is the fountain of all wisdom in the creatures, and therefore 
is infinitely wise himself. As he hath a fulness of being in himself, because 
the streams of being are derived to other things from him, so he hath a ful- 
ness of wisdom, because he is the spring of wisdom to angels and men. 
That being must be infinitely wise, from whence all other wisdom derives its 
original, for nothing can be in the efiect which is not eminently in the cause; 
the cause is alway more perfect than the effect. If therefore the creatures 
are wise, the Creator must be much more wise ; if the Creator were destitute 
of wisdom, the creature would be much more perfect than the Creator. If 
you consider the wisdom of the spider in her web, which is both her house 
and net ; the artifice of the bee in her comb, which is both her chamber and 
granary ; the provision of the'pismire in her repositories for corn : the wis- 
dom of the Creator is illustrated by them ; whatsoever excellency you see in 
any creature is an image of some excellency in God. The skill of the arti- 
ficer is visible in the fruits of his art ; a workman transcribes his spirit in 
the work of his hands ; but the wisdom of rational creatures, as men, doth 
more illustrate it. All arts among men are the rays of divine wisdom shin- 
ing upon them, and by a common gift of the Spirit enlightening their minds 
to curious inventions, as Prov. viii. 12, * I, Wisdom, find out the knowledge 
of witty inventions ; ' that is, I give a faculty to men to find them out ; 
without my wisdom all things would be buried in darkness and ignorance. 
Whatsoever wisdom there is in the world, it is but a shadow of the wisdom 
of God, a small rivulet derived from him, a spark leaping out from un- 
created wisdom : Isa. liv. 16, 'He created the smith that bloweth the coals 
in the fire, and makes the instruments.' The skill to use those weapons in 
warlike enterprises is from him : ' I have created the waster to destroy.' It 
is not meant of creating their persons, but communicating to them their art ; 
he speaks it there to expel fear from the church of all warlike preparations 
against them. He had given men the skill to form and use weapons, and 
could as well strip them of it, and defeat their purposes. The art of hus- 
bandry is a fruit of divine teaching, Isa. xxviii. 24, 25. If those lower 
kinds of knowledge, that are common to all nations, and easily learned by 
all, are discoveries of divine wisdom, much more the nobler sciences, intel- 
lectual and political wisdom: Dan. ii. 21, * He gives wisdom to the wise, 
and knowledge to them that know understanding ; ' speaking of the more 
abstruse parts of knowledge, ' The inspiration of the Almighty gives under- 
standing,' Job xxxii. 8. Hence the wisdom which Solomon expressed in the 
harlot's case, 1 Kings iii. 28, was, in the judgment of all Israel, the wisdom 
of God ; that is, a fruit of divine wisdom, a beam communicated to him 
from God. Every man's soul is endowed more or less with those noble 
qualities. The soul of every man exceeds that of a brute ; if the streams be 

Rom. XVI. 27.J god's wisdom. 2T 

so excellent, the fountain must be fuller and clearer. The first Spirit must 
infinitely more possess what other spirits derive from him by creation ; were 
the wisdom of all the angels in heaven, and men on earth, collected in one 
spirit, it must be infinitely less that that what is in the spring, for no crea- 
ture can be equal to the Creator. As the highest creature already made, or 
that we can conceive may be made, by infinite power, would be infinitely be- 
low God in the notion of a creature, so it would be infinitely below God in 
the notion of wise. 

rV. The fourth thing is, wherein the wisdom of God appears. 
It appears, 1, in creation ; 2, in government ; 3, in redemption. 
1. In creation. As in a musical instrument there is first the skill of the 
workman in the frame, then the skill of the musician in stringing it proper 
for such musical notes as he will express upon it, and after that the temper- 
ing of the strings, by various stops, to a delightful harmony, so is the wisdom 
of God seen in framing the world, then in tuning it, and afterwards in the 
motion of the several creatures. The fabric of the world is called the wisdom 
ofGod: 1 Cor. i. 21, ' After that, in the wisdom of God, the world by wisdom 
knew not God,' i.e. by the creation the world knew not God ; the framing 
cause is there put for the efiect and the work framed, because the divine 
wisdom stepped forth in the creatures to a public appearance, as if it had pre- 
sented itself in a visible shape to man, giving instructions in and by the 
creatures, to know and adore him. What we translate. Gen. i. 1, 'In the 
beginning God created the heaven and the earth,' the Targum expresseth, 
' In the wisdom God created the heaven and the earth ; ' both bear a stamp 
of this perfection on them.* And when the apostle tells the Romans, chap. 
i. 20, * The invisible things of God were clearly understood by the things 
that are made,' the word he uses is, cro/^/xa<r/, not ipyoii ; this signifies a 
work of labour, but "ro/jj/ia a work of skill, or a poem. The whole creation 
is a poem, every species a stanza, and every individual creature a verse in 
it. The creation presents us with a prospect of the wisdom of God, as a 
poem doth the reader with the wit and fancy of the composer : ' By wisdom 
he created the earth,' Prov. iii. 19 ; ' and stretched out the heavens by dis- 
cretion,' Jer. X. 12. There is not anything so mean, so small, but glitters 
with a beam of divine skill ; and the consideration of them would justly 
make every man subscribe to that of the psalmist, * Lord, how manifold 
are thy works ! in wisdom hast thou made them all,' Ps. civ. 24 ; — all, the 
least as well as the greatest, and the meanest as well as the noblest, even 
those creatures which seem ugly and deformed to us, as toads, &c., because 
they fall short of those perfections which are the dowry of other animals. 
In these there is a footstep of divine wisdom, since they were not produced 
by him at random, but determined to some particular end, and designed to 
some usefulness, as parts of the world in their several natures and stations. 
God could never have had a satisfaction in the review of his works, and 
pronounced them good or comely, as he did. Gen. i. 31, had they not been 
agreeable to that eternal original copy in his own mind. It is said he was 
refreshed, viz. with that review, Exod. xxxi. 17, which could not have been 
if his piercing eye had found any defect in anything which had sprung out 
of his hand, or an unsuitableness to that end for which he created them. He 
seems to do as a man that hath made a curious and polite work, with exact 
care to peer about every part and line, if he could perceive any imperfection 
in it, to rectify the mistake ; but no defect was found by the infinitely wise 
God upon his second examination. 

* Omne opus naturae est opus intelligentise. 

2S charnock's works. [Rom. XYI. 27. 

This wisdom of the creation appears, 

(1.) In the variety, (2.) in the beauty, (3.) the fitness of every creature 
for its use, (4.) the subordination of one creature to another, and the joint 
concurrence of all to one common end. 

(1.) In the variety. Ps. civ. 24, '0 Lord, how manifold are thy works ! ' 
How great a variety is there of animals and plants, with a great variety of 
forms, shapes, figurations, colours, various smells, virtues, and qualities ! 
And this variety is produced from one and the same matter, as beasts and 
plants from the earth: Gen. i. 11, 24, 'Let the earth bring forth living 
creatures. And the earth brought forth grass, and the herb yielding seed 
after his kind.' Such diversity of fowl and fish from the water : Gen. 
i. 20, ' Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath 
life, and fowl that may fly.' Such a beautiful and active variety from so dull 
a matter as the earth ; so solid a variety from so fluid a matter as the water; 
80 noble a piece as the body of man, with such a variety of members, fit to 
entertain a more excellent soul as a guest, from so mean a matter as the 
dust of the ground. Gen. ii. 7 : this extraction of such variety of forms out 
of one single and dull matter is the chemistry of divine wisdom. It is a 
greater skill to frame noble bodies of vile matter, as varieties of precious 
vessels of clay and earth, than of a noble matter, as gold and silver. 

Again, all those varieties propagate their kind in every particular and 
quality of their nature, and uniformly bring forth exact copies, according to 
the first pattern God made of the kind. Gen. i. 11, 12, 24. Consider also 
how the same piece of ground is garnished with plants and flowers of several 
virtues, fruits, colours, scents, without our being able to perceive any variety 
•in the earth that breeds them, and not so great a difi"erence in the roots that 
bear them. Add to this the diversities of birds, of different colours, shapes, 
notes ; consisting of various parts, wings, like oars, to cut the air, and tails, 
as the rudder of a ship, to guide their motion. 

How various also are the endowments of the creatures ! Some have vege- 
tation and the power of growth, others have the addition of sense, and others 
the excellency of reason ; something wherein all agree, and something 
wherein all difi"er ; variety in unity, and unity in variety. The wisdom of 
the workman had not been so conspicuous had there been only one degree 
of goodness. The greatest skill is seen in the greatest variety. 

The comeliness of the body is visible in the variety of members, and their 
usefulness to one another. What an inform thing had man been had he 
been all ear or all eye ! If God had made all the stars to be suns, it would 
have been a demonstration of his power, but perhaps less of his wisdom. 
No creatures, with the natures they now have, could have continued in 
being under so much heat. There was no less wisdom went to the frame 
of the least than to the greatest creature. It speaks more art in a limner 
to paint a landscape exactly than to draw the sun, though the sun be a more 
glorious body. 

I might instance also in the difierent characters and features imprinted 
upon the countenances of men and women, the difierences of voices and 
statures, whereby they are distinguished from one another. These are the 
foundations of order, and of human society, and administration of justice. 
What confusion would have been if a grown-up son could not be known 
from his father, the magistrate from the subject, the creditor from the 
debtor, the innocent from the criminal. The laws God hath given to man- 
kind could not have been put in execution. This variety speaks the wis- 
dom of God. 

(2.) The wisdom of the creation appears in the beauty, and order, and 

Rom. XVI. 27.] god's wisdom. 28 

situation of the several creatures. Eccles. iii. 11, * He hath made every- 
thing beautiful in his time.' As their being was a fruit of divine power, so 
their order is a fruit of divine wisdom. All creatures are as members in the 
great body of the world, proportioned to one another, and contributing to 
the beauty of the whole,* so that if the particular forms of everything, the 
union of all for the composition of the world, and the laws which are estab- 
lished in the order of nature for its conservation, be considered, it would 
ravish us with an admiration of God. All the creatures are as so many 
pictures or statues, exactly framed by line : Ps. xix. 4, * Their line is gone 
through all the earth.' Their line, a measuring line, or a carpenter's rule, 
whereby he proportions several pieces to be exactly linked and coupled to- 
gether. Their line, that is, their harmonious proportion, and the instruction 
from it, is gone forth through all the earth. Upon the account of this har- 
mony, some of the ancient heathens framed the images of their gods with 
musical instruments in their hands, signifying that God wrought all things 
in a due proportion. f 

The heavens speak this wisdom in their order. 

The revolutions of the sun and moon determine the seasons of the year, 
and make day and night in an orderly succession. The stars beautify the 
heavens, and influence the earth, and keep their courses. Judges v. 20. 
They keep their stations without interfering with one another ; and though 
they have rolled about for so many ages, they observe their distinct laws, and 
in the variety of their motions have not disturbed one another's functions. 

The sun is set, as the heart, in the midst of this great body, to afford 
warmth to all.J Had it been set lower, it had long since turned the earth 
into flame and ashes ; had it been placed higher, the earth would have 
wanted the nourishment knd refreshment necessary for it. Too miich near- 
ness had ruined the earth by parching heat, and too great a distance had 
destroyed the earth by starving it with cold. 

The sun hath also its appointed motion; had it been fixed without motion, 
half of the earth had been unprofitable, there had been perpetual darkness 
in a moiety of it, nothing had been produced for nourishment, and so it 
had been rendered uninhabitable ; but now, by this motion, it visits all the 
climates of the world, runs its circuit, so that ' nothing is hid from the heat 
thereof,' Ps. xix. 6. It imparts its virtue to every corner of the world in its 
daily and yearly visits. Had it been fixed, the fruits of the earth under it 
had been parched and destroyed before their maturity ; but all those incon- 
veniences are provided against by the perpetual motion of the sun. 

This motion is orderly.§ It makes its daily course from east to west, its 
yearly motion from north to south. It goes to the north, till it comes to the 
point God hath set it, and then turns back to the south, and gains some 
point every day. It never riseth nor sets in the same place one day where 
it did the day before. The world is never without its light ; some see it 
rising the same moment we see it setting. 

The earth also speaks the divine wisdom, It is the pavement of the 
world, as the heaven is the ceiling of fretwork.|| It is placed lowermost, as 
being the heaviest body, and fit to receive the weightiest matter, and pro- 
vided as an habitation proper for those creatures which derive the matter of 

* Amyrant, Moral., Vol. I. p. 257. 

t Montag. against Selden, p. 281. Plutarch calls God a^fioviKig xal fioveiKog ; 
he Baith, NolliiTig was made without music. 

t Charlton, Light of Nature, p. 57. § Daille, mel. part i. p. 483. 

i Amyraut, Predestin. p. 9. 

24 chaknock's works. [Rom. XVI. 27. 

their bodies from it, and partake of its earthy nature ; and garnished with 
other creatures for the profit and pleasure of man. 

The sea also speaks the same divine wisdom. He ' strengthened the 
fountains of the deep: and gave the sea a decree, that it should not pass 
his command,' Prov. viii. 28, 29. He hath given it certain bounds that it 
should not overflow the earth, Job xxviii. 11. It contains itself in the 
situation wherein God hath placed it, and doth not transgress its bounds. 
What if some part of a country, a little spot, hath been overflowed by it, 
and groaned under its waves, yet for the main, it retains the same channels 
wherein it was at first lodged. 

All creatures are clothed with an outward beauty, and endowed with an 
inward harmony. There is an agreement in all parts of this great body ; 
every one is beautiful and orderly ; but the beauty of the world results from 
all of them disposed and linked together. 

(3.) This wisdom is seen in the fitness of everything for its end, and the 
usefulness of it. Divine wisdom is more illustrious in the fitness and use- 
fulness of this great variety than in the composure of their distinct parts, 
as the artificer's skill is more eminent in fitting the wheels, and setting 
them in order for their due motion, than in the external fabric of the mate- 
rials which compose the clock. 

After the most diligent inspection, there can be found nothing in the 
creation unprofitable ; nothing but is capable of some service, either for the 
support of our bodies, recreation of our senses, or moral instruction of our 
minds. Not the least creature but is formed, and shaped, and furnished 
with members and parts in a due proportion for its end and service in the 
world ; nothing is superfluous, nothing defective. 

The earth is fitted in its parts.* The valleys are appointed for granaries, 
the mountains to shadow them from the scorching heat of the sun ; the 
rivers, like veins, carry refreshment to every member of this body ; plants 
and trees thrive on the face of the earth, and metals are engendered in the 
bowels of it for materials for building and other uses for the service of man. 
There ' he causes the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service 
of man, that he may bring forth food out of the earth,' Ps. civ. 14. 

The sea is fitted for use ; it is a fish pond for the nourishment of man, a 
boundary for the dividing of lands and several dominions ; it joins together 
nations far distant ; a great vessel for commerce : Ps. civ. 26, ' There go 
the ships.' It afi"ords vapours to the clouds, wherewith to water the earth, 
which the sun draws up, separating the finer from the Salter parts, that the 
earth may be fruitful, without being burthened with barrenness by the salt. 
The sea hath also its salt, its ebbs and floods ; the one as brine, the other 
as motion, to preserve it from putrification, that it may not be contagious to 
the rest of the world. 

Showers are appointed to refresh the bodies of living creatures, to open 
the womb of the earth, and water the ground to make it fruitful, Ps. civ. 3. 
The clouds, therefore, are called the ' chariots of God ;' he rides in them in 
the manifestation of his goodness and wisdom. 

Winds are fitted to purify the air,t to preserve it from putrefaction, to 
carry the clouds to several parts to refresh the parched earth and assist her 
fruits, and also to serve for the commerce of one nation with another by 
navigation. God in his wisdom and goodness ' walks upon the wings of the 
wind,' Ps. civ. 3. 

Rivers are appointed to bathe the ground, J and render it fresh and lively; 

* Amyraut. sur diverses text, p. 127. t Lessius. 

t Daille, Melan., part ii. p. 472, 473. 

Rom. XVI. 27.] god's wisdom. -25 

they fortify cities, are the limits of countries, serve for commerce ; they are 
the watering-pots of the earth, and the vessels for drink for the living 
creatures that dwell upon the earth. God cut those channels for the wild 
asses, the beasts of the desert, which are his creatures as well as the rest, 
Ps. civ. 10, 12, 13. 

Trees are appointed for the habitation of birds, shadows for the earth, 
nourishment for the creatures, materials for building, and fuel for the relief 
of man against cold. 

The seasons of the year have their use. The winter makes the juice 
retire into the earth, fortifies plants, and fixes their roots. It moistens the 
earth that was dried before by the heat of the summer, and cleanseth and 
prepares it for a new fruitfulness ; the spring calls out the sap in new 
leaves and fruit ; the summer consumes the superfluous moisture, and pro- 
duceth nourishment for the inhabitants of the world. 

The day and night have also their usefulness.* The day gives life to 
labour, and is a guide to motion and action : Ps. civ. 23, ' The sun ariseth, 
man goeth forth to his labour until the evening.' It warms the air, and 
quickens nature. Without day, the world would be a chaos, an unseen 
beauty. The night, indeed, casts a veil upon the bravery of the earth, but 
it draws the curtains from that of heaven ; though it darkens below, it makes 
us see the beauty of the world above, and discovers to us a glorious part of 
the creation of God, the tapestry of heaven, and the motion of the stars, 
hid from us by the eminent light of the day. It procures a truce from 
labour, and refresheth the bodies of creatures, by recruiting the spirits which 
are scattered by watching. It prevents the ruin of life, by a reparation of 
what was wasted in the day. It takes from us the sight of flowers and 
plants, but it washeth their face with dews for a new appearance next 
morning. The length of the day and night is not without a mark of wisdom: 
were they of a greater length, as the length of a week or month, the one 
would too much dry, and the other too much moisten, and for want of 
action the members would be stupefied. The perpetual succession of day 
and night is an evidence of the divine wisdom, in tempering the travel and 
rest of creatures. Hence the psalmist tells us, Ps. Ixxiv. 16, 17, ' The day 
is thine, and the night is thine ; thou hast prepared the light of the sun, 
and made summer and winter;' i.e. they are of God's framing, not without 
a wise counsel and end. 

Hence let us ascend to the bodies of living creatures, and we shall find 
every member fitted for use. What a curiosity is there in every mdmber ! 
Every one fitted to a particular use in their situation, form, temper, and 
mutual agreement for the good of the whole ; the eye to direct, the ear to 
receive directions from others, the hands to act, the feet to move. Every 
creature hath members fitted for that element wherein it resides. And in 
the body, some parts are appointed to change the food into blood, others 
to refine it, and others to distribute and convey it to several parts for the 
maintenance of the whole ; the heart to mint vital spirits for preserving life, 
and the brain to coin animal spirits for life and motion ; the lungs to serve 
for the cooling the heart, which else would be parched as the ground in 
summer. The motion of the members of the body by one act of the will, 
and also without the will, by a natural instinct, is an admirable evidence of 
divine skill in the structure of the body, so that well might the psalmist 
cry out, Ps. cxxxix. 14, ' I am fearfully and wonderfully made.' 

But how much more of this divine perfection is seen in the soul ! A 
nature furnished with a faculty of understanding to judge of things, to gather 
* Daille, Melang., part i. p. 477, &c. 

26 charnock's works. [Eom. XVI. 27. 

in things that are distant, and to reason and draw conclusions from one 
thing to another, with a memory to treasure up things that are past, with a 
will to apply itself so readily to what the mind judges fit and comely, and 
fly so speedily from what it judges ill and hurtful. The whole world is a 
stage ; every creature in it hath a part to act, and a nature suited to that 
part and end it is designed for ; and all concur in a joint language to publish 
the glory of divine wisdom, they have a voice to proclaim the glory of God, 
Ps. xis. 1, 3. And it is not the least part of God's skill, in framing the 
creatures so, that, upon man's obedience, they are the channels of his good- 
ness ; and upon man's disobedience, they can in their natures be the minis- 
ters of his justice for the punishing of offending creatures. 

(4.) Fourthly, The wisdom is apparent, in the linking all these useful 
parts together, so that one is subordinate to the other for a common end. 
All parts are exactly suited to one another, and every part to the whole ; 
though they are of different natures, as lines distant in themselves, yet they 
meet in one common centre, the good and the preservation of the universe. 
They are all jointed together, as the word translated framed signifies, Heb. 
xi. 3; knit by fit bands and ligaments, to contribute mutual beauty, strength, 
and assistance to one another, like so many links of a chain coupled together, 
that though there be a distance in place, there is a unity in regard of con- 
nection and end, there is a consent in the whole : Hosea ii. 21, 22, ' The 
heavens hear the earth, and the earth hears the corn, and the wine, and the 
oil.' The heavens communicate their qualities to the earth, and the earth 
conveys them to the fruits she bears ; the air distributes light, wind, and 
rain to the earth, =;< the earth and the sea render to the air exhalations and 
vapours, and all together charitably give to the plants and animals that 
which is necessary for their nourishment and refreshment. The influences 
of the heavens animate the earth, and the earth affords matter in part for 
the influences it receives from the regions above. Living creatures are 
maintained by nourishment, nourishment is conveyed to them by the fruits 
of the earth, the fruits of the earth are produced by means of rain and heat, 
matter for rain and dew is raised by the heat of the sun, and the sun by its 
motion distributes heat and quickening virtue to all parts of the earth. So 
colours are made for the pleasure of the eye, sounds for the delight of the 
ear ; light is formed, whereby the eye may see the one, and air to convey 
the species of colours to the eye and sound to the ear. All things are like 
the wheels of a watch compacted ; and though many of the creatures be 
endowed with contrary qualities, yet they are joined in a marriage knot for 
the public security, and subserviency to the preservation and order of the 
universe, as the variety of strings upon an instrument, sending forth various 
and distinct sounds, are tempered together, for the framing excellent and 
delightful airs. In this universal conspiring of the creatures together to 
one end, is the wisdom of the Creator apparent, in tuning so many contraries 
as the elements are, and preserving them in their order, which, if once 
broken, the whole frame of nature would crack, and fall in pieces. All are 
so interwoven and inlaid together by the divine workmanship, as to make 
np one entire beauty in the whole fabric ; as every part in the body of man 
hath a distinct comeliness, ye.i there is, besides, the beauty of the whole, 
that results from the union of diverse parts exactly fashioned to one another, 
and linked together. 

By the way, 

Use. How much may we see of the perfection of God in every thing that 
presents itself to our eyes ! And how should we be convinced of our un- 
* Daille, Serm. xv. p. 170. 

Rom. XVI. 27.] god's wisdom. 27 

worthy neglect of ascending to him with reverent and admiring thoughts, 
upon the prospect of the creatures ! What dull scholars are we, when every 
creature is our teacher, every part of the creature a lively instruction ! 
Those things that we tread under our feet, if used by us according to the 
full design of their creation, would afford rich matter, not only for our heads, 
but our hearts. As grace doth not destroy nature, but elevate it, so neither 
should the fresher and fuller discoveries of divine wisdom in redemption,^ 
deface our thoughts of his wisdom in creation. Though the greater light of 
the sun obscures the lesser sparkling of the stars, yet it gives way in the 
night to the discovery of them, that God may be seen, known, and con- 
sidered in all his works of wonder and miracles of nature. No part of 
Scripture is more spiritual than the psalms ; none filled with clearer dis- 
coveries of Christ in the Old Testament ; yet how often do the penmen 
consider the creation of God, and find their meditations on him to be sweet, 
as considered in his works ! Ps. civ. 34, ' My meditation of him shall be 
sweet.' When ? Why, after a short history of the goodness and wisdom 
of God in the frame of the world, and the species of the creatures. 

2. The wisdom of God appears in his government of his creatures. The 
regular motion of the creatures speaks for his perfection, as well as the exact 
composition of them. If the exquisiteness of the frame conducts us to the 
skill of the contriver, the exactness of their order, according to his will and 
law, speaks no less the wisdom of the governor. It cannot be thought that 
a rash and irrational power presides over a world so well disposed. The 
disposition of things hath no less characters of skill, than the creation of 
them. No man can hear an excellent lesson upon a lute, but must presently 
reflect upon the art of the person that touches it. The prudence of man ap- 
pears in wrapping up the concerns of a kingdom in his mind, for the well 
ordering of it ; and shall not the wisdom of God shine forth, as he is the 
director of the world ? 

I shall omit his government of inanimate creatures, and confine the dis- 
course to his government of man, as rational, as sinful, as restored. 

(1.) In his government of man as a rational creature. 

[1.] In the law he gives to man. Wisdom framed it, though will enacted 
it. The will of God is the rule of righteousness to us, but the wisdom of 
God is the foundation of that rule of righteousness which he prescribes us. 
The composure of a musician is the rule of singing to his scholars ;* yet 
the consent and harmony in that composure, derives not itself from his will, 
but from his understanding ; he would not be a musician, if his composures 
were contrary to the rules oif true harmony. So the laws of men are com- 
posed by wisdom, though they are enforced by will and authority. 

The moral law, which was the law of nature, the law imprinted upon 
Adam, is so framed, as to secure the rights of God as supreme, and the 
rights of men in their distinctions of superiority and equality. It is there- 
fore called holy and good, Rom. vii. 12 : holy, as it prescribes our duty to 
God in his worship ; good, as it regulates the ofiices of human life, and pre- 
serves the common interest of mankind. 

First, It is suited to the nature of man. As God hath given a law of 
nature, a fixed order to inanimate creatures, so he hath given a law of reason 
to rational creatures. Other creatures are not capable of a law differencing 
good and evil, because they are destitute of faculties and capacities to make 
distinction between them. It had not been agreeable to the wisdom of God 
to propose any moral law to them, who had neither understandmg to dis- 
cern, nor will to choose. It is therefore to be observed, that whilst Christ 
* Castellio, Dialog. 1. iv. p. 46. 

28 charnock's works. [Rom. XVI. 27. 

exhorted others to the embracing his doctrine, yet he exhorted not little 
children, though he took them in his arms, because though they had faculties, 
yet they were not come to such a maturity, as to be capable of a rational 
instruction. But there was a necessity for some command for the govern- 
ment of man ; since God had made him a rational creature, it was not agree- 
able to his wisdom to govern him as a brute, but as a rational creature, 
capable of knowing his precepts, and voluntarily walking in them ; and with- 
out a law, he had not been capable of any exercise of his reason in services 
respecting God. 

He therefore gives him a law with a covenant annexed to it, whereby 
man is obliged to obedience, and secured of a reward This was enforced 
with severe penalties, — death, with all the horrors attending it, — to deter him 
from transgression, Gen, ii. 17, wherein is implied a promise of continuance 
of life and all its felicities, to allure him to a mindfulness of his obligation. 
So perfect a hedge did divine wisdom set about him, to keep him within the 
bounds of that obedience, which was both his debt and security, that where- 
soever he looked, he saw either something to invite him, or something to 
drive him to the payment of his duty, and perseverance in it. Thus the 
law was exactly framed to the nature of man ; man had twisted in him a 
desire of happiness ; the promise was suited to cherish this natural desire. 
He had also the passion of fear ; the proper object of this was anything 
destructive to his being, nature, and felicity ; this the threatening met with. 
In the whole it was accommodated to man as rational. Precepts to the law 
in his mind, promises to the natural appetite ; threatenings to the most pre- 
vailing afi'ection, and to the implanted desires of preserving both his being 
and happiness in that being. These were rational motives fitted to the nature 
of Adam, which was above the life God had given plants, and the sense he 
had given animals. 

The command given man in innocence, was suited to his strength and 
power ; God gave him not any command, but what he had ability to observe ; 
and since we want not power to forbear an apple in our corrupted and im- 
potent state, he wanted not strength in his state of integrity. The wisdom 
of God commanded nothing, but what was very easy to be observed by him, and 
inferior to his natural ability. It had been both unjust and unwise to have 
commanded him to fly up to the sun, when he had not wings ; or stop the 
course of the sea, when he had not strength. 

Secondly, It is suited to the happiness and benefit of man. God's laws 
are not an act of mere authority respecting his own glory, but of wisdom 
and goodness respecting man's benefit. They are perfective of man's nature, 
conferring a wisdom upon him, ' rejoicing his heart, enlightening his eyes,' 
Ps. XIX. 7, 8, afibrding him both a knowledge of God and of himself. To be 
without a law, is for man to be as beasts, without justice and without religion. 
Other things are for the good of the bod}', but the laws of God for the good 
of the soul ; the more perfect the law, the greater the benefit. The laws 
given to the Jews were the honour and excellency of that nation : Deut. i. 8, 
* What nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so right- 
eous ?' They were made statesmen in the judicial law, ecclesiastics in the 
ceremonial, honest men in the second table, and divine in the first. All his 
laws are suited to the true satisfaction of man, and the good of human society. 
Had God framed a law only for one nation, there would have been the cha- 
racters of a particular wisdom ; but now an universal wisdom appears, in 
accommodating his law, not only to this or that particular society or corpo- 
ration of men, but to the benefit of all mankind, in the variety of climates 
and countries wherein they live. Everything that is disturbing to human 

Rom. XYI. 27.] god's wisdom. 29 

society is provided against ; nothing is enjoined but what is sweet, rational, 
and useful. It orders us not to attempt anything against the life of our 
neighbour, the honour of his bed, propriety in his goods, and the clearness 
of his reputation ; and if well observed, would alter the face of the world, 
and make it look with another hue. The world would be altered from a 
brutish to a human world. It would change lions and wolves, men of lion- 
like and wolfish disposition, into reason and sweetness. And because the 
whole law is summed up in love, it obligeth us to endeavour the preservation 
of one another's beings, the favouring of one another's interests, and increas- 
ing the goods, as much as justice will permit, and keeping up one another's 
credits ; because love, which is the soul of the law, is not shewn by a cessa- 
tion from action, but signifies an order, upon all occasions, in doing good. 
I say, were this law well observed, the world would be another thing than it 
is. It would become a religious fraternity ; the voice of enmity, and the 
noise of groans and cursings, would not be heard in our streets ; peace would 
be in all borders, plenty of charity in the midst of cities and countries, joy 
and singing would sound in all habitations. Man's advantage was designed 
in God's laws, and doth naturally result from the observance of them. God 
so ordered them by his wisdom, that the obedience of man should draw forth 
his goodness, and prevent those smarting judgments which were necessary 
to reduce the creature to order, that would not voluntarily continue in the 
order God had appointed. The laws of men are often unjust, oppressive, 
cruel, sometimes against the law of nature ; but an universal wisdom and 
righteousness glitters in the divine law. There is nothing in it, but what is 
worthy of God and useful for the creature ; so that we may well say with 
Job, ' Who teaches like God ? ' Job xxxvi. 22, or as some render it, ' Who 
is a lawgiver like God ?' who can say to him, Thou hast wrought iniquity, 
or folly, among men ? His precepts were framed for the preservation of 
man in that rectitude wherein he was created, in that likeness to God wherein 
he was first made, that there might be a correspondence between the integrity 
of the creature and the goodness of his Creator, by the obedience of man, 
that man might exercise his faculties in operations worthy of him, and bene- 
ficial to the world. 

Thirdly, The wisdom of God is seen in suiting his laws to the consciences, 
as well as the interest of all mankind. Rom. ii. 14, ' The Gentiles do by 
nature the things contained in the law,' so great an affinity there is between 
the wise law and the reason of man. 

There is a natural beauty emerging from them, and darting upon the 
reasons and consciences of men, which dictates to them that this law is 
worthy to be observed in itself. The two main principles of the law, the 
love and worship of God, and doing as we would be done by, have an inde- 
lible impression in the consciences of all men in regard of the principle, 
though they are not suitably expressed in the practice. Were there no law 
outwardly published, yet every man's conscience would dictate to him that 
God was to be acknowledged, worshipped, loved, as naturally as his reason 
would acquaint him that there was such a being as God. This suitableness 
of them to the consciences of men is manifest, in that the laws of the best- 
governed nations among the heathen have had an agreement with them. 
Nothing can be more exactly composed, according to the rules of right and 
exact reason, than this ; no man but approves of something in it, yea, of the 
whole, when he exerciseth that dim reason which he hath. Suppose any 
man, not an absolute atheist, he cannot but acknowledge the reasonableness 
of worshipping God. Grant him to be a Spirit, and it will presently appear 
absurd to represent him by any corporeal image, and derogate from his ex- 

80 charnock's wokks. [Rom. XVI. 27. 

cellency by so mean a resemblance. With the same easiness he will grant 
a reverence due to the name of God, that we must not serve our turn of him 
by calling him to witness to a lie in a solemn oath ; that as worship is due 
to him, so some stated time is a circumstance necessary to the performance 
of that worship. And as to the second table, will any man in his right 
reason quarrel with that command that engageth his inferiors to honour him, 
that secures his being from a violent murder, and his goods from unjust rapine ? 
And though, by the fury of his lusts, he break the laws of wedlock himself, 
yet he cannot but approve of that law, as it prohibits every man from doing 
him the like injury and disgrace. The suitableness of the law to the con- 
sciences of men, is further evidenced by those furious reflections and strong 
alarms of conscience upon a transgression of it, and that in all parts of the 
world, more or less in all men ; so exactly hath divine wisdom fitted the law 
to the reason and consciences of men, as one tally to another. Indeed, 
without such an agreement, no man's conscience could have any ground for 
a hue and cry, nor need any man be startled with the records of it. This 
manifests the wisdom of God in framing his law so, that the reasons and 
consciences of all men do one time or other subscribe to it. What governor 
in the world is able to make any law, distinct from this revealed by God, 
that shall reach all places, all persons, all hearts ? 

We may add to this, the extent of his commands in ordering goodness at 
the root, not only in action but affection, not only in the motion of the 
members, but the disposition of the soul, which, suiting a law to the inward 
frame of man, is quite out of the compass of the wisdom of any creature. 

Fourtldy. His wisdom is seen in the encouragements he gives for the 
studying and observing his will : Ps. xis. 11, * In keeping the commandments 
there is great reward.' The variety of them : there is not any particular 
genius in man, but may find something suitable to win upon him in the re- 
vealed will of God. There is a strain of reason to suit the rational, of elo- 
quence to gratify the fanciful, of interest to allure the selfish, of terror to 
startle the obstinate. As a skilful angler stores himself with baits, according 
to the appetites of the sorts of fish he intends to catch, so in the word of 
God there are varieties of baits, according to the varieties of the inclinations 
of men : threatenings, to work upon fear ; promises, to work upon love ; 
examples of holy men set out for imitation, and those plainly ; neither his 
threatenings nor his promises are dark, as the heathen oracles, but peremp- 
tory, as becomes a sovereign lawgiver, and plain, as was necessary for the 
understanding of a creature. As he deals graciously with men, in exhorting 
and encouraging them, so he deals wisely herein, by taking away all excuse 
from them, if they ruin the interest of their souls by denying obedience to 
their sovereign. 

Again, the rewards God proposeth are accommodated, not to the brutish 
parts of man, his carnal sense and fleshly appetite, but to the capacity of a 
spiritual soul, which admits only of spiritual gratifications, and cannot, in its 
own nature, without a sordid subjection to the humours of the body, be 
moved by sensual proposals. God backs his precepts with that which the 
nature of man longed for, and with spiritual delights, which can only satisfy 
a rational appetite ; and thereby did as well gratify the noblest desires in 
man, as oblige him to the noblest service and work.* Indeed, virtue and 
holiness, being perfectly amiable, ought chiefly to aflect our understandings, 
and by them draw our wills to the esteem and pursuit of them. But since 
the desire of happiness is inseparable from the nature of man, as impossible 
to be disjoined, as an inclination to descend to be severed from heavy bodies, 
* Amyraut. 

Bom. XVI. 27.] god's wisdom. 31' 

or an instinct to ascend from light and airy substances, God serv es himself 
of the inclination of our natures to happiness, to engender in us an esteem 
and aflfection to the holiness he doth require. He proposeth the enjoyment 
of a supernatural good and everlasting glory, as a bait to that insatiable 
longing our natures have for happiness, to receive the impression of holiness 
into our souls. And besides, he doth proportion rewards according to the 
degrees of men's industry, labour, and zeal for him ; and weighs out a recom- 
pence, not only suited to, but above the service. He that improves five 
talents* is to be ruler over five cities, that is, a greater proportion of honour 
and glory than another, Luke xix. 17, 18. As a wise father excites the 
affection of his children to things worthy of praise, by varieties of recom- 
pences according to their several actions. Ajid it was the wisdom of the 
steward, in the judgment of our Saviour, to give every one the portion that 
belonged to him, Luke xii. 42. There is no part of the word wherein we 
meet not with the will and wisdom of God, varieties of duties, and varieties 
of encouragement mingled together. 

Fifthly, The wisdom of God is seen in fitting the revelations of his will to 
after times, and for the preventing of the foreseen corruptions of men. The 
whole revelation of the mind of God is stored with wisdom, in the words, 
connection, sense; it looks backwards to past, and forwards to ages to come. 
A hidden wisdom lies in the bowels of it, like gold in a mine. 

The Old Testament was so composed as to fortify the New, when God 
should bring it to light. The foundations of the gospel were laid in the law. 
The predictions of the prophets, and figures of the law, were so wisely 
framed and laid down in such clear expressions, as to be proofs of the 
authority of the New Testament, and convictions of Jesus his beinc the 
Messiah, Luke xxiv. 27. Things concerning Christ were written in Moses, 
the prophets, and Psalms, and do to this day stare the Jews so in the face, 
that they are fain to invent absurd and nonsensical interpretations to excuse 
their unbelief, and continue themselves in their obstinate blindness. And 
in pursuance of the efiicacy of those predictions, it was a part of the wisdom 
of God to bring forth the translation of the Old Testament (by the means of 
Ptolemy, king of Egypt, some hundreds of years before the coming of Christ) 
into the Greek language, the tongue the most known in the world ; and why ? 
To prepare the Gentiles, by the reading of it, for that gracious call he 
intended them, and for the entertainment of the gospel, which some few 
years after was to be published among them ; that by reading the predic- 
tions so long before made, they might more readily receive the accomplish- 
ment of them in their due time. 

The Scripture is written in such a manner as to obviate errors foreseen by 
God to enter into the church. It may be wondered why the universal 
particle should be inserted by Christ, in the giving the cup in the supper, 
which was not in the distributing the bread: Mat. xxvi. 27, ' Drink ye ail of 
it ; ' not at the distributing the bread, eat you all of it. And Mark in his 
relation tells us, ' They all drank of it,' Mark xi. 23. The Church of Rome 
hath been the occasion of discovering to us the wisdom of our Saviour in 
inserting that particle all, since they were so bold to exclude the com- 
municants from the cup by a trick of concomitancy. Christ foresaw the 
error, and therefore put in a little word to obviate a great invasion. And 
the Spirit of God hath particularly left upon record that particle, as we may 
reasonably suppose, to such a purpose. And so in the description of the 
blessed virgin, Luke i. 27. There is nothing of her holiness mentioned, 

* Thpre seems to be here a confusion of the parable in Luke xix. with that in 
Mat. XXV. — Ed. 

32 chaknock's works. [Rom. XVI. 27. 

■which is with much diligence recorded of Elizabeth : ver. 6, ' Righteous, 
walking in all the commandments of God blameless ; ' probably to prevent 
the superstition which God foresaw would arise in the world. And we do 
not find more undervaluing speeches uttered by Christ to any of his dis- 
ciples in the exercise of his office than to her, except to Peter. As when 
she acquainted him with the want of wine at the marriage in Cana, she 
receives a slighting answer: 'Woman, what have I to do with thee?' 
John ii. 4. And when one was admiring the blessedness of her that bare 
him, he turns the discourse another way, to pronounce a blessedness rather 
belonging to them that hear the word of God, and keep it, Luke xi. 27, 28, 
in a mighty wisdom to antidote his people against any conceit of the pre- 
valency of the virgin over him in heaven, in the exercise of his mediatory 

[2.] As his wisdom appears in his government by his laws, so it appears 
in the various inclinations and conditions of men. As there is a distinction 
of several creatures, and several qualities in them, for the common good of 
the world, so among men there are several inclinations and several abilities, 
as donatives from God, for the common advantage of human society ; as 
several channels cut out from the same river run several ways, and refresh 
several soils ; one man is qualified for one employment, another marked out 
by God for a ditferent work, yet all of them fruitful to bring in a revenue of 
glory to God, and a harvest of profit to the rest of mankind. How unuse- 
ful would the body be, if it had but one member ! 1 Cor. xii. 19. How 
unprovided would a house be, if it had not vessels of dishonour as well as of 
honour ! The corporation of mankind w^ould be as much a chaos, as the 
matter of the heavens and the earth was before it was distinguished by 
several forms breathed into it at the creation. Some are inspired with a 
particular genius for one art, some for another ; every man hath a distinct 
talent. If all were husbandmen, where would be the instruments to plough 
and reap ? If all were artificers, where would they have corn to nourish 
themselves ? All men are like vessels, and parts in the body, designed for 
distinct offices and functions for the good of the whole, and mutually return 
an advantage to one another. 

As the variety of gifts in the church is a fruit of the wisdom of God, for 
the preservation and increase of the church, so the variety of inclinations 
and employments in the world is a fruit of the wisdom of God, for the 
preservation and subsistence of the world by mutual commerce. What the 
apostle largely discourseth of the former, in 1 Cor. xii., may be applied to 
the other. 

The various conditions of men is also a fruit of divine wisdom. Some 
are rich, and some poor ; the rich have as much need of the poor as the 
poor have of the rich. If the poor depend upon the rich for their liveli- 
hood, the rich depend upon the poor for their conveniencies. Many arts 
would not be learned by men if poverty did not oblige them to it, and many 
would faint in the learning of them if they were not thereunto encouraged 
by the rich. 

The poor labour for the rich, as the earth sends vapours into the vaster 
and fuller air, and the rich return advantages again to the poor, as the clouds 
do the vapours in rain upon the earth. As meat would not aftbrd a 
nourishing juice without bread, and bread without other food would immo- 
derately fill the stomach, and not be well digested, so the rich would be 
unprofitable in the commonwealth without the poor, and the poor would be 
burdensome to a commonwealth without the rich. The poor could not be 
easily governed without the rich, nor the rich sufficiently and conveniently 

Rom. XVI. 27.J god's wisdom. 33 

provided for without the poor. If all were rich, there would be no objects 
for the exercise of a noble part of charity ; if all were poor, there were no 
matter for the exercise of it. Thus the divine wisdom planted various 
inclinations, and diversified the conditions of men for the public advantages 
of the world. 

(2.) God's wisdom appears in the government of men as fallen and sinful, 
or in the government of sin. After the law of God was broke, and sin 
invaded and conquered the world, divine wisdom had another scene to act 
in, and other methods of government were necessary. The wisdom of God 
is then seen in ordering those jarring discords, drawing good out of evil, 
and honour to himself out of that which in its own nature tended to the 
supplanting of his glory. God being a sovereign good would not suffer so 
great an evil to enter, but to serve himself of it for some greater end ; for all 
his thoughts are full of goodness and wisdom. 

Now though the permission of sin be an act of his sovereignty, and the 
punishment of sin be an act of his justice, yet the ordination of sin to good 
is an act of his wisdom, whereby he doth dispose the evil, overrules the 
malice, and orders the events of it to his own purposes. Sin in itself is a 
disorder, and therefore God doth not permit sin for itself ; for in its own 
nature it hath nothing of amiableness, but he wills it for some righteous 
end, which belongs to the manifestation of his glory, which is his aim in all 
the acts of his will ; he wills it not as sin, but as his wisdom can order it to 
some greater good than was before in the world, and make it contribute to 
the beauty of the order he intends. As a dark shadow is not delightful and 
pleasant in itself, nor is drawn by a painter for any amiableness there is in 
the shadow itself, but as it serves to set forth that beauty which is the main 
design of his art, so the glorious effects which arise from the entrance of 
sin into the world are not from the creatures' evil, but the depths of divine 


[1.] God's wisdom is seen in the bounding of sin. As it is said of ' the 
wrath of man, it shall praise him, and the remainder of wrath God doth 
restrain,' Ps. Ixxvi. 10. He sets limits to the boiling corruption of the heart, 
as he doth to the boisterous waves of the sea : ' Hitherto shalt thou go, and 
no further.' As God is the rector of the world, he doth so restrain sin, so 
temper and direct it, as that human society is preserved, which else would be 
overflown with a deluge of wickedness, and ruin would be brought upon all 
communities. The world would be a shambles, a brothel-house, if God by 
his wisdom and goodness did not set bars to that wickedness which is in the 
hearts of men. The whole earth would be as bad as hell. Since the heart 
of man is a hell of corruption, by that the souls of all men would be excited to 
the acting the worst villanies ; since ' every thought of the heart of man is 
only evil, and that continually,' Gen. vi. 5 ; if the wisdom of God did not 
stop these flood-gates of evil in the hearts of men, it would overflow the 
world, and frustrate all the gracious designs he carries on among the sons of 
men. Were it not for this wisdom, every house would be filled with violence, 
as well as every nature is with sin. What harm would not strong and 
furious beasts do, did not the skill of man tame and bridle them ? How 
often hath divine wisdom restrained the viciousness of human nature, and 
let it run, not to that point they designed, but to the end he proposed ! 
Laban's fury, and Esau's enmity against Jacob were pent in within bounds 
for Jacob's safety, and their hearts overruled from an intended destruction 
of the good man to a perfect amity. Gen. xxxi. 29, and Gen. xxxii. 

[2.] God's wisdom is seen in the bringing glory to himself out of sin. 


8-i chaknock's woeks. [Rom. XVI. 27. 

First, Out of sin itself. God erects the trophies of honour upon that, 
which is a natural means to hinder and deface it. His glorious attributes 
are drawn out 'to our view upon the occasion of sin, which otherwise had 
lain hid in his own being. Sin is altogether black and abominable ; but by 
the admirable wisdom of God, he hath drawn out of the dreadful darkness 
of sin, the saving beams of his mercy, and displayed his grace in the incarna- 
tion and passion of his Son for the atonement of sin. Thus he permitted 
Adam's fall, and wisely ordered it, for a fuller discovery of his own nature, 
and a higher elevation of man's good, that ' as sin reigned to death, so might 
grace reign through righteousness to eternal life, by Jesus Christ,' Rom. 
V. 21. The unbounded goodness of God could not have appeared without 
it. His goodness in rewarding innocent obedience would have been mani- 
fested, but not his mercy in pardoning rebellious crimes. An innocent 
creature is the object of the rewards of grace, as the standing angels are 
under the beams of grace ; but not under the beams of mercy, because they 
were never sinful, and consequently never miserable. Without sin the 
creature had not been miserable. Had man remained innocent, he had not 
been the subject of punishment ; and without the creature's misery, God's 
mercy in sending his Son to save his enemies could not have appeared. 
The abundance of sin is a passive occasion for God to manifest the abun- 
dance of his grace. 

The power of God in the changing the heart of a rebellious creature had 
not appeared, had not sin infected our nature. We had not clearly known 
the vindictive justice of God had no crime been committed, for that is the 
proper object of divine wrath. The goodness of God could never have per- 
mitted justice to exercise itself upon an innocent creature, that was not 
guilty either personally or by imputation : Ps. xi. 7, ' The righteous Lord 
loveth righteousness ; his countenance doth behold the upright.' Wisdom 
is illustrious hereby. God suffered man to fall into a mortal disease, to 
shew the virtue of his own restoratives to cure sin, which in itself is incur- 
able by the art of any creature ; and otherwise this perfection, whereby God 
draws good out of evil, had been utterly useless, and would have been desti- 
tute of an object wherein to discover itself. 

Again, wisdom, in ordering a rebellious headstrong world to its own ends, 
is greater than the ordering an innocent world, exactly observant of his pre- 
cepts, and complying with the end of the creation. Now, without the 
entrance of sin, this wisdom had wanted a stage to act upon. Thus God 
raised the honour of his wisdom, while man ruined the integrity of his 
nature ; and made use of the creature's breach of his divine law, to establish 
the honour of it in a more signal and stable manner, by the active and pas- 
sive obedience of the Son of his bosom. Nothing serves God so much as 
an occasion of glorifying himself, as the entrance of sin into the world ; by 
this occasion God communicates to us the knowledge of those perfections of 
his nature, which had else been folded up from us in an eternal night : his 
justice had lain in the dark, as having nothing to punish ; his mercy had 
been obscure, as having none to pardon ; a great part of his wisdom had 
been silent, as having no such object to order. 

Secondly, His wisdom appears in making use of sinful instruments. He 
uses the malice and enmity of the devil to bring about his own purposes, 
and makes the sworn enemy of his honour contribute to the illustrating of 
it against his will. This great crafts-master he took in his own net, and 
defeated the devil by the devil's malice, by turning the contrivances he had 
hatched and accomplished against man, against himself. He used him as a 
tempter, to grapple with our Saviour in the wilderness, whereby to make him 

Eoji. XYI. 27.] god's wisdom. 35 

fit to succour us ; and as the God of this world, to inspire the wicked Jews 
to crucify him, whereby to render him actually the Redeemer of the world, 
and so made him an ignorant instrument of that divine glory he designed 
to ruin. 

It is more skill to make a curious piece of workmanship with ill-condi- 
tioned tools, than with instruments naturally fitted for the work. It is no 
such great wonder for a limner to draw an exact piece with a fit pencil and 
suitable colours, as to begin and perfect a beautiful work with a straw and 
water, things improper for such a design.* This wisdom of God is more 
admirable and astonishing, than if a man were able to rear a vast palace by 
fire, whose nature is to consume combustible matter, not to erect a building. 

To make things serviceable, contrary to their own nature, is a wisdom 
peculiar to the Creator of nature. God's making use of devils, for the glory 
of his name, and the good of his people, is a more amazing piece of wisdom 
than his goodness in employing the blessed angels in his work. To promise 
that ' the world' (which includes the God of the world), and ' death,' and 
' things present,' let them be as evil as they will, should be ' ours,' that is, 
for oar good, and for his glory, is an act of goodness ; but to make them 
serviceable to the honour of Christ, and the good of his people, is a wisdom 
that may well raise our highest admirations, 1 Cor. iii. 22. They are for 
believers, as they are for the glory of Christ, and as Christ is for the glory 
of God. 

To chain up Satan wholly, and frustrate his wiles, would be an argument 
of divine goodness ; but to sufier him to run his risk, and then improve all 
his contrivances for his own glorious and gracious ends and purposes, mani- 
fests, besides his power and goodness, his wisdom also. He uses the sins 
of evil instruments for the glory of his justice, Isa. x. 5-7. Thus he served 
himself of the ambition and covetousness of the Assyrians, Chaldeans, and 
Romans, for the correction of his people and punishment of his rebels ; just 
as the Roman magistrates used the fury of lions and other wild beasts, in 
their theatres, for the punishment of criminals. The lions acted their natu- 
ral temper in tearing those that were exposed to them for a prey ; but the 
intent of the magistrates was to punish their crimes. The magistrate 
inspired not the lions with their rage, that they had from their natures ; but 
served themselves of that natural rage to execute justice, 

Thirdbj, God's wisdom is seen in bringing good to the creature out of sin. 
He hath ordered sin to such an end as man never dreamt of, the devil 
never imagined, and sin in its own nature could never attain. Sin in its own 
nature tends to no good, but that of punishment, whereby the creature is 
brought into order. It hath no relation to the creature's good in itself, but 
to the creature's mischief; but God, by an infinite act of wisdom, brings 
good out of it to the creature, as well as glory to his name, contrary to the 
nature of the crime, the intention of the criminal, and the design of the 

God willed sin, that is, he willed to permit it, that he might communicate 
himself to the creature in the most excellent manner. He willed the per- 
mission of sin, as an occasion to bring forth the mystery of the incarnation 
and passion of our Saviour ; as he permitted the sin of Joseph's brethren, 
that he might use their evil to a good end. He never, because of his holi- 
ness, wills sin as an end ; but, in regard of his wisdom, he wills to pennit 
it as a means and occasion. And thus to draw good out of those things which 
are in their own nature most contrary to good, is the highest pitch of 

* Mouliu's Serin. Decad. x. p. 231, 232. 

36 chaenock's works. [Rom. XYI. 27. 

First, The redemption of man in so excellent a way was drawn from 
the occasion of sin. The greatest blessing that ever the world was blessed 
with, was ushered in by contrarieties, by the lust and irregular aft'ection of 
man ; the first promise of the Redeemer by the fall of Adam, Gen. iii. 15, 
and the bruising the heel of that promised seed, by the blackest tragedy 
acted by wicked rebels, the treachery of Judas, and the rage of the Jews ; 
the highest good hath been brought forth by the gi-eatest wickedness. As 
God out of the chaos of rude and indigested matter framed the first crea- 
tion, so from the sins of men, and malice of Satan, he hath erected the 
everlasting scheme of honour in a new creation of all things by Jesus Christ. 

The devil inspired man to content his own fury in the death of Christ, 
and God ordered it to accomplish his own design of redemption in the 
passion of the Redeemer. The devil had his diabolical ends, and God 
overpowers his action to serve his own divine ends. The person that 
betrayed him was admitted to be a spectator of the most private actions of 
our Saviour, that his innocence might be justified ; to shew that he was not 
afraid to have his enemies judges of his most retired privacies. While they 
all thought to do their own wills, divine wisdom orders them to do God's 
will : Acts ii. 23, ' Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and 
foreknowledge of God, you have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified 
and slain.' And wherein the crucifiers of Christ sinned, in shedding the 
richest blood, upon their repentance they found the expiation of their crimes, 
and the discovery of a superabundant mercy. Nothing but blood was aimed 
at by them ; the best blood was shed by them, but infinite wisdom makes 
the cross the scene of his own righteousness, and the womb of man's recovery. 

By the occasion of man's lapsed state there was a way open to raise man 
to a more excellent condition than that whereinto he was put by creation. 
And the depriving man of the happiness of an earthly paradise, in the way 
of justice, was an occasion of advancing him to a heavenly felicity, in a way 
of grace. The violation of the old covenant occasionally introduced a 
better ; the loss of the first integrity ushered in a more stable righteousness, 
an * everlasting righteousness,' Dan. ix. 24. And the falling of the fijst 
head was succeeded by one whose standing could not but be eternal. 

The fall of the devil was ordered by infinite wisdom, for the good of that 
body from which he fell. It is supposed by some that the devil was the 
chief angel in heaven, the head of all the rest ; and that he falling, the 
angels were left as a body without a head ; and after he had politically 
beheaded the angels, he endeavoured to destroy man, and rout him out of 
paradise. But God takes the opportunity to set up his Son as the head of 
angels and men. And thus whilst the devil endeavoured to spoil the cor- 
poration of angels, and make them a body contrary to God, God makes 
angels and men one body under one head for his service. 

The angels in losing a defectible head attained a more excellent and 
glorious head in another nature, which they had not before ; though of a 
lower nature in his humanity, yet of a more glorious nature in his divinity ; 
from whence many suppose they derive their confirming grace, and the 
stability of their standing. All things in heaven and earth are gathered 
together in Christ, Eph. i. 10, avay.i:pa\arjjGa6dai ; all united in him and 
reduced under one head. That though our Saviom- be not properly their 
redeemer, for redemption supposeth captivity, yet in some sense he is their 
head and mediator ; so that now the inhabitants of heaven and earth are 
but one family, Eph. iii. 15, And the innumerable company of angels are 
parts of that heavenly and triumphant Jerusalem, and that general assembly, 
whereof Jesus Christ is mediator, Heb. xii. 22, 23. 

Roii, XYI. 27.] god"s wisdom. 37 

Secondly, The good of a nation often, by the skill of divine wisdom, is 
promoted by the sins of some men. The patriarchs' selling Joseph to the 
Midianites, Gen. xxxvii. 28, was without question a sin, and a breach of 
natural aflection ; yet by God's wise ordination it proved the safety of the 
whole church of God in the world, as well as the Egyptian nation, Gen. 
xlv. 5, 8, and 1. 30. 

The Jews' unbelief was a step whereby the Gentiles arose to the know- 
ledge of the gospel ; as the setting of the sun in one place is the rising of 
it in another. Mat. xxii. 9. He uses the corruptions of men instrumentally 
to propagate his gospel ; he built up the true church by the preaching of 
' some out of envy,' Philip, i. 15, as he blessed Israel out of the mouth of a 
false prophet, Num. xxiii. How often have the heresies of men been the 
occasion of clearing up the truth of God, and fixing the more Hvely impres- 
sions of it on the hearts of believers. 

Neither Judah nor Tamar, in their lust, dreamt of a stock for the 
Redeemer ; yet God gave a son from that unlawful bed, whereof Christ 
came according to the liesh, Gen. xxxviii. 29 compared with Mat. i. 3. 

Jonah's sin was probably the first and remote occasion of the Ninevites 
giving credit to his prophecy ; his sin was the cause of his punishment, and 
his being flung into the sea might facilitate the reception of his message, 
and excite the Ninevites' repentance, whereby a cloud of severe judgment 
was blown away from them. 

It is thought by some, that when Jonah passed through the streets of 
Nineveh with his proclamation of destruction, he might be known by some 
of the mariners of that ship from whence he was cast overboard into the 
sea, and might after their voyage be occasionally in that city, the metropoUs 
of the nation, and the place of some of their births ; and might acquaint 
the people that this was the same person they had cast into the sea by his 
own consent, for his acknowledged running from the presence of the Lord ; 
for that he had told them, Jonah i. 10, and the mariners' prayer, ver. 14, 
evidenceth it ; whereupon they might conclude his message worthy of belief, 
since they knew from such evidences that he had sunk into the bowels of 
the waters, and now saw him safe in their streets by a deliverance unknown 
to them ; and that therefore that power that delivered him could easily 
verify his word in the threatened judgment. 

Had Jonah gone at first without committing that sin and receiving that 
punishment, his message had not been judged a divine prediction, but a 
fruit of some enthusiastic madness. His sin upon this account was the 
first occasion of averting a judgment from so great a city. 

Thirdly, The good of the sinner himself is sometimes promoted by divine 
wisdom ordering the sin. As God had not permitted sin to enter upon the 
world, unless to bring glory to himself by it, so he would not let sin remain 
in the little world of a believer's heart, if he did not intend to order it for 
his good. What is done by man to his damage and disparagement is directed 
by divine wisdom to his advantage ; not that it is the intent of the sin or 
the sinner, but it is the event of the sin by the ordination of divine wisdom 
and grace. 

As without the wisdom of God permitting sin to enter into the world 
some attributes of God had not been experimentally known, so some graces 
could not have been exercised ; for where had there been an object for that 
noble zeal, in vindicating the glory of God, had it not been invaded by an 
enemy ? The intenseness of love to him could not have been so strong had 
we not an enemy to hate for his sake. Where had there been any place ior 
that noble part of charity, in holy admonitions and compassion to the souls 

38 charnock's works. [Rom. XVI. 27. 

of our neighbours, and endeavours to reduce them out of a destructive to a 
happy path ? HumiUty would not have had so many grounds for its growth 
and exercise, and holy sorrow had had no fuel. 

And as without the appearance of sin, there had been no exercise of the 
patience of God, so without afflictions, the fruits of sin, there had been no 
ground for the exercise of the patience of a Christian, one of the noblest 
parts of valour. Now sin being evil, and such as cannot but be evil, hath 
no respect in itself to any good, and cannot work a gracious end, or anything 
profitable to the creature ; nay, it is a hindrance to any good, and therefore 
what good comes from it is accidental, occasioned indeed by sin, but efficiently 
caused by the over-ruling wisdom of God, taking occasion thereby to display 
itself and the divine goodness. 

The sins and corruptions remaining in the heart of a man, God orders 
for good, and there are good efiects by the direction of his wisdom and grace. 

As the soul respects God. 

1st, God often brings forth a sensibleness of the necessity of depend- 
ence on him. The nurse often lets the child slip, that it may the better 
know who supports it, and may not be too venturous and confident of 
its own strength. Peter would trust in habitual grace, and God suffers 
him to fall, that he might trust more in' assisting grace : Mat. xxvi. 35, 
« Though I should die with thee, yet I will not deny thee.' God leaves 
sometimes the brightest souls in an eclipse, to manifest that their holiness, 
and the preservation of it, depend upon the darting out his beams upon 

As the falls of men are the effects of their coldness and remissness in acts 
of faith and repentance, so the fruit of these falls is often a running to him 
for refuge, and a deeper sensibleness where their security lies. It makes us 
lower our swelling sails, and come under the lee and protection of divine 
grace. When the pleasures of sin answer not the expectations of a revolted 
creature, he reflects upon his former state, and sticks more close to God, 
when before God had little of his company : Hosea ii. 7, ' I will return to 
my first husband, for then it was better with me than now.' 

As God makes the sins of men sometimes an occasion of their conversion, 
so he sometimes makes them an occasion of a further conversion. Onesimus 
run from Philemon, and was met with by Paul, who proved an instrument 
of his conversion : Philem. 10, ' My son Onesimus, whom I have begotten 
in my bonds.* His flight from his master was the occasion of his regenera- 
tion by Paul, a prisoner. 

The falls of believers God orders to their further stability. He that is 
fallen for want of using his staff", will lean more upon it to preserve himself 
from the like disaster. 

God, by permitting the lapses of men, doth often make them despair of 
their own strength to subdue their enemies, and rely upon the strength of 
Christ, wherein God hath laid up power for us, and so become stronger in 
that strength which God hath ordained for them. 

We are very apt to trust in ourselves, and have confidence in our own 
worth and strength ; and God lets loose corruptions to abate this swelling 
humour. This was the reason of the apostle Paul's ' thorn in the flesh,' 
2 Cor. xii. 9, whether it were a temptation, or corruption, or sickness, that 
he might be sensible of his own inability, and where the sufficiency of grace 
for him was placed. 

He that is in danger of drowning, and hath the waves come over his 
head, will with all the might he hath, lay hold upon anything near him, 
which is capable to save him. God lets his people sometimes sink into such 

Rom. XYI. 27.] god's wisdom. 39 

a condition, that they may lay the faster hold on him who is ' near to all 
that call upon him.' 

2dly, God hereby raiseth higher estimations of the value and virtue of 
the blood of Christ. As the great reason why God permitted sin to enter ' 
into the world, was to honour himself in the Redeemer, so the continuance 
of sin, and the conquests it sometimes makes in renesved men, are to honour 
the infinite value and virtue of the Redeemer's merit, which God from the 
beginning intended to magnify : the value of it, in taking off so much 
successive guilt ; and the virtue of it, in washing away so much daily filth. 

The wisdom of God hereby keeps up the credit of imputed righteousness, 
and manifests the immense treasure of the Redeemer's merit to pay such daily 
debts. Were we perfectly sanctified, we should stand upon our own bottom, 
and imagine no need of the continual and repeated imputation of the right- 
eousness of Christ for our justification. We should confide in inherent 
righteousness, and slight imputed. 

If God should take ofi" all remainders of sin, as well as the guilt of it, we 
should be apt to forget that we are fallen creatures, and that we had a Re- 
deemer. But the relics of sin in us, mind us of the necessity of some higher 
strength to set us right. They mind us both of our own misery and the 
Redeemer's perpetual benefit. God by this keeps up the dignity and honour 
of our Saviour's blood to the height, and therefore sometimes lets us see, to 
our own cost, what filth yet remains in us for the employment of that blood, 
which we should else but little think of, and less admire. Our gratitude is 
so small to God, as well as man, that the first obligations are soon forgot, 
if we stand not in need of fresh ones successively to second them ; we should 
lose our thankful remembrance of the first virtue of Christ's blood in wash- 
ing us, if our infirmities did not mind us of fresh reiterations and applica- 
tions of it. 

Our Saviour's ofiice of advocacy was erected especially for sins committed 
after a justified and renewed state, 1 John ii. 1. We should scarce remem- 
ber we had an advocate, and scarce make use of him, without some sensible 
necessity ; but our remainders of sin discover our impotency, and an impos- 
sibility for us either to expiate our sin, or conform to the law, which neces- 
sitates us to have recourse to that person whom God hath appointed, to make 
up the breaches between God and us. 

So the apostle wraps up himself in the covenant of grace and his interest 
in Christ, after his conflict with sin: Rom. vii. 25, 'I thank God through 
Jesus Christ.' ' Now,' after such a body of death, a principle within me 
that sends up daily steams ; yet as long as I serve God with my mind, as 
long as I keep the main condition of the covenant, ' there is no condemna- 
tion,' chap. viii. 1. Christ takes my part, procures my acceptance, and 
holds the band of salvation firm in his hands. The brightness of Christ's 
grace is set off by the darkness of our sin. We should not understand the 
sovereignty of his medicines, if there were no relics of sin for him to exercise 
his skill upon. The physician's art is most experimented, and therefore 
most valued, in relapses, as dangerous as the former disease. As the wisdom 
of God brought our Saviour into temptation, that he might have compassion 
to us ; so it permits us to be overcome by temptation, that we might have 
due valuations of him. 

3dly, God hereby often engageth the soul to a greater industry for his 
glory. The highest persecutors, when they have become converts, have 
been the greatest champions for that cause they both hated and oppressed. 
The apostle Paul is such an instance of this, that it needs no enlargement. 
By how much they have failed of answering the end of their creation in 

40 charnock's works. [Rom. XVI. 27. 

glorifying God, by so much the more they summon up all their force for 
such an end, after their conversion, to restore as much as they can of that 
glory to God, which they by their sin had robbed him of. Their sins, by 
the order of divine wisdom, prove whetstones to sharpen the edge of their 
spirits for God. Paul never remembered his persecuting fury, but he 
doubled his industry for the service of God, which before he trampled under 
his feet. The further we go back, the greater leap many times we take 

Our Saviour, after his resurrection, put Peter upon the exercise of that love 
to him, which had so lately shrunk his head out of suiiering, John xxi. 15-17 ; 
and no doubt but the consideration of his base denial, together with a re- 
flection upon a gracious pardon, engaged his ingenuous soul to stronger and 
fiercer flames of afiection. A believer's courage for God is more sharpened 
oftentimes by the shame of his fall. He endeavours to repair the faults of 
his ingratitude and disingenuity, by larger and stronger steps of obedience. 
As a man in a fight, having been foiled by his enemy, reassumes new 
courage by his fall, and is many times obliged to his foil, both for his spirit 
and his victory ; a gracious heart will, upon the very motions to sin, double 
its vigour, as well as by good ones. It is usually more quickened, both 
in its motion to God and for God, by the temptations and motions to sin 
which run upon it. This is another good the wisdom of God brings forth 
from sin. 

4thly, Again, humility towards God is another good divine wisdom brings 
forth from the occasion of siu. By this God beats down all good opinion 
of ourselves. Hezekiah was more humbled by his fall into pride, than by 
all the distress he had been in by Sennacherib's army, 2 Chron. xxxii. 26. 
Peter's confidence before his fall, gave way to an humble modesty after it. 
You see his confidence, Mark xiv. 29, ' Though all should be offended in 
thee, yet will not I ;' and you have the mark of his modesty, John xxi. 17. 
It is not then, Lord, I will love thee to the death, I will not start from 
thee ; but, ' Lord, thou knowest that I love thee.' I cannot assure myself 
of anything after this miscarriage ; but. Lord, thou knowest there is a prin- 
ciple of love in me to thy name. He was ashamed that himself, who ap- 
peared such a pillar, should bend as meanly as a shrub to a temptation. 

The reflection upon sin lays a man as low as hell in his humiliation, as 
the commission of sin did in the merit. When David comes to exercise 
repentance for his sin, he begins it from the well-head of sin, Ps. h. 5, his 
original corruption, and draws down the streams of it to the last commission. 
Perhaps he did not so seriously humble himself for the sin of his nature all 
his days, so much as at that time ; at least, we have not such evidences of 
it. And Hezekiah humbled himself for the pride of his heart ; not only for 
the pride of his act, 2 Chron. xxxii, 26, but for the pride in the heart, 
which was the spring of that pride in act, in shewing his treasures to the 
Babylonish ambassadors. God lets sin continue in the hearts of the best 
in this world, and sometimes gives the reins to Satan, and a man's own 
corruption, to keep up a sense of the ancient sale we made of ourselves 
to both. 

In regard of ourselves. 

Herein is the wonder of divine wisdom, that God many times makes a 
sin, which meritoriously fits us for hell, a providential occasion to fit us for 
heaven ; when it is an occasion of a more humble faith and believing humi- 
lity, and an occasion of a thorough sanctification and growth in grace, which 
prepares us for a state of glory. 

1st, He makes use of one sin's breaking out to discover more, and so 

EoM. XYI. 27.] god's wisdom. 41 

brings us to a self-abhorrency and indignation against sin, the first step to- 
wards heaven. Perhaps David, before his gross fall, thought he had no 
hj'pocrisy in him. We often find him appealing to God for his integrity, 
and desii'ing God to try him, if any guile could be found in his heart, as if 
he could find none himself ; but his lapse into that great wickedness makes 
him discern much falseness in his soul, when he desii'es God to ' renew a 
right spirit ' within him, and speaks of ' truth in the inward parts,' Ps. 
li. 6, 10 ; the stirring of one corruption makes all the mud at the bottom 
appear, which before a soul did not suspect. No man would think there 
were so great a cloud of smoke contained in a little stick of wood, were it not 
for the powerful operation of the fire, that both discovers and separates it. 
Job, that cursed the day of his birth, and uttered many impatient expres- 
sions against God upon the account of his own integrity, upon his recovery 
from his afiiiction, and God's close application of himself, was wrought to a 
greater abhorrency of himself than ever we read he was exercised in before. 
Job xlii. 6. The hostile acts of sin increase the soul's hatred of it, and the 
deeper our humiliations are for it the stronger impressions of abhorrency 
are made upon us. 

'idly, He often orders it, to make conscience more tender, and the soul 
more watchful. He that finds by his calamity his enemy to have more 
strength against him than he suspected, will double his guards and quicken 
his diligence against him. A being overtaken by some sin is, by the wis- 
dom of God, disposed to make us more fearful of cherishing any occasion to 
inflame it, and watchful against every motion and start of it ; by a fall the 
soul hath more experience of the deceitfulness of the heart, and, by observ- 
ing its methods, is rendered better able to watch against them. It is our 
ignorance of the devices of Satan, and our own hearts, that makes us ob- 
noxious to their surprises. A fall into one sin is often a prevention of more 
which lay in wait for us. As the fall of a small body into ambush prevents 
the design of the enemy upon a greater, as God sutlers heresies in the 
church, to try our faith, so he sutlers sins to remain, and sometimes to break 
out, to try our watchfulness. This advantage he brings from them, to steel 
our resolutions against the same sins, and quicken our circumspection for 
the future against new surprises by a temptation. David's sin was * ever 
before him,' Ps. li. 3, and made his conscience cry, Blood, blood, upon every 
occasion. He refused the water of the well of Bethlehem, 2 Sam. xxiii. 16, 17, 
because it was gained with the hazard of lives ; he could endure nothing that 
had the taste of blood in it. Our fear of a thing depends much upon a trial 
of it ; a child will not fear too near approaches to the fire till he feels the 
smart of it. 

Mortification doth not wholly suppress the motions of sin, though it doth 
the resolutions to commit it ; but that there will be a proneness in the 
relics of it, to entice a man into those faults, which, upon sight of their 
blemishes, cost him so many tears. As great sicknesses after the cure are 
more watched, and the body humoured, that a man might not fall from the 
craziness they have left in him, which he is apt to do if relapses are not 
carefully provided against. A man becomes more careful of anything that 
may contribute to the resurrection of an expired disease. 

Mly, God makes it an occasion of the mortification of that sin, which 
was the matter of the fall. The liveliness of one sin in a renewed man many 
times is the occasion of the death of it. A wild beast, while kept close in 
a den, is secure in its life ; but, when it breaks out to rapine, it makes the 
master resolve to prevent any further mischief by the death of it. The im- 
petuous stirring of a humour in a disease is sometime critical, and a prog- 

42 charnock's works. [Rom. XVI. 27. 

Dostic of the strength of nature against it, whereby the disease loseth its 
strength by its struggling, and makes room for health to take place by de- 
grees. One sin is used by God for the destruction both of itself and others. 
As the flesh of a scorpion cures the biting of it, it sometimes, by wounding 
us, loseth its sting, and, like the bee, renders itself uncapable of a second 
revenge. Peter, after his gross denial, never denied his master afterwards. 
The sin that lay undiscovered is, by a fall, become visible, and so more 
obvious to a mortifying stroke. The soul lays the faster hold on Christ and the 
promise, and goes out against that enemy in the name of that Lord of hosts, 
of which he was too negligent of before, and therefore, as he proves more strong, 
60 more successful ; he hath more strength because he hath less confidence 
in himself, and more in God, the prime strength of his soul. As it was with 
Christ, so it is with us ; while the devil was bruising his heel, he was bruis- 
ing his head ; and while the devil is bruising our heel, the God of peace and 
wisdom is sometimes bruising his head both in us and for us, so that the 
strugglings of sin are often as the faint groans or bitings of a beast that is 
ready to expire. It is just with a man sometimes as with a running foun- 
tain that hath mud at the bottom ; when it is stirred, the mud tinctures and 
defiles it all over ; yet some of that mud hath a vent with the streams which 
run from it, so that when it is re-settled at the bottom, it is not so much in 
quantity as it was before. God by his wisdom weakens the sin, by permit- 
ting it to stir and defile. 

4:thbj, Sometimes divine wisdom makes it an occasion to promote a 
sanctification in all parts of the soul. As the working of one ill-humour in 
the body is an occasion of cashiering not only that, but the rest, by a sound 
purge ; as a man that is a little cold doth not think of the fire, but if he 
slips with one foot into an icy puddle he hastens to the fire, whereby not 
only that part, but all the rest, receive a warmth and strength upon that 
occasion ; or, as if a person fall into the mire, his clothes are washed, and 
by that means cleansed, not only from the filth at present contracted, but 
from the former spots that^were before unregarded : God by his wisdom 
brings secret sins to a discovery, and thereby cleanseth the soul of them. 

David's fall might be ordered as an answer to his former petition : Ps. 
xix. 12, * Cleanse thou me from my secret sins ; ' and as he did earnestly 
pray after his fall, so no doubt but he endeavoured a thorough sanctifica- 
tion : Ps. li. 7, ' Purge me, wash me ; ' and that he meant not only a sanc- 
tification from that single sin, but from all root and branch, is evident by 
that complaint of the flaw in his nature, ver. 5. The dross and chaff which 
lies in the heart is hereby discovered, and an opportunity administered of 
throwing it out, and searching all the corners of the heart to discover where 
it lay. As God sometime takes occasion from one sin, to reckon with men 
in a way of justice for others, so he sometimes takes occasion from the com- 
mission of one sin, to bring out all the actions against the sinner, to make 
him, in a way of gracious wisdom, set more cordially upon the work of 

A great fall sometimes has been the occasion of a man's conversion. The 
fall of mankind occasioned a more blessed restoration, and the falls of par- 
ticular believers ofttimes occasion a more extensive sanctification. Thus the 
only wise God makes poisons in nature to become medicines in a way of 
grace and wisdom. 

5thly, Hereby the growth in grace is furthered. It is a wonder of 
divine wisdom, to subtract sometimes his grace from a person, and let him 
fall into sin, thereby to occasion the increase of habitual grace in him, and 
to augment it by those ways that seemed to depress it ; by making sins an 

Rom. XVI. 27. j god's wisdom. 48 

occasion of a more vigorous acting the contrary grace, the wisdom of God 
makes our corruptions, in their own nature destructive, to become profitable 
to us. Grace often breaks out more strongly afterwards, as the sun doth 
with its heat, after it hath been masked and interrupted with a mist ; they 
often, through the mighty working of the Spirit, make us more humble, and 
humility fits us to receive more grace from God, James iv. 5. How doth 
faith, that sunk under the waves, lift up its head again, and carry the soul 
out with a greater liveliness ! What ardours of love, what floods of repent- 
ing tears, what severity of revenge, what horrors at the remembrance of the 
sin, what tremblings at the appearance of a second temptation ! so_ that 
grace seems to be awakened to a new and more vigorous life, 2 Cor. vii. 11. 
The broken joint is many times stronger in the rupture than it was before ; 
the luxuriancy of the branches of corruption is an occasion of purging, and 
purging is with a design to make grace more fruitful : John xv. 2, ' He 
purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.' 

Thus divine wisdom doth both sharpen and brighten us by the dust of 
sin, and ripen and mellow the fruits of grace by the dung of corruption. 
Grace grows the stronger by opposition, as the fire burns hottest and 
clearest when it is most surrounded by a cold air, and our natural heat 
reassumes a new strength by the coldness of the winter. The foil under a 
diamond, though an imperfection in itself, increaseth the beauty and lustre 
of the stone. The enmity of man was a commendation of the grace of 
God. It occasioned the breaking out of the grace of God upon us, and is 
an occasion, by the wisdom and grace of God, of the increase of grace many 
times in us. 

How should the consideration of God's incomprehensible wisdom in the 
management of evil swallow us up in admiration, who brings forth such 
beauty, such eminent discoveries of himself, such excellent good to the 
creature, out of the bowels of the greatest contrarieties, making dark shadows 
serve to display and beautify to our apprehensions the divine glory ! If evil 
were not in the world, men would not know what God is. They would not 
behold the lustre of divine wisdom, as without night we could not under- 
stand the beauty of the day. 

Though God is not the author of sin, because of his holiness, yet he is 
the administrator of sin by his wisdom, and accomplisheth his own pur- 
poses by the iniquities of his enemies, and the lapses and infirmities of his 

Thus much for the second, the government of man in his lapsed state, 
and the government of sin, wherein the wisdom of God doth wonderfully 

(3.) The wisdom of God appears in the government of man in his conver- 
sion and return to him. If there be a counsel inframing the lowest crea- 
ture, and in the minutest passages of providence, there must needs be a 
higher wisdom in the government of the creature to a supernatural end, and 
framing the soul to be a monument of his glory. The wisdom of God is 
seen with more admirations, and in more varieties by the angels in the 
church than in the creation, Eph. iii. 10 ; that is, in forming a church out 
of the rubbish of the world, out of contrarieties and contradictions to him, 
which is greater than the framing a celestial and elementary world out of a 
rude chaos. The most glorious bodies in the world, even those of the sun, 
moon, and stars, have not such stamps of divine skill upon them as the soul 
of man ; nor is there so much of wisdom in the fabric and faculties of that, 
as in the reduction of a blind, wilful, rebellious soul to its own happiness 
and God's glory : Eph. i. 11, 12, 'He worketh all things according to the 

44 chaenock's works. [Rom. XVI. 27. 

counsel of his own will, that we should be for the praise of his glory.' If all 
things, then this, which is none of the least of his works, to the praise of 
the glory of his goodness in his work, and to the praise of the rule of his 
■work, his counsel, in both the act of his will and the act of his wisdom. 
The restoring of the beauty of the soul, and its fitness for its true end, 
speaks no less wisdom than the first draught of it in creation. And the 
application of redemption, and bringing forth the fruits of it, is as well an act 
of his prudence as the contrivance was of his counsel. 

Divine wisdom appears, 

[1.] In the subjects of conversion. His goodness reigns in the very dust, 
and he erects the walls and ornaments of his temple from the clay and mud 
of the world. He passes over the wise, and noble, and mighty, that may 
pretend some grounds of boasting in their own natural or acquired endow- 
ments, and pitches upon the most contemptible materials wherewith to 
build a spiritual tabernacle for himself: 1 Cor. i. 26, 27, 'The foolish and 
weak things of the world ; ' those that are naturally most unfit for it, and 
most refractory to it. Herein lies the skill of an architect, to render the 
most knotty, crooked, and inform pieces, by his art, subservient to his main 
purpose and design. Thus God hath ordered from the beginning of the 
world contrary tempers, various humours, divers nations, as stones of 
several natures, to be a building for himself, fitly framed together, and to be 
his own family, 1 Cor. iii. 9. Who will question the skill that alters a 
black jet into a clear crystal, a glow-worm into a star, a lion into a lamb, 
and a swine into a dove ? The more intricate and knotty any business is, 
the more eminent is any man's ability and prudence in untying the knots 
and bringing it to a good issue. The more desperate the disease, the more 
admirable is the physician's skill in the cure. 

He pitches upon men for his service who have natural dispositions to 
serve him in such ways as he disposeth of them after their conversion. So 
Paul was naturally a conscientious man. What he did against Christ was 
from the dictates of an erroneous conscience, soaked in the Pharisaical inter- 
pretations of the Jewish law. He had a strain of zeal to prosecute what his 
depraved reason and conscience did inform him in. God pitches upon this 
man, and works him in the fire for his service. He alters not his natural 
disposition, to make him of a constitution and temper contrary to what he 
was before, but directs it to another object, claps in another bias into the 
bowl, and makes his ill-governed dispositions move in a new way of his 
own appointment, and guided that natural heat to the service of that interest 
which he was before ambitious to extirpate. As a high mettled horse, when 
left to himself, creates both disturbance and danger, but under the conduct 
of a wise rider moves regularly, not by a change of his natural fierceness, 
but a skilful management of the beast to the rider's purpose. 

[2.] In the seasons of conversion. The prudence of man consists in the 
timing the execution of his counsels; and no less doth the wisdom of God 
consist in this. As he is a God of judgment or wisdom, he waits to intro- 
duce his grace into the soul in the fittest season. 

This attribute Paul, in the story of his own conversion, puts a particular 
mark upon, which he doth not upon any other in that catalogue he reckons 
up: 1 Tim. i. 17, ' Now, unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only 
v)ise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.' A most solemn 
doxology, wherein wisdom sits upon the throne above all the rest, with a 
special amen to the glory of it, which refers to the timing of his mercy so to 
Paul, as made most for the glory of his grace, and the encouragement of 
others from him as the pattern. God took him at a time when he was upon 

Rom. XVI. 27.] god's wisdom. 45 

the brink of hell; when he was ready to devour the new-born infant church 
at Damascus ; when he was armed with all the authority from without, and 
fired with all the zeal from within, for the prosecution of his design, then 
God seizeth upon him, and runs him in a channel for his own honour and 
his creatures' happiness. 

It is observable, which I have upon another occasion noted, how God set 
his eye upon Paul all along in his furious course, and lets him have the 
reins, without putting out his hand to bridle him, yet no motion he could 
take but the eye of God runs along with him. He suHered him to kick 
against the pricks of miracles, and the convincing discourse of Stephen at 
his martyrdom. There were many that voted for Stephen's death, as the 
witnesses that flung the stones first at him ; but they are not named, only 
Saul, who testified his approbation as well as the rest, and that by watching 
the witnesses' clothes while they were about that bloody work : Acts vii. 58° 
' The witnesses laid their clothes at a young man's feet, named Saul.' 
Again, though multitudes were consenting to his death, yet. Acts viii. 1, Saul 
only is mentioned. God's eye is upon him, yet he would not at that time 
stop his fury. He goes on further, and makes havock of the church. Acts 
viii. 3. He had surely many more accomplices, but none are named (as if 
none regarded with any design of grace) but Saul. Yet God would not 
reach out his hand to change him, but eyes him, waiting for a fitter oppor- 
tunity, which in his wisdom he did foresee. And therefore, Acts ix. 1, the 
Spirit of God adds a. yet : ' Saul yet breathing out threatenings.' It was 
not God's time yet, but it would be shortly. But when Saul was putting in 
execution his design against the church of Damascus, when the devil was at 
the top of his hopes, and Saul in the height of his fury, and the Christians 
sunk into the depth of their fears, the wisdom of God lays hold of the 
opportunity, and by Paul's conversion at this season, defeats the devil, dis- 
appoints the high priests, shields his people, discharges their fears by pull- 
ing Saul out of the devil's hands, and forming Satan's instrument to a holy 
activity against him. 

[3.] The wisdom of God appears in the manner of conversion. So great 
a change God makes, not by a destruction, but with a preservation of, and 
suitableness to, nature. As the devil tempts us, not by ofliering violence to 
our natures, but by proposing things convenient to our corrupt natures, so 
doth God solicit us to a return by proposals suited to our faculties. As he 
doth in nature convey nourishment to men by means of the fruits of the 
earth, and produceth the fruits of the earth by the influences of heaven, the 
influences of heaven do not force the earth, but excite that natural virtue 
and strength which is in it, so God produceth grace in the soul by the 
means of the word, fitted to the capacity of man as man, and proportioned 
to his rational faculties as rational. 

It would be contrary to the wisdom of God to move man like a stone, to 
invert the order and privilege of that nature which he settled in creation, 
for then God would in vain have given man understanding and will ; be- 
cause, without moving men according to those faculties, they would remain 
unprofitable and unuseful in man. God doth not reduce us to himself as 
logs, by a mere force, or as slaves forced by a cudgel to go forth to that 
place and do that work which they have no stomach to, but he doth accom- 
modate himself to those foundations he hath laid in our nature, and guides us 
in a way agreeable thereunto by an action as sweet as powerful ;* clearing 
our understandings of dark principles, whereby we may see his truth, our 
own misery, and the seat of omr happiness, and bending our wills according 
* Daillc sur Philip., part i. p. 545, 546. 

46 chakxock's wores. [Rom. XYI. 27. 

to this light, to desire and move couveniently to this end of our calling ; 
efficaciously, yet agreeably ; powerfully, yet without imposing on our natural 
faculties ; sweetly,* without violence in ordering the means, but effectually, 
without failing in accomplishing the end. And therefore the Scripture 
calleth it ' teaching,' John vi. 45, ' alluring,' Hosea ii. 14, ' calling us to 
seek the Lord,' Ps. xxvii. 8. Teaching is an act of wisdom, alluring an act 
of love, calling an act of authority ; but none of them argue a violent con- 
straint. The principle that moves the will is supernatural, but the will, as 
a natural faculty, concurs in the act or motion. 

God doth not act in this in a way of absolute power, without an infinite 
wisdom, suiting himself to the nature of the things he acts upon. He doth 
not change the physical nature, though he doth the moral. As in the 
government of the world he doth not make heavy things ascend nor light 
things descend ordinarily, but guides their motions according to their 
natural qualities, so God doth not strain the faculties beyond theii- due 
pitch. He lets the nature of the faculty remain, but changes the principle 
in it. The understanding remains understanding, and the will remains 
will ; but where there was before folly in the understanding, he puts in a 
spii-it of wisdom ; and where there was before a stoutness in the will, he 
forms it to a pliableness to his offers. He hath a key to fit every ward in 
the lock, and opens the will without injuring the nature of the will. 

He doth not change the soul by an alteration of the faculties, but by an 
alteration of something in them ; not by an inroad upon them, or by mere 
power or a blind instinct, but by proposing to the understanding something 
to be known, and informing it of the reasonableness of his precepts, and the 
innate goodness and excellency of his oilers, and by inclining the will to 
love and embrace what is proposed. And things are proposed under those 
notions which usually move our wills and affections. We are moved by 
things as they are good, pleasant, profitable ; we entertain things as thej- 
make for us ; and detest things as they are contrary to us. Nothing affects 
us but under such qualities, and God suits his encouragements to these 
natural affections which are in us. His power and wisdom go hand in hand 
together ; his power to act what his wisdom orders, and his wisdom to con- 
duct what his power executes. He brings men to him in ways suited to 
their natural dispositions. The stubborn he tears like a lion, the gentle he 
wins like a turtle, by sweetness ; he hath a hammer to break the stout, and 
a cord of love to draw the more pliable tempers. He works upon the more 
rational in a way of gospel reason, upon the more ingenuous in a way of 
kindness, and draws them by the cords of love. 

The wise men were led to Christ by a star, and means suited to the know- 
ledge and study that those eastern nations used, which was much in astro- 
nomy. He worketh upon others by miracles accommodated to every one's 
sense, and so proportions the means according to the nature of the subjects 
he works upon. 

4." The wisdom of God is apparent in his diseipHne and penal evils. 
The wisdom of human governments is seen in the matter of their laws, and 
in the penalties of their laws, and in the proportion of the punishment to 
the offence, and in the good that redounds from the punishment, either to 
the offender or to the community. 

The wisdom of God is seen in the penalty of death upon the transgression 
of his law, both in that it was the gi-eatest evil that man might fear, and so 
was a convenient means to keep him in his due bound, and also in the pro- 
portion of it to the transgression. Nothing less could be in a wise justice 
* Sanderson, part ii. p. 205. 

Eoli. XYI. 27.] god's wisdom. 47 

inflicted upon an oflfender for a crime against the highest being and the 
supreme excellency. But this hath been spoken of before in the wisdom of 
his laws. I shall only mention some few ; it would be too tedious to run 
into all. 

First, His wisdom appears in judgments, in the suiting them to the quali- 
ties of persons and nature of sins. He ' deviseth evil,' Jer. xviii. 11 ; his 
judgments are fruits of counsel. ' He also is wise, and will bring evil,' Isa. 
xxxi. 2 ; evil suitable to the person oflendiug, and evil suitable to the offence 
committed. As the husbandman doth his threshing instruments to the 
grain, he hath a rod for the cummin, a tenderer seed, and a flail for the 
harder, so hath God greater judgments for the obdurate sinner, and lighter 
for those that have something of tenderness in their wickedness : Isa. 
xxviii. 27, 29, ' Because he is wonderful in counsel, and excellent in work- 
ing ;' so some understand the place : ' With the fro ward he will shew him- 
self froward.' 

He proportions punishment to the sin, and writes the cause of the judg- 
ment in the forehead of the judgment itself. Sodom burned in lust, and 
was consumed by fire from heaven. The Jews sold Christ for thirty pence, 
and at the taking of Jerusalem, thirty of them were sold for a penny. So 
Adonibezek cut off the thumbs and great toes of others, and he is served in 
the same kind. Judges i. 7. The Babel builders designed an indissoluble 
union, and God brings upon them an unintelligible confusion. And in 
Exod. ix. 9, the ashes of the furnace where the Israelites burnt the Egyp- 
tian* bricks, sprinkled towards heaven, brought boils upon the Egyptian 
bodies, that they might feel in their own what pain they had caused in the 
Israelites' flesh, and find, by the smart of the inflamed scab, what they had 
made the Israelites endure. The waters of the river Nilus are turned into 
blood, wherein they had stifled the breath of the Israelites' infants. And 
at last the prince and the flower of their nobility are drowned in the Red 

It is part of the wisdom of justice to proportion punishment to the crime, 
and the degrees of wrath to the degrees of malice in the sin. Afiiictions also 
are wisely proportioned. God, as a wise physician, considers the nature of 
the humour and strength of the patient, and suits his medicines both to the 
one and the other, 1 Cor. x. 13. 

Secondly, In the seasons of punishments and afiiictions. He stays till sin be 
ripe, that his justice may appear more equitable, and the offender more in- 
excusable: Dan. ix. 14, he ' watches upon the evil, to bring it upon men ;' 
to bring it in the just season and order for his righteous and gracious pur- 
pose ; his righteous purpose on the enemies, and his gracious purpose on his 

Jerusalem's calamity came upon them when the city was full of people at 
the solemnity of the passover, that he might mow down his enemies at once, 
and time their destruction to such a moment wherein they had timed the 
crucifixion of his Son. He watched over the clouds of his judgments, and 
kept them from pouring down, till his people, the Christians, were provided 
for, and had departed out of the city to the chambers and retiring-places 
God had provided for them. He made not Jerusalem the shambles for his 
enemies till he had made Pella and other places the ark of his friends. As 
Pliny tells us, the providence of God holds the seas in a calm for fifteen 
days, that the halcyons, little birds that frequent the shore, may build their 
nests, and hatch up their young. The judgment upon Sodom was suspended 
for some hours till Lot was secured. 

God suffered not the church to be invaded by violent persecutions till she 

48 chahnock's works. [Rom. XVI. 27. 

was established in the faith ;* he would not expose her to so great combats 
while she was weak and feeble, hut gave her time to fortify herself, to be 
rendered more capable of bearing up under them. He stifled all the motions 
of passion the idolaters might have for their superstition till religion was in 
such a condition as rather to be increased and purified than extinguished by 
opposition. Paul was secured from Nero's chains, and the nets of his 
enemies, till he had broke off the chain of the devil from many cities of the 
Gentiles, and catched them by the net of the gospel out of the sea of the 

Thus the wisdom of God is seen in the seasons of judgments and 

Thirdly, It is apparent in the gracious issue of afflictions and penal evils. 
It is a part of wisdom to bring good out of the evil of punishment, as well as 
to bring good out of sin. The church never was so like to heaven as when it 
was most persecuted by hell ; the storms often cleansed it, and the lance 
often made it more healthful. Job's integi-ity had not been so clear, nor 
his patience so illustrious, had not the devil been permitted to afflict him. 
God, by his wisdom, outwits Satan when he by his temptations intends to 
pollute us and buffet us, God orders it to purify us ; he often brings the 
clearest light out of the thickest darkness, makes poisons to become medi- 
cines. Death itself, the greatest punishment in this life, and the entrance 
into hell in its own nature, he hath by his wise contrivance made to his 
people the gate of heaven and the passage into immortality.f Penal evils 
in a nation often end in a public advantage ; troubles and wars among a 
people are many times not destroying, but medicinal, and cure them of that 
degeneracy, luxury, and effeminateness they contracted by a long peace. 

Fourthly, This wisdom is evident in the various ends which God brings 
about by afflictions. The attainment of various ends by one and the same 
means, is the fruit of the agent's prudence. By the same affliction the wise 
God corrects sometimes for some base affection, excites some sleepy grace, 
drives out some lurking corruption, refines the soul, and ruins the lust ; 
discovers the greatness of a crime, the vanity of the creature, and the 
sufficiency in himself. 

The Jews bind Paul, and by the judge he is sent to Rome ; while his 
mouth is stopped in Judea, it is opened in one of the greatest cities of the 
world, and his enemies unwittingly contribute to the increase of the know- 
ledge of Christ by those chains in that city that triumphed over the earth, 
Acts xxviii. 31. And his afflictive bonds added courage and resolution to 
others — Philip, i. 14, 'Many waxing confident by my bonds' — which could 
not in their own nature produce such an effect, but by the order and con- 
trivance of divine wisdom. In their own nature they would rather make 
them disgust the doctrine he suffered for, and cool their zeal in the propa- 
gating of it, for fear of the same disgrace and hardship they saw him suffer. J 
But the wisdom of God changed the nature of these fetters, and conducted 
them to the glory of his name, the encouragement of others, the increase of 
the gospel, and the comfort of the apostle himself, Philip, i. 12, 13, 18. 
The sufferings of Paul at Rome confirmed the Philippians, a people at a 
distance from thence, in the doctrine they had already received at his 

Thus God makes sufferings sometimes which appear like judgments to be 
like the viper on Paul's hand. Acts xxviii. 6, a means to clear up innocence, 
and procure favour to the doctrine among those barbarians. How often hath 

* Daille sur 1 Cor. x. p. 390. t Daille sur Philip. Parta. p. 116, 117. 

t Turretine, Serm. p. 53. 

Rom. XVI. 27.] god's wisdom. 49 

he multiplied the church by death and massacres, and increased it by those 
means used to annihilate it ! 

Fifthhj, The divine wisdom is apparent in the deliverances he affords to 
other parts of the world as well as to his church. There are delicate com- 
posures, curious threads in his webs, and he works them like an artificer. 
A goodness wrought for them, curiously wrought, Ps. xxxi. 19. 

First, In making the creatures subservient in their natural order to his 
gracious ends and purposes. He orders things in such a manner as not to 
be necessitated to put forth an extraordinary power in things, which some 
part of the creation might accomplish. Miraculous productions would speak 
his power ; but the ordering the natural course of things, to occasion such 
effects they were never intended for, is one part of the glory of his wisdom. 
And that his wisdom may be seen in the course of nature, he conducts the 
notions* of creatures, and acts them in their own strength, and doth that 
by various windings and turnings of them, which he might do in an instant 
by his power in a supernatural way. Indeed, sometimes he hath made 
invasions on nature, and suspended the order of their natural law for a 
season, to shew himself the absolute Lord and Governor of nature. Yet if 
frequent alteratiojis of tlsis nature were made, they would impede the know- 
ledge of the nature of things, and be some bar to the discovery and glory of 
his wisdom, which is best seen by moving the wheels of inferior creatures 
in an exact regularity to his own ends. He might, when his little church 
in Jacob's family was like to starve in Canaan, have for their preservation 
turned the stones of the country into bread ; but he sends them down to 
Egypt to procure corn, that a way may be opened for their removal into 
that country ; the truth of his prediction in their captivity accomplished, 
and a way made after f the declaration of his great name Jehovah, both in 
the fidelity of his word and the greatness of his power in their deliverance 
from that furnace of afiiiction. He might have struck Goliah, the captain 
of the Philistines' army, with a thunderbolt from heaven when he blas- 
phemed his name and scared his people ; but he useth the natural strength 
of a stone, and the artificial motion of a sling, by the arm of David, to con- 
front the giant, and thereby to free Judea from the ravage of a potent 
enemy. He might have delivered the Jews from Babylon by as strange 
miracles as he used in their deliverance from Egypt ; he might have plagued 
their enemies, gathered his people into a body, and protected them by the 
bulwark of a cloud and a pillar of fire against the assaults of their enemies. 
But he uses the differences between the Persians and those of Babylon to 
accomplish his ends. How sometimes hath the veering about of the wind 
on a sudden been the loss of a navy when it hath been upon the point of 
victory, and driven back the destruction upon those which intended it for 
others ! and the accidental stumbling, or the natural fierceness, of a horse, 
flung down a general in the midst of a battle, where he hath lost his life by 
the throng, and his death hath brought a defeat to his army, and deliverance 
to the other party that were upon the brink of ruin ! Thus doth the wisdom 
of God link things together according to natural order, to work out his in- 
tended preservation of a people. 

Secondly, In the season of deliverance. The timing of affairs is a part of 
the wisdom of man, and an eminent part of the wisdom of God. It is in ' due 
season' he sends the ' former and the latter rain,' when the earth is in the> 
greatest indigence, and when his influences may most contribute to the" 
bringing forth and ripening the fruit. The dumb creatures have ' their 
meat from him in due season,' Ps. civ. 27. And in his due season have^ 
* Qu. ' motions ' ?— Ed. t Qu. ' for ' ?— Ed. 


60 chaknock's works. [Rom. XVI. 27. 

his darling people their deliverance. When Paul was upon his journey to 
Damxaseus with a persecuting commission, he is struck down, for the security 
of tJae church in that city. The nature of the lion is changed in due season 
for the preservation of the lambs from worrying. The Israelites are 
miraculously rescued from Egypt, when their wits were at a loss, when their 
danger to human understanding was unavoidable ; when earth and sea 
refused .protection, then the wisdom and power of heaven stepped in to effect 
that which was past the skill of the conductors of that multitude. And 
when th« lives of the Jews lay at the stake, and their necks were upon the 
block at the mercy of their enemies' swords by an order from Shushan, not 
only a reprieve, but a trisimph arrives to the Jews, by the wisdom of God 
guiding the affair, whereby, of persons designed to execution, they are made 
conquerors, and have opportunity to exercise their revenge instead of their 
patience, proving triumphers where they expected to be sufferers, Esther 
viii. and ix. How strangely doth God by secret ways bow the hearts of 
men, and the nature of things, to the execution of that which he designs, 
notwithstanding all the resistance of that which would traverse the security 
of his people ! How often doth he trap the wicked in the work of their own 
hands, make their confidence to become their ruin, and ensnare them in 
those nets they wrought and laid for others ! Ps. ix. 16, ' The wicked is 
.snared in the works of his own hands.' ' He scatters the proud in the 
iimagination of their hearts,' Luke i. 51, in the height of their hopes, when 
their designs have been laid so ,deep in the foundation, and knit, and 
•cemented so diose in their superstructure, that no human power or wisdom 
.could raze them dow^a. He hath then disappointed their projects, and befooled 
their -craft. How often hath he kept back the tire when it hath been ready 
to devour, broke the arrows when they have been prepared in the bow, 
turned the spear into the bowels of the bearers, and wounded them at the 
very instant they were ready to wound others. 

Thirdl}', In suiting instruments to his purpose. He either finds them fit, or 
makes them on a sudden fit for his gracious .ends. If he hath a tabernacle 
to build, he will fit a Bezaleel and Aholiab with the spirit of wisdom and 
understanding in all cunning workmanship, Esod. xxxi. 3, 6. If he finds 
them crooked pieces, he can, like a wise architect, make them straight beams 
for the rearing his house, and for the honoiu* of his name. 

He sometimes picks out men according to their natural tempers, and employs 
them in his work. Jehu, a man of a furious temper, and ambitious spirit, is 
called cut for the destruction of Ahab's house. Moses, a man furnished with all 
Egyptian wisdom, fitted by a generous education, prepared also by the 
affliction he met with in his flight, and one who had had the benefit of con- 
versation with Jethro, a man of more than ordinary wisdom and goodness, 
as appears by his prudent and religious counsel, — this man is called out to 
be the head and captain of an oppressed people, and to rescue them from 
their bondage, and settle the first national chnrch in the world. So Elijah, 
a high-spirited man, of a hot and angry temper, one that slighted the frowns 
and undervalued the favour of princes, is set up to stem the torrent of the 
Israelitish idolatry. So Luther, a man of the same temper, is drawn out by 
the same wisdom to encounter the corruptions in the church, against such 
opposition, which a milder temper would have sunk under. The earth, in 
Rev. xii. 16, is made an instrument to help the woman. When the grandees 
of that age transferred the imperial power upon Constantine, who became 
afterwards a protecting and nursing father to the church, an end which 
many of his favourers never designed, nor ever dreamed of; but God by his 
infinite wisdom made these several desio;ns, like several arrows shot at 

Rom. XYI. 27. j god's wisdom. 51 

rovers, meet in one mark to whicli he directed them, viz., in bringing forth 
an instrument to render peace to the world, and security and increase to 
his church. 

(3.) The wisdom of God doth wonderfully appear in redemption. His 
wisdom in creation ravisheth the eye and understanding ; his wisdom in 
government doth no less affect a curious observer of the links and concate- 
nation of the means, but his wisdom in redemption mounts the mind to a 
greater astonishment. The works of creation are the footsteps of his 
wisdom ; the work of redemption is the face of his wisdom, A man is 
better known by the features of his face than by the prints of his feet. ' We 
with open face,' or a revealed face, * beholding the glory of the Lord,' 2 Cor. 
iii. 18. Face there refers to God, not to us ; the glory of God's wisdom is 
now open, and no longer covered and veiled by the shadows of the law. 
As we behold the light glorious, as scattered in the air before the appearance 
of the sun, but more gloriously in the face of the sun, when it begins its 
race in our horizon, — all the wisdom of God in creation and government, in 
his variety of laws, was like the light, the three first days of the creation, 
dispersed about the world, but the fourth day it was more glorious, when all 
gathered into the body of the sun, Gen. i. 4, 16, — so the light of divine 
wisdom and glory was scattered about the world, and so more obscure, till 
the fourth divine day of the world, about the four thousandth year, it was 
gathered into one body, the Sun of righteousness, and so shone out more 
gloriously to men and angels. All things are weaker the thinner they are 
extended, but stronger the more they are united and compacted in one body 
and appearance. In Christ, in the dispensation by him, as well as in his 
person, were hid all the treasm-es of wisdom and knowledge, Col. ii. 3. 
Some doles of wisdom were given out in creation, but the treasures of it 
opened in redemption, the highest degrees of it that ever God did exert in 
the world. Christ is therefore called the wisdom of God, as well as the 
power of God, 1 Cor. i. 24, and the gospel is called the 'nisdom of God. 
Christ is the wisdom of God principally, and the gospel instrumeutally, as 
it is the power of God instrumeutally to subdue the heart to himself. This 
is wrapped up in the appointing Christ as redeemer, and opened to us in 
the revelation of it by the gospel. 

[1.] It is a hidden wisdom. In this regard God is said in the text to 
be ' only wise,' and it is said to be a ' hidden wisdom,' 1 Tim. i. 17, and 
' wisdom in a mystery,' 1 Cor, ii, 7, incomprehensible to the ordinary capa- 
city of an angel, more than the abstruse qualities of the creatures are to the 
understanding of man. No wisdom of men or angels is able to search all 
the veins of this mine, to tell all the threads of this web, or to understand 
the lustre of it ; they are as far from an ability fully to comprehend it as 
they were at first to contrive it. That wisdom that invented it can only 
comprehend it. In the uncreated understanding only there is a clearness 
of light without any shadow of darkness. We come as short of full appre- 
hensions of it as a child doth of the counsel of the wisest prince. It 
is so bidden from us, that without revelation we could not have the least 
imagination of it, and though it be revealed to us, yet without the help of an 
infiniteness of understanding we cannot fully fathom it ; it is such a tractate of 
divine wisdom, that the angels never before had seen the edition of it till it 
was published to the world : Eph. iii, 10, ' To the intent that now, unto 
principalities and powers in heavenly places, might be kno^Ti by the church 
the manifold wisdom of God,' Noiv made known to them, not before, and 
now made known to them ' in heavenly places.' They had not the knowledge 
of all heavenly mysteries, though they had the possession of heavenly 

52 chaenock's wobks. [Rom. XVI. 27. 

glory. They knew the prophecies of it in the word, but attained not a clear 
interpretation of those prophecies till the things that were prophesied of 
came upon the stage. 

[2.] Manifold wisdom ; so it is called. As manifold as mysterious. 
Variety in the mystery, and mystery in every part of the variety. It was 
not one single act, but a variety of counsels met in it ; a conjunction of ex- 
cellent ends and excellent means. The glory of God, the salvation of man, 
the defeat of the apostate angels, the discovery of the blessed Trinity in their 
nature, operations, their combined and distinct acts and expressions of good- 
ness. The means are the conjunction of two natures infinitely distant from 
one another ; the union of eternity and time, of mortality and immortality ; 
death is made the way to life, and shame the path to glory. The weakness 
of the cross is the reparation of man, and the creature is made wise by the 
* foolishness of preaching ; ' fallen man grows rich by the poverty of the 
Redeemer, and man is filled by the emptiness of God ; the heir of hell made 
a son of God, by God's taking upon him the ' form of a servant ; ' the son of 
man advanced to the highest degree of honour, by the Son of God becoming 
of ' no reputation.' 

It is called, Eph. i. 8, ' abundance of wisdom and prudence :' wisdom, 
in the eternal counsel, contriving a way; prudence, in the temporary revela- 
tion, ordering all affairs and occurrences in the world for the attaining the 
end of his counsel. Wisdom refers to the mystery, prudence to the mani- 
festation of it in fit ways and convenient seasons ; wisdom, to the contriv- 
ance and order ; prudence, to the execution and accomplishment. In all 
things God acted as became him, as a wise and just governor of the world, 
Heb. ii. 10. Whether the wisdom of God might not have found out some 
other way, or whether he were, in regard of the necessity and naturalness of 
his justice, limited to this, is not the question ; but that it is the best and 
wisest way for the manifestation of his glory, is out of question. 

This wisdom will appear in the different interests reconciled by it. In 
the subject, the second person in the Trinity, wherein they were reconciled ; 
in the two natures wherein he accomplished it, whereby God is made known 
to man in his glory, sin eternally condemned, and the repenting and believing 
sinner eternally rescued ; the honour and righteousness of the law vindicated 
both in the precept and penalty ; the devil's empire overthrown by the same 
nature he had overturned, and the subtilty of hell defeated by that nature he 
had spoiled ; the creature engaged in the very act to the highest obedience • 
and humility, that as God appears as a God upon his throne, the creature 
might appear in the lowest posture of a creature, in the depths of resignation 
and dependence ; the publication of this made in the gospel, by ways con- 
gruous to the wisdom which appeared in the execution of his counsel, and 
the conditions of enjoying the fruit of it, most wise and reasonable. 

First, The greatest different interests are reconciled, justice in punishing 
and mercy in pardoning. For man had broken the law, and plunged him- 
self into a gulf of misery. The sword of vengeance was unsheathed by jus- 
tice, for the punishment of the criminal ; the bowels of compassion were 
stirred by mercy, for the rescue of the miserable. Justice severely beholds 
the sin, and mercy compassionately reflects upon the misery. Two different 
claims are entered by those concerned attributes ; justice votes for destruc- 
tion, and mercy votes for salvation. Justice would draw the sword, and 
drench it in the blood of the offender ; mercy would draw the sword, and 
turn it from the breast of the sinner. Justice would edge it, and mercy 
would blunt it. The arguments are strong on both sides. 

First, Justice pleads. I arraign before the tribunal a rebel who was the 

KoM. XYI. 27.] god's wisdom. 58 

glorious work of thy hands, the centre of thy rich goodness, and a counter- 
part of thy own image. He is indeed miserable, whereby to excite thy com- 
passion ; but he is not miserable, without being criminal. Thou didst create 
him in a state, and with ability to be otherwise. The riches of thy bounty 
aggravate the blackness of his crime. He is a rebel, not by necessity, but 
will. "VVTiat constraint was there upon him to hsten to the counsels of the 
enemy of God ? WTiat force could there be upon him, since it is without 
the compass of any creature to work upon or constrain the will ? Nothing 
of ignorance can excuse him ; the law was not ambiguously expressed, but 
in plain words ; both as to precept and penalty, it was writ in his nature in 
legible characters. Had he received any disgust from thee after his creation, 
it would not excuse his apostasy, since, as a sovereign, thou wert not obliged 
to thy creature. Thou hadst provided all things richly for him ; he was 
crowned with glory and honour. Thy infinite power had bestowed upon him 
an habitation richly furnished, and varieties of servants to attend him. 
Whatever he viewed without, and whatever he viewed within himself, were 
several marks of thy divine bounty, to engage him to obedience. Had there 
been some reason of any disgust, it could not have balanced that kindness 
which had so much reason to oblige him. However, he had received no 
courtesy from the fallen angel, to oblige him to turn into his camp. Was 
it not enough that one of thy creatures would have stripped thee of the glory 
of heaven, but this also must deprive thee of thy glory upon earth, which 
was due from him to thee as his creator ? Can he charge the difficulty of 
the command ? No ; it was rather below than above his strength. He 
might rather complain that it was no higher, whereby his obedience and 
gratitude might have a larger scope, and a more spacious field to move in, 
than a precept so light, so easy, as to abstain from one fruit in the garden. 
What excuse can he have, that would prefer the liquorishness of his sense 
before the dictates of his reason, and the obligations of his creation ? The 
law thou didst set him was righteous and reasonable, and shall righteous- 
ness and reason be rejected by the supreme and infaUible reason, because 
the rebellious creature hath trampled upon it ? What ! must God abrogate 
his holy law, because the creature hath slighted it ? What reflection will 
this be upon the wisdom that enacted it, and upon the equity of the command 
and sanction of it ! Either man must sufier, or the holy law be expunged, 
and for ever out of date. And is it not better man should eternally smart 
under his crime, than any dishonourable reflections of unrighteousness be 
cast upon the law, and of folly and want of foresight upon the lawgiver ? 
Not to punish would be to approve the devil's lie, and justify the creature's 
revolt ; it would be a condemnation of thy own law as unrighteous, and a 
sentencing thy own wisdom as imprudent. Better man should for ever bear 
the punishment of his ofience, than God bear the dishonour of his attri- 
butes ; better man should be miserable, than God should be unrighteous, 
unwise, false, and tamely bear the denial of his sovereignty. But what ad- 
vantage would it be to gratify mercy by pardoning the malefactor ? Besides 
the irreparable dishonour to the law, the falsifying thy veracity in not exe- 
cuting the denounced threatening, he would receive encouragement by such 
a grace to spurn more at thy sovereignty, and oppose thy holiness by run- 
ning on in a course of sin with hopes of impunity. If the creature be 
restored, it cannot be expected that he that hath fared so well, after the 
breach of it, should be very careful of a future observance ; his easy re-ad- 
mission would abet him in the repetition of his ofi"ence, and thou shalt soon 
find him cast ofi" all moral dependence on thee. Shall he be restored with- 
out any condition or covenant ? He is a creature not to be governed with- 

64 chaenock's woeks. [Rom. XYI. 27. 

out a law, and a law is not to be enacted without a penalty. What future 
regard will he have to thy precept, or what fear will he have of thy threat- 
ening, if his crime be so lightly passed over ? Is it the stability of thy 
word ? What reason will he have to give credit to that which he hath found 
already disregarded by thyself? Thy truth in future threatenings will be 
of no force with him who hath experienced thy laying it aside in the former. 
It is necessary therefore that the rebellious creature should be punished, for 
the preservation of the honour of the law and the honour of the lawgiver, 
with all those perfections that are united in the composure of it. 

Secondly, Mercy doth not want a plea. It is true, indeed, i^he sin of man 
wants not its aggravations : he hath slighted thy goodness, and accepted thy 
enemy as his counsellor ; but it was not a pure act of his own, as the devil's 
revolt was. He had a tempter, and the devil had none ; he had, I acknow- 
ledge, an understanding to know thy will, and a power to obey it, yet it was 
mutable, and had a capacity to fall. It was no difficult task that was set him, 
nor a hard yoke that was laid upon [him] ; yet he had a brutish part, as well 
as a rational, and sense as well as soul, whereas the fallen angel was a pure 
intellectual spirit. Did God create the world to suffer an eternal dishonour, 
in letting himself be outwitted by Satan, and his work wrested out of his 
hands ? Shall the work of eternal counsel presently sink into irreparable 
destruction, and the honour of an Almighty and wise work be lost in the 
ruin of the creature ? This would seem contrary to the nature of thy good- 
ness, to make man only to render him miserable ; to design him in his crea- 
tion for the service of the devil, and not for the service of his Creator. What 
else could be the issue, if the chief work of thy hand, defaced presently after 
the erecting, should for ever remain in this marred condition ; what can be 
expected upon the continuance of his misery, but a perpetual hatred and 
enmity of thy creature ? Did God in creation design his being hated, or his 
being loved by his creature ? Shall God make a holy law, and have no obe- 
dience to that law from that creature whom it was made to govern ? Shall 
the curious workmanship of God, and the excellent engravings of the law of 
nature in his heart, be so soon defaced, and remain in that blotted condition 
for ever ? This fall thou couldst not but in the treasures of thy infinite 
knowledge foresee ; why hadst thou goodness then to create him in an in- 
tegrity, if thou wouldst not have mercy to pity him in misery ? Shall thy 
enemy for ever trample upon the honour of thy work, and triumph over the 
glory of God, and applaud himself in the success of his subtilty ? Shall 
thy creature only passively glorify thee as an avenger, and not actively as a 
compassionater ? Am not I a perfection of thy nature as well as justice ? 
Shall justice engross all, and I never come into view ? It is resolved 
already, that the fallen angels shall be no subjects for me to exercise myself 
upon, and I have now less reason than before to plead for them. They fell 
with a full consent of will, without any motion from another ; and, not content 
with their own apostasy, they envy thee, and thy glory upon earth, as well 
as in heaven, and have drawn into their party the best part of the creation 
below. Shall Satan plunge the whole creation in the same irreparable ruin 
with himself? If the creature be restored, will he contract a boldness in 
sin by impunity ? Hast thou not a grace to render him ingenuous in obe- 
dience, as well as a compassion to recover him from misery ? What will 
hinder, but that such a grace, which hath established the standing angels, 
may establish this recovered creature ? If I am utterly excluded from exer- 
cising myself on men, as I have been from devils, a whole species is lost ; 
nay, I can never expect to appear upon the stage. If thou wilt quite ruin 
him by justice, and create another world, and another man, if he stand, thy 

Rom. XVI. 27.] god's wisdom. SS 

bounty will be eminent ; yet there is no room for mercy to act upon unless, 
by the commission of sin, he exposeth himself to misery ; and if sin enter 
into another world, I have little hopes to be heard then if I am rejected now. 
Worlds will be perpetually created by goodness, wisdom, and power ; sin 
entering into these worlds, will be perpetually punished by justice ; and 
mercy, which is a perfection of thy nature, will for ever be commanded 
silence, and lie wrapt up in an eternal darkness. Take occasion now, there- 
fore, to expose me to the knowledge of thy creature, since, without misery, 
mercy can never set foot into the world. 

Mercy pleads, if man be ruined, the creation is in vain ; justice pleads, if 
man be not sentenced, the law is in vain ; truth backs justice, and grace 
abets mercy. What shall be done in this seeming contradiction ? Mercy 
is not manifested, if man be not pardoned ; justice will complain, if man be 
not punished. 

Thirdly, An expedient is found out by the wisdom of God to answer these 
demands, and adjust the differences between them. The wisdom of God 
answers, I will satisfy your pleas. The pleas of justice shall be satisfied 
in punishing, and the pleas of mercy shall be received in pardoning. 
Justice shall not complain for want of punishment, nor mercy for want of 
compassion. I will have an infinite sacrifice to content justice, and the 
virtue and fruit of that sacrifice shall delight mercy. Here shall justice have 
punishment to accept, and mercy shall have pardon to bestow. The rights 
of Iboth are preserved, and the demands of both amicably accorded in punish- 
ment and pardon, by transferring the punishment of our crimes upon a 
surety, exacting a recompence from his blood by justice, and conferring life 
and salvation upon us by mercy, without the expense of one drop of our 
own. Thus is justice satisfied in its severities, and mercy in its indulgences. 
The riches of grace are twisted with the terrors of wrath. The bowels of 
mercy are wound about the flaming sword of justice, and the sword of justice 
protects and secures the bowels of mercy. Thus is God righteous without 
being cruel, and merciful without being unjust ; his righteousness inviolable, 
and the world recoverable. Thus is a resplendent mercy brought forth in 
the midst of all the curses, confusions, and wrath threatened to the offender. 

Thus is the admirable temperament found out by the wisdom of God, his 
justice is honoured in the sufferings of man's surety, and his mercy is 
honoured in the application of the propitiation to the offender. Eom. 
iii. 24, 25, * Being justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that 
is in Jesus Christ ; whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through 
faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that 
are past, through the forbearance of God.' Had we in our persons been 
sacrifices to justice, mercy had for ever been unknown ; had we been solely 
fostered by mercy, justice had for ever been secluded ; had we, being guilty, 
been absolved, mercy might have rejoiced, and justice might have com- 
plained ; had we been solely punished, justice would have triumphed, and 
mercy grieved. But by this medium of redemption, neither hath ground of 
complaint. Justice hath nothing to charge when the punishment is inflicted, 
mercy hath whereof to boast when the surety is accepted. The debt of the 
sinner is transferred upon the surety, that the merit of the surety may be 
conferred upon the sinner ; so that God now deals with our sins in a way 
of consuming justice, and with our persons in a way of relieving mercy. It 
is highly better and more glorious than if the claim of one had been granted, 
with the exclusion of the demand of the other. It had then been either an 
unrighteous mercy or a merciless justice, it is now a righteous mercy and a 
merciful justice. 

^ chaknock's wobks. [Rom. XVI. 27. 

Secondly, The wisdom of God appears in the subject or person wherein 
these were accorded, the second person in the blessed Trinity. There was a 
congruity in the Son's undertaking and effecting it rather than any other 
person, according to the order of the persons, and the several functions of 
the persons, as represented in Scripture. The Father, after creation, is the 
lawgiver, and presents man with the image of his own holiness, and the way 
to his creatures' happiness ; but after the fall, man was too impotent to 
perform the law, and too polluted to enjoy a felicity. Redemption was then 
necessary ; not that it was necessai-y for God to redeem man, but it was 
necessary for man's happiness that he should be recovered. To this the 
second person is appointed, that by communion with him, man might derive 
a happiness, and be brought again to God. But since man was blind in his 
understanding, and an enemy in his will to God, there must be the exert- 
ing of a virtue to enhghten his mind, and bend his will to understand, and 
accept of this redemption. And this work is assigned to the third person, 
the Holy Ghost. 

First, It was not congi'uous that the Father should assume human nature, 
and suffer in it for the redemption of man. He was first in order; he was 
the lawgiver, and therefore to be the judge. As lawgiver, it was not con- 
venient he should stand in stead of the law-breaker ; and as a judge, it was 
as little convenient he should be reputed a malefactor. That he who had 
made a law against sin, denounced a penalty upon the commission of sin, 
and whose part it was actually to punish the sinner, should become sin for 
the wilful transgressor of this law, he being the rector, how could he be 
an advocate and intercessor to himself? How could he be the judge and 
the sacrifice? A judge, and yet a mediator to himself? If he had been the 
sacrifice, there must be some person to examine the validity of it, and pro- 
nounce the sentence of acceptance. Was it agreeable that the Son should 
sit upon a throne of judgment, and the Father stand at the bar and be 
responsible to the Son ; that the Son should be in the place of a governor, 
and the Father in the place of the criminal; that the Father should be 
bruised by the Son, as the Son was by the Father, Isa. liii. 10; that the 
Son should awaken a sword against the Father, as the Father did against 
the Son, Zech. xiii. 7 ; that the Father should be sent by the Son, as the 
Son was by the Father? Mai. ii. 1. The order of the persons in the blessed 
Trinity had been inverted and disturbed. Had the Father been sent, he had 
not been first in order ; the sender is before the person sent. As the 
Father begets, and the Son is begotten, John i. 14, so the Father sends, and 
the Son is sent. He whose order is to send cannot properly send himself. 

Secondly, Nor was it congruous that the Spirit should be sent upon this 
affair. If the Holy Ghost had been sent to redeem us, and the Son to apply 
that redemption to us, the order of the persons had also been inverted : the 
Spirit then, who was third in order, had been second in operation. The 
Son would then have received of the Spirit, as the Spirit doth now of Christ, 
and shews unto us, John xvi. 14. As the Spirit proceeded from the Father 
and the Son, so the proper function and operation of it was in order after 
the operations of the Father and the Son. Had the Spirit been sent to 
redeem us, and the Son sent by the Father and the Spirit to apply that 
redemption to us, the Son in his acts had proceeded from [the Father and 
the Spirit ; the Spirit, as sender, had been in order before the Son : whereas 
the Spirit is called * the Spirit of Christ,' as sent by Christ from the Father, 
Gal. iv. 6, John xv. 26 ; but as the order of the works, so the order of the 
persons is preserved in their several operations. Creation, and a law to 
govern the creature, precedes redemption. Nothing, or that which hath no 

EoM. XYI. 27.J god's wisdom. 57 

being, is not capable of a redeemed being. Redemption supposeth the 
existence and the misery of a person redeemed. As creation precedes 
redemption, so redemption precedes the application of it. As redemption 
supposeth the being of the creature, so application of redemption supposeth 
the efficacy of redemption. According to the order of these works is the 
order of the operations of the three persons. Creation belongs to the Father, 
the first person; redemption, the second work, is the function of the Son, 
the second person ; application, the third work, is the office of the Holy 
Ghost, the third person.* The Father orders it, the Son acts it, the Holy 
Ghost applies it. He purifies our souls to understand, believe, and love 
these mysteries. He forms Christ in the womb of the soul, as he did the 
body of Christ in the womb of the Virgin. As the Spirit of God moved 
upon the waters, to garnish and adorn the world, after the matter of it was 
formed. Gen. i. 2, so he moves upon the heart, to supple it to a compliance 
with Christ, and draws the lineaments of the new creation in the soul, after 
the foundation is laid. 

The Son pays the price that was due from us to God, and the Spirit is 
the earnest of the promises of life and glory purchased by the merit of that 
death. It is to be observed that the Father, under the dispensation of the 
law, proposed the commands, with the promises and threatenings, to the 
understandings of men ; and Christ, under the dispensation of grace, when 
he was upon the earth, proposeth the gospel as the means of salvation, 
exhorts to faith as the condition of salvation ; but it was neither the function 
of the one or the other to display such an efficacy in the understanding and 
will, to make men beheve and obey, and therefore there were such few con- 
versions in the time of Christ by his miracles. But this work was reserved 
for the fuller and brighter appearance of the Spirit, whose office it was to 
convince the world of the necessity of a Redeemer, because of their lost 
condition ; of the person of the Redeemer, the Son of God ; of the sufiiciency 
and efficacy of redemption, because of his righteousness and acceptation by 
the Father. The wisdom of God is seen in preparing and presenting the 
objects, and then in making impression of them upon the subjects he intends. 
And thus is the order of the three persons preserved. 

Thirdly, The second person had the greatest congruity to this work. He 
by whom God created the world was most conveniently employed in restoring 
the defaced world : who more fit to recover it from its lapsed state than he 
that had erected it in its primitive state ? Heb. i. 2. He was the light of 
men in creation, John i. 4, and therefore it was most reasonable he should be 
the light of men in redemption. Who fitter to reform the divine image than 
he that first formed it ? Who fitter to speak for us to God, than he who was 
the Word ? John i. 1. W^ho could better intercede with the Father than he 
who was the only begotten and beloved Son ? Who so fit to redeem the 
forfeited inheritance as the heir of all things ? Who fitter and better to 
prevail for us to have the right of children than he that possessed it by 
nature ? We fell from being the sons of God, and who fitter to introduce us 
into an adopted state, than the Son of God ? Herein was an expression of 
the richer grace, because the first sin was immediately against the wisdom 
of God, by an ambitious aflectation of a wisdom equal to God, that that 
person, who was the wisdom of God, should be made a sacrifice for the ex- 
piation of the sin against wisdom. 

Thirdly, The wisdom of God is seen in the two natures of Christ, whereby 
this redemption was accomplished. The union of the two natures was the 
foundation of the union of God and the fallen creature. 
* Amyraut, Moral, torn. v. p. 478-480. 

58 CnATvNOCK's WORKS. [RoM. XVI. 27. 

First, The union itself is admirable : the word is made iBesh, John i. 14. 
One equal with God, in the form of a servant, Phil. ii. 7. When the apostle 
speaks of ' God manifested in the flesh,' he speaks ' the wisdom of God in a 
mystery,' 1 Tim. iii. 16. That which is incomprehensible to the angels, 
■which they never imagined before it was revealed, which perhaps they never 
knew till they beheld it. I am sure, under the law the figures of the che- 
rubims were placed in the sanctuary with their faces looking towards the 
propitiatory, in a perj^etual posture of contemplation and admiration, Exod. 
xxxvii. 9, to which the apostle alludes, 1 Pet. i. 12. 

Mysterious is the wisdom of God to unite finite and infinite, almightiness 
and weakness, immortality and mortality, immutability with a thing subject 
to change ; to have a nature from eternity, and yet a nature subject to the 
revolutions of time ; a nature to make a law, and a nature to be subjected to 
the law ; to be God blessed for ever in the bosom of his Father, afad an 
infant exposed to calamities from the womb of his mother : terms seeming 
most distant from union, most incapable of conjunction, to shake hands 
together, to be most intimately conjoined ; gloiy and vileness, fulness and 
emptiness, heaven and earth ; the creature with the Creator ; he that made 
all things, in one person with a nature that is made ; Immanuel, God and 
man in one ; that which is most spiritual to partake of that which is carnal 
flesh and blood, Heb. ii. 14 ; one with the Father in his Godhead, one with 
ns in his manhood ; the Godhead to be in him in the fullest perfection, and 
the manhood in the gi-eatest purity ; the creature one with the Creator, and 
the Creator one with the creature. Thus is the incomprehensible wisdom of 
God declared in the Word being made flesh. 

Secondly, In the manner of this union. A union of two natures, yet no 
natural union. It transcends all the unions visible among creatures ;* it is 
not like the union of stones in a building, or of two pieces of timber fastened 
together, which touch one another only in their superficies and outside, 
without any intimacy with one another. By such a kind of union, God would 
not be man : the Word could not so be made flesh ; nor is it union of parts 
to the whole, as the members and the body ; the members are parts, the 
body is the whole ; for the whole results from the parts, and depends upon 
the parts ; but Christ being God, is independent upon anything. The parts 
are in order of nature before the whole, but nothing can be in order of nature 
before God. Nor is it as the union of two liquors, as when wine and water 
are mixed together, for they are so incorporated, as not to be distinguished 
from one another ; no man can tell which particle is wine, and which is water. 
But the properties of the divine nature are distinguishable from the properties 
of the human. Nor is it as the union of the soul and body, so as that the Deity 
is the form of the humanity, as the soul is the form of the body ; for as 
the soul is but a part of the man, so the divinity would be then but a part 
of the humanity ; and as a form, or the soul, is in a state of imperfection 
without that which it is to inform ; so the divinity of Christ would have been 
imperfect till it had assumed the humanity ; and so the perfection of an 
eternal Deity would have depended on a creature of time. 

This union of two natures in Christ is incomprehensible ; and it is a mys' 
tery we cannot arrive to the top of, how the divine nature, which is the same 
with that of the Father and the Holy Ghost, should be united to the human 
nature, without its being said that the Father and the Holy Ghost were 
united to the flesh ; but the Scripture doth not encourage any such notion : 
it speaks only of the Word, the person of the Word being made flesh ; and 
in his being made flesh, distinguisheth him from the Father, as * the only 
* Savana, Triump. Crucis, lib, iii. cap. vii. p. 211. 

Rom. XVI. 27.] god's wisdom. 59 

begotten of the Father,' John i. 14. The person of the Son was the term 
of this union. 

1st, This union doth not confound the properties of the Deity, and those 
of the humanity. They remain distinct and entire in each other. The 
Deity is not changed into flesh, nor the flesh transformed into God. They 
are distinct and yet united ; they are conjoined, and yet unmixed ; the dues 
of either nature are preserved. It is impossible that the majesty of the 
divinity can receive an alteration. It is as impossible that the meanness of 
the humanity can receive the impressions of the Deity, so as to be changed 
into it ; and a creature be metamorphosed into the Creator, and temporary 
flesh become eternal, and finite mount up into infinity. As the soul and 
body are united, and make one person, yet the soul is not changed into the 
perfections of the body, nor the body into the perfections of the soul. There 
is a change made in the humanity by being advanced to a more excellent 
union, but not in the Deity ; as a change is made in the air, when it is 
enhghtened by the sun, not in the sun, which communicates that brightness 
to the air. Athanasias makes the burning bush to be a type of Chi-ist's 
incarnation, Exod. iii. 2, the fire signifying the divine nature, and the 
bush the human. The bush is a branch springing up from the earth, and 
the fire descends from heaven ; as the bush was united to the fire, yet was 
not hurt by the flame, nor converted into fire, there remained a dili'erence 
between the bush and the fire, yet the properties of the fire shined in the 
bush, so that the whole bush seemed to be on fire. So in the incarnation 
of Christ, the human nature is not swallowed up by the divine, nor changed 
into it, nor confounded with it ; but so united, that the properties of both 
remain firm, two are so become one that they remain two still. One person 
in two natures, containing the glorious perfections of the divine, and the 
weaknesses of the human. The fulness of the Deity dwells bodily in Christ, 
Col. ii. 9. 

2dbj, The divine nature is united to every part of the humanity, the 
whole divinity to the whole humanity ; so that no part but may be said 
to be the member of God, as well as the blood is said to be the blood of 
God, Acts XX. 28. By the same reason it may be said, the hand of God, 
the eye of God, the arm of God. As God is infinitely present everywhere, 
so as to be excluded from no place, so is the Deity hypostatically every- 
where in the humanity, not excluded from; any part of it, as the light of the 
sun in every part of the air, as a sparkling splendour in every part of the 
diamond. Therefore it is concluded by all that acknowledge the deity of 
Christ, that when his soul was separated from the body, the deity, re- 
mained united both to soul and body, as light doth in every part of a broken 

3dl,j, Therefore perpetually united : Col. ii. 9, The * fulness of the 
Godhead dwells in him bodily.' It dwells in him, not lodges in him as a 
traveller in an inn, it resides in him as a fixed habitation. As God describes 
the perpetuity of his presence in the ark by his habitation or dwelling in it, 
Exod. xxix. 45, so doth the apostle the inseparable duration of the Deity in 
the humanity, and the indissoluble union of the humanity with the Deity. 
It was united on earth, it remains united in heaven. It was not an image or 
an apparition, as the tongues wherein the Spirit came upon the apostle were a 
temporary representation, not a thing united perpetually to the person of 
the Holy Ghost. 

Atltbj, It was a personal union. It was not an union of persons, though 
it was a personal union. So Davenant expounds, Col. ii. 9, Christ did 
not take the person of man, but the nature of man, into subsistence with 

60 chabnock's works. [Rom. XVI. 27. 

himself. The body and soul of Christ were not united in themselves, had 
no subsistence in themselves, till they were united to the person of the Son 
of God. If the person of a man were united to him, the human nature would 
have been the nature of the person so united to him, and not the nature of 
the Son of God : Heb. ii. 14, 16, ' Forasmuch then as the children are par- 
takers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same, 
that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, 
the devil. For verily he took not on him the nature of angels, but he took on 
him the seed of Abraham.' He took flesh and blood to be his own nature, 
perpetually to subsist in the person of the Aoyog, which must be by a per- 
sonal union, or no way ; the deity united to the humanity, and both 
natures to be one person. This is the mysterious and manifold wisdom of 

Thirdly, The end of this union. 

1st, He was hereby fitted to be mediator. He hath something like to 
man, and something like to God. If he were in all things only Hke to man, 
he would be at a distance from God. If he were in all things only like to 
God, he would be at a distance from man. He is a true mediator between 
mortal sinners and the immortal righteous one. He was near to us by the 
infirmities of our nature, and near to God by the perfections of the divine ; 
as near to God in his nature, as to us in ours ; as near to us in our nature 
as he is to God in the divine. Nothing that belongs to the Deity, but he 
possesses ; nothing that belongs to the human nature, but he is clothed with. 

He had both the nature which had offended, and that nature which was 
oS'ended ; a nature to please God, and] a nature to pleasure us ; a nature 
whereby he experimentally knew the excellency of God, which was injured, 
and understood the glory due to him, and consequently the greatness of the 
offence, which was to be measured by the dignity of his person, and a 
nature whereby he might be sensible of the miseries contracted by, and 
endure the calamities due to, the offender, that he might both have compas- 
sion on him, and make due satisfaction for him. He had two distinct 
natures, capable of the affections and sentiments of the two persons he was 
to accord ; he was a just judge of the rights of the one, and the demerit of 
the other.* He could not have this full and perfect understanding, if he 
did not possess the perfections of the one, and the qualities of the other. 
The one fitted him for ' things appertaining to God,' Heb. v. 1, and the 
other furnished him with a sense of the ' infirmities of man,' Heb. iv. 15. 

'2>dlrj, He was hereby fitted for the working out the happiness of man. 
A divine nature to communicate to man, and a human nature to carry up 
to God. 

1st, He had a nature whereby to suffer for us, and a nature whereby to 
be meritorious in those sufferings ; a nature to make him capable to bear 
the penalty, and a nature to make his suff'erings sufficient for all that em- 
braced him ; a nature capable to be exposed to the flames of divine wrath, 
and another nature uncapable to be crushed by the weight, or consumed 
by the heat of it : a human nature to suffer, and stand a sacrifice in the 
stead of man ; a divine nature to sanctify these sufferings, and fill the nostrils 
of God with a sweet savour, and thereby atone his wrath ; the one to bear 
the stroke due to us, and the other to add merit to his sufferings for us. 
Had he not been man, he could not have filled our place in suffering ; and 
could he otherwise have suffered, his sufferings had not been applicable to 
us ; and had he not been God, his sufferings had not been meritoriously and 
fruitfully applicable. Had not his blood been the blood of God, it had been 
* Gomb. de relig. p. 42. 

Rom. XYL. 27.] god's wisdom. 61 

of as little advantage as the blood of an ordinary man, or the blood of the 
legal sacrifices, Heb. ix. 12. Nothing less than God could have satisfied 
God for the injury done by man. Nothing less than God could have counter- 
vailed the torments due to the ofiending creature. Nothing less than God 
could have rescued us out of the hands of the jailor, too powerful for us. 

2dly, He had therefore a nature to be compassionate to us, and victorious 
for us ; a nature sensibly to compassionate us, and another nature to 
render those compassions efiectual for our relief; he had the compassions 
of our nature to pity us, and the patience of the divine nature to bear with 
us. He hath the afiections of a man to us, and the power of a God for us ; 
a nature to discern the devil for us, and another nature to be sensible of 
the working of the devil in us, and against us. If he had been only God, 
he would not have had an experimental sense of our misery ; and if he had 
been only man, he could not have vanquished our enemies. Had he been 
only God, he could not have died ; and had he been only man, he could not 
have conquered death. 

3dly, A nature efficaciously to instruct us. As man, he was to instruct 
us sensibly ; as God, he was to instruct us infalHbly. A nature whereby 
he might converse with us, and a nature whereby he might influence us in 
those converses. A human mouth to minister instructions to man, and a 
divine power to imprint it with efficacy. 

4thly, A nature to be a pattern to us. A pattern of gi-ace as man, as 
Adam was to have been to his posterity. A divine nature shining in the 
human, the image of the invisible God in the glass of our flesh, that he 
might be a perfect copy for our imitation: Col. i. 15, 'The image of the 
invisible God, and the fijrst-born of every creature' in conjunction.* The 
virtues of the Deity are sweetened and tempered by the union with the 
humanity, as the beams of the sun are by shining through a coloured glass, 
which condescends more to the weakness of our eye. 

Thus the perfections of the invisible God, breaking through the first-bom 
of every creature, glittering in Christ's created state, became more sensible 
for contemplation b}' our mind, and more imitable for conformity in our 

5thly, A nature to be a ground of confidence in our approach to God. A 
nature wherein we may behold him, and wherein we may approach to him ; 
a nature for our comfort, and a nature for our confidence. Had he been 
only man, he had been too feeble to assure us; and had he been only God, 
he had been too high to attract us ; but now we are allured by his human 
nature, and assured by his divine, in our drawing near to heaven. Com- 
munion with God was desired by us, but our guilt stifled our hopes, and 
the infinite excellency of the divine nature would have damped our hopes of 
speeding ; but since these two natures, so far distant, are met in a marriage- 
knot, we have a ground of hope, nay, an earnest that the Creator and believ- 
ing creature shall meet and converse together. 

And since our sins are expiated by the death of the human nature in 
conjunction with the divine, our guilt, upon believing, shall not hinder us 
from this comfortable approach. Had he been only man, he could not have 
assured us an approach to God ; had he been only God, his justice would 
not have admitted us to approach to him ; he had been too terrible for guilty 
persons, and too holy for polluted persons to come near to him ; but by being 
made man, his justice is tempered ; and by his being God and man, his mercy 
is insured. A human nature he had, one with us, that we might be related 
to God as one with him. 

♦ Amyraut, Moral, torn. v. P' 468, 469. 

62 chaknock's wobks. [Rom. XVI. 27. 

GtMy, A nature to derive all good to us. Had he not been man, we had 
had no share or part in him ; a satisfaction by him had not been imputed to 
us. If he were not God, he could not communicate to us divine graces and 
eternal happiness, he could not have had power to convey so great a good 
to us had he been only man ; and he could not have done it, according to 
the rule of inflexible righteousness, had he been only God. As man, he is 
the way of conveyance; as God, he is the spring of conveyance. From 
this grace of union, and the grace of unction, we find rivers of waters flow- 
ing to ' make glad the city of God.' Believers are his branches, and draw 
sap from him as he is their root in his human nature, and have an endless 
duration of it from his divine. Had he not been man, he had not been in 
a state to obey the law ; had he not been God as well as man, his obedience 
could not have been valuable to be imputed to us. 

How should this mystery be studied by us, which would afford us both 
admiration and content ! admiration in the incompi-ehensibleness of it, con- 
tentment in the fitness of the mediator. By this wisdom of God we receive 
the props of our faith, and the fruits of joy and peace. Wisdom consists 
in choosing fit means, and conducting them in such a method as may reach 
with good success the variety of marks which are aimed at. Thus hath the 
wisdom of God set forth a mediator suited to our wants, fitted for our 
supplies, and ordered so the whole affair by the union of these two natures 
in the person of the Redeemer, that there could be no disappointment by 
all the bustle hell and hellish instruments could raise against it. 

Fourthhj, The wisdom of God is seen in this way of redemption, in vindi- 
cating the honour and righteousness of the law, both as to precept and penalty. 
The fii'st and irreversible design of the law was obedience ; the penalty of 
the law had only entrance upon transgression ; obedience was the design, 
and the penalty was added to enforce the observation of the precept : Gen. 
ii. 17, ' Thou shalt not eat,' there is the precept; 'In the day thou eatest 
thereof, thou shalt die,' there is the penalty. Obedience was our debt to 
the law as creatures, punishment was due from the law to us as sinners. 
"We were bound to endure the penalty for our first transgression, but the 
penalty did not cancel the bond of future obedience. The penalty had not 
been incurred without transgressing the precept, yet the precept was not 
abrogated by enduring the penalty. Since man so soon revolted, and by 
his revolt fell under the threatening, the justice of the law had been 
honoured by man's sufferings, but the holiness and equity of the law had 
been honoured by man's obedience. The wisdom of God finds out a 
medium to satisfy both : the justice of the law is preserved in the execution 
of the penalty, and the holiness of the law is honoured in the observance of 
the precept. 

The life of our Saviour is a conformity to the precept, and his death is a 
conformity to the penalty ; . the precepts are exactly performed, and the curse 
punctually executed, by a voluntary observing the one, and a voluntary under- 
going the other. It is obeyed as if it had not been transgressed, and executed 
as if it had not been obeyed. 

It became the wisdom, justice, and holiness of God, as the rector of the 
world, to exact it, Heb. ii. 10; and it became the holiness of the mediator 
to fulfil all the righteousness of the law, Rom. viii. 3, Mat. iii. 15. And 
thus the honour of the law was vindicated in all the parts of it. The trans- 
gression of the law was condemned in the flesh of the Redeemer, and the 
righteousness of the law was fulfilled in his person ; and both these acts of 
obedience, being counted as one righteousness, and imputed to the believing 
sinner, rendered him a subject to the law, both in its preceptive and mina- 

Rom. XVI. 27.] god's wisdom. 63 

tory part. By Adam's sinful acting we were made sinners, and by Christ's 
righteous acting we are made righteous : Rom. v. 19, ' As by one man's dis- 
obedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many 
be made righteous.' The law was obeyed by him, that ' the righteousness 
of it might be fulfilled in us,' Rom. viii. 4. It is not fulfilled in us, or in 
our actions, by inherency, but fulfilled in us by imputation of that righteous- 
ness which was exactly fulfilled by another. As he died for us, and rose 
again for us, so he lived for us. The commands of the law were as well 
observed for us, as the threatenings of the law were endured for us. This 
justification of a sinner, with the preservation of the holiness of the law in 
truth, in the inward parts, in sincerity of intention as well as the conformity 
in action, is the wisdom of God, the gospel wisdom which David desires to 
know : Ps. li. 6, ' Thou desirest truth in the inward parts, and in the 
hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom ;' or, as some render it, 
' the hidden things of wisdom.' Not an inherent wisdom in the acknow- 
ledgments of his sin, which he had confessed before, but the wisdom of God 
in providing a medicine, so as to keep up the holiness of the law in the 
observance of it in truth, and the averting the judgment due to the sinner. 
In and by this way, methodised by the wisdom of God, all doubts and 
troubles are discharged. Naturally, if we take a view of the law to behold 
its holiness and justice, and then of our hearts, to see the contrariety in 
them to the command, and the pollution repugnant to its holiness, and after 
this cast our eyes upward and behold a flaming sword edged with curses and 
wrath, is there any matter but that of terror afforded by any of these ? But 
when we behold in the life of Christ a conformity to the mandatory part of 
the law, and in the cross of Chi-ist a sustaining the minatory part of the law, 
this wisdom of God gives a well-grounded and rational dismiss to all the 
horrors that can seize upon us. 

Fifthly, The wisdom of God in redemption is visible in manifesting two 
contrary afiections at the same time, and in one act : the greatest hatred of sin, 
and the greatest love to the sinner. In this way he punishes the sin without 
ruining the sinner, and repairs the ruins of the sinner without indulging the 
sin. Here is eternal love and eternal hatred ; a condemning the sin to what 
it merited, and an advancing the sinner to what he could not expect. 
Herein is the choicest love and the deepest hatred manifest ; an implacable- 
ness against the sin, and a placableness to the sinner. His hatred of sin 
hath been discovered in other ways : in punishing the devil without remedy ; 
sentencing man to an expulsion from paradise, though seduced by another ; 
in accursing the serpent, an irrational creature, though but a misguided 
instniment. The whole tenor of his threatenings declare his loathing of 
sin, and the sprinkhngs of his judgments in the world, and the horrible 
expectations of terrified consciences, confirm it. But what are all these 
testimonies to the highest evidence that can possibly be given, in the sheath- 
ing the sword of his wrath in the heart of his Son ! If a father should 
order his son to take a mean garb below his dignity, order him to be dragged 
to prison, seem to throw ofi' all affection of a father for the severity of a 
judge, condemn his son to a horrible death, be a spectator of his bleeding 
condition, wilhhold his hand from assuaging his misery, regard it rather 
with joy than sorrow, give him a bitter cup to drink, and stand by to see 
him drink it off to the bottom, dregs and all, and flash frowns in his face all 
the while, and this not for any fault of his own, but the rebellion of some 
subjects he undertook for, and that the offenders might have a pardon sealed 
by the blood of the son, the sufferer, all this would evidence his detestation 
of the rebellion, and his affection to the rebels ; his hatred to their crime, 

64 charnock's works. [Rom. X"\T[. 27. 

and his love to their welfare. This did God do : he delivered Christ up for 
our offences, Rom. viii. 32 ; the Father gave him the cup, John xviii. 18; 
the Lord bruised him with pleasure, Isa. liii. 10, and that for sin. He 
transferred upon the shoulders of his Son the pain we had merited, that the 
criminal might be restored to the place he had forfeited. He hates the sin 
so as to condemn it for ever, and wrap it up in the curse he had threatened, 
and loves the sinner believing and repenting, so as to mount him to an 
expectation of a happiness exceeding the first state both in glory and per- 
petuity. Instead of an earthly paradise, lays the foundation of an heavenly 
mansion, brings forth a weight of glory from a weight of misery, separates 
the comfortable light of the sun from the scorching heat we had deserved 
at his hands. Thus hath God's hatred of sin been manifested. He is at an 
eternal defiance with sin, yet nearer in alliance with the sinner than he was 
before the revolt ; as if man's miserable fall had endeared him to the Judge. 
This is the wisdom and prudence of grace wherein God hath abounded, 
Eph. i. 8 ; a wisdom in twisting the happy restoration of the broken amity 
with an everlasting curse upon that which made the breach, both upon sin 
the cause, and upon Satan the seducer to it. Thus is hatred and love in 
their highest glory manifested together : hatred to sin, in the death of 
Christ, more than if the torments of hell had been undergone by the sinner ; 
and love to the sinner, more than if he had, by an absolute and simple 
bounty, bestowed upon him the possession of heaven ; because the gift of 
his Son for such an end is a greater token of his boundless affections than a 
reinstating man in paradise. Thus is the wisdom of God seen in redemp- 
tion ; consuming the sin, and recovering the sinner. 

Sixthly, The wisdom of God is evident in overturning the devil's empire 
by the nature he had vanquished, and by ways quite contrary to what that 
malicious spirit could imagine. The devil, indeed, read his own doom in 
the first promise, and found his ruin resolved upon by the means of the seed 
of the woman, but by what seed was not so easily known to him ;* and the 
methods whereby it was to be brought about was a mystery kept secret 
from the malicious devils, since it was not discovered to the obedient angels. 
He might know from Isaiah liii. that the Redeemer was assured to divide 
the spoil with the strong, rescue a part of the lost creation out of his hands ; 
and that this was to be effected by making his soul an ofiering for sin. But 
could he imagine which way his soul was to be made such an offering ? He 
shrewdly suspected Christ, just after his inauguration into his office by bap- 
tism, to be the Son of God ; but did he ever dream that the Messiah, by 
dying as a reputed malefactor, should be a sacrifice for the expiation of the 
sin the devil had introduced by his subtilty ? Did he ever imagine a cross 
should dispossess him of his crown, and that dying groans should wrest the 
victory out of his hands ? 

He was conquered by that nature he had cast headlong into ruin. A 
woman, by his subtilty, was the occasion of our death ; and woman, by the 
conduct of the only wise God, brings forth the author of our life and the 
conqueror of our enemies. The flesh of the old Adam had infected us, and 
the flesh of the new Adam cures us : 1 Cor. xv. 21, 'By man came death ; 
by man also came the resurrection from the dead.' We are killed by the 
old Adam, and raised by the new ; as among the Israelites, a fiery serpent 
gave the wound, and a brazen serpent administers the cure. The nature 
that was deceived bruiseth the deceiver, and razeth up the foundations of 

* And indeed the heathen oracles, managed by the devils, declared that they were 
not long to hold their sceptre in the world, but the Hebrew child should vanquish 

Rom. XVI. 27.] god's wisdom. 65 

his kingdom. Satan is defeated by the counsels he took to secure his pos- 
session, and loses the victory by the same means whereby he thought to 
preserve it. 

His tempting the Jews to the sin of crucifying the Son of God, had a 
contrary success to his tempting Adam to eat of the tree. The first death 
he brought upon Adam ruined us, and the death he brought by his instru- 
ments upon the second Adam restored us. Ey a tree, if one may so say, 
he had triumphed over the world, and by the fruit of a tree, one hanging 
upon a tree, he is discharged of his power over us : Heb. ii. 14, ' Through 
death he destroyed him that had the power of death.' And thus the devil 
ruins his own kingdom while he thinks to confirm and enlarge it, and is 
defeated by his own policy, whereby he thought to continue the world under 
his chains, and deprive the Creator of the world of his purposed honour. 
What deeper counsel could he resolve upon for his own security, than to be 
instrumental in the death of him who was God, the terror of the devil him- 
self, and to bring the Redeemer of the world to expire with disgrace in the 
sight of a multitude of men ! Thus did the wisdom of God shine forth in 
restoring us by methods seemingly repugnant to the end he aimed at, and 
above the suspicion of a subtle devil, whom he intended to baffle. 

Could he imagine that we should be healed by stripes, quickened by death, 
purified by blood, crowned by a cross, advanced to the highest honour by 
the lowest humility, comforted by sorrows, glorified by disgrace, absolved by 
condemnation, and made rich by poverty ? That the sweetest honey should 
at once spring out of the belly of a dead lion, the lion of the tribe of Judah, 
and out of the bosom of the living God ? How wonderful is this wisdom of 
God ! That the seed of the woman, bom of a mean virgin, brought forth 
in a stable, spending his days in affliction, misery, and poverty, without any 
pomp and splendour, passing some time in a carpenter's shop, Mark vi. 6, 
with carpenter's tools, and afterwards exposed to a horrible and disgraceful 
death, should by this way pull down the gates of hell, subvert the kingdom 
of the devil, and be the hammer to break in pieces that power which he had 
so long exercised over the world ! Thus became he the author of our life, 
by being bound for a while in the chains of death, and arrived to a princi- 
pality over the most malicious powers by being a prisoner for us, and the 
anvil of their rage and fury. 

Seventhly, The wisdom of God appears in giving us this way the surest 
ground of comfort, and the strongest incentive to obedience. The rebel is 
reconciled, and the rebellion shamed ; God is propitiated and the sinner sancti- 
fied, by the same blood. What can more contribute to our comfort and con- 
fidence than God's richest gift to us ? WTiat can more inflame our love to 
him than our recovery from death by the oblation of his Son to misery and 
death for us ? It doth as much engage our duty as secure our happiness. 
It presents God glorious and gracious, and therefore every way fit to be 
trusted in regard of the interest of his own glory in it, and in regard of the 
efi'usions of his grace by it. It renders the creature obliged in the highest 
manner, and so awakens his industry to the strictest and noblest obedience. 
Nothing so efi'ectnal as a crucified Christ to wean us from sin and stifle all 
motions of despair, a means, in regard of the justice signalised in it, to make 
man to hate the sin which had ruined him, and a means, in regard of the 
love expressed, to make him delight in that law he had violated. 2 Cor. 
V. 14, 15, ' The love of Christ,' and therefore the love of God expressed in 
it, * constrains us no longer to live to ourselves.' 

1st, It is a ground of the highest comfort and confidence in God. 
Since he hath given such an evidence of his impartial truth to his threaten- 

voL. II. a 

B6 charnook's works. [Rom. XVI. 27. 

ing for the honour of his justice, we need not question but he will be as 
punctual to his promise for the honour of his mercy. It is a ground of 
confidence in God, since he hath redeemed us in such a way as glorifies the 
steadiness of his veracity, as well as the severity of his justice ; we may well 
trust him for the performance of his promise, since we have experience of 
the execution of his threatening ; his merciful truth will as much engage 
him to accomplish the one, as his just truth did to inflict the other. The 
goodness which shone forth in weaker rays in the creation, breaks out with 
stronger beams in redemption. And the mercy which before the appearance 
of Christ was manifested in some small rivulets, diffuseth himself like a 
boundless ocean. That God that was our creator is our redeemer, the 
' repairer of our breaches, and the restorer of our paths to dwell in,' and the 
plenteous redemption from all iniquity, manifested in the incarnation and 
passion of the Son of God, is much more a ground of hope in the Lord than 
it was in the past ages, when it could not be said, ' The Lord hath, but 
• the Lord shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities,' Ps. cxxx. 8. It is a 
full warrant to cast ourselves into his arms. 

2(Z/^, An incentive to obedience. 

1st, The commands of the gospel require the obedience of the creature. 
There is not one precept in the gospel which interferes with any rule in the 
law, but strengthens it, and represents it in its true exactness. The heat 
to scorch us is allayed, but the light to direct us is not extinguished. Not 
the least allowance to any sin is granted, not the least afiection to any sin is 
indulged. The law is tempered by the gospel, but not nulled and cast out 
of doors by it ; it enacts that none but those that are sanctified shall be 
glorified ; that there must be grace here, if we expect glory hereafter ; that 
we must not presume to expect an admittance to the vision of God's face, 
unless our souls be clothed with a robe of holiness, Heb. xii. 14 ; it requires 
an obedience to the whole law in our intention and purpose, and an endeavour 
to observe it in our actions ; it promotes the honour of God, and ordains an 
universal charity among men ; it reveals the whole counsel of God, and 
furnisheth men with the holiest laws. 

2dly, It presents to us the exactest pattern for our obedience. The 
redeeming person is not only a propitiation for the sin, but a pattern to the 
sinner, 1 Peter ii. 21. The conscience of man, after the fall of Adam, 
approved of the reason of the law, but by the corruption of nature man had 
•no strength to perform the law. The possibiUty of keeping the law by 
human nature is evidenced by the appearance and life of the Redeemer, and 
an assurance given that it shall be advanced to such a state as to be able to 
observe it. We aspire to it in this life, and have hopes to attain it in a 
future. And while we are here, the actor of our redemption is the copy for 
our imitation. The pattern to imitate is greater than the law to be ruled 
by. What a lustre did his virtues cast about the world ! How attractive 
are his graces ! With what high examples for all duties hath he furnished 
us out of the copy of his life ! 

3dly, It presents us with the strongest motives to obedience. Titus 
ii. 11, 12, * The grace of God teaches us to deny ungodliness.' What chains 
bind faster and closer than love ? Here is love to our nature, in his incar- 
nation ; love to us through enemies, in his death and passion ; encourage- 
ments to obedience by the proffers of pardon for former rebellions. By the 
disobedience of man God introduceth his redeeming grace, and engageth his 
creature to more ingenuous and excellent returns than his innocent state 
<5ould oblige him to. In his created state he had goodness to move him, 
he hath the same goodness now to oblige him as a creature, and a greater 

Rom. XVI. 27.] god's wisdom. 67 

love and mercy to oblige him as a repaired creature; and the terror of justice 
is taken off, which might envenom his heart as a criminal. In his revolted 
state, he had misery to discourage him; in his redeemed state, he hath love 
to attract him. Without such a way, black despair had seized upon the 
creature exposed to a remediless misery, and God would have had no 
returns of love from the best of his earthly works ; but if any spark of 
ingenuity be left, they will be excited by the efficacy of this argument. 

This willingness of God to receive returning sinners is manifested in the 
highest degree, and the willingness of a sinner to return to him in duty hath 
the strongest engagements. He hath done as much to encourage our 
obedience as to illustrate his glory. We cannot conceive what could be 
done greater for the salvation of our souls, and consequently what could have 
been done more to enforce our observance. We have a Redeeemer, as man 
to copy it to us, and as God to perfect us in it. It would make the heart of 
any to tremble, to wound him that hath provided such a salve for our sores, 
and to make grace a warrant for rebellion, motives capable to form rocks 
into a flexibleness. Thus is the wisdom of God seen in giving us a ground 
of the surest confidence, and furnishing us with incentives to the greatest 
obedience, by the horrors of wrath, death, and sufferings of our Saviour. 

Eighthly, The wisdom of God is apparent in the condition he hath settled 
for the enjoying the fruits of redemption ; and this is faith, a wise and 
reasonable condition, and the concomitants of it. 

1st, In that it is suited to man's lapsed state, and God's glory. Inno- 
cence is not required here ; that had been a condition impossible in its own 
nature after the fall. The rejecting of mercy is now only condemning where 
mercy is proposed. Had the condition of perfection in works been required, 
it had rather been a condemnation than redemption. Works are not 
demanded, whereby the creature might ascribe anything to himself, but a 
condition which continues in man a sense of his apostasy, abates all aspir- 
ing pride, and makes the reward of grace, not of debt ; a condition whereby 
mercy is owned, and the creature emptied ; flesh silenced in the dust, and 
God set upon his throne of grace and authority ; the creature brought to the 
lowest debasement, and divine glory raised to the highest pitch. The 
creature is brought to acknowledge mercy, and seal to justice, to own the 
holiness of God in the hatred of sin, the justice of God in the punishment of 
sin, and the mercy of God in the pardoning of sin ; a condition that despoils 
nature of all its pretended excellency ; beats down the glory of man at the 
foot of God, 1 Cor. i. 29, 31. It subjects the reason and will of man to 
the wisdom and authority of God ; it brings the creature to an unreserved 
submission and entire resignation. God is made the sovereign cause of all; 
the creature continued in his emptiness, and reduced to a greater depen- 
dence upon God than by a creation ; depending upon him for a constant 
influx, for an entire happiness : a condition that renders God glorious in 
the creature, and the fallen creature happy in God ; God glorious in his 
condescension to man, and man happy in his emptiness before God. 

Faith is made the condition of man's recovery, that ' the lofty looks of 
man might be humbled, and the haughtiness of man be pulled down,' Isa. 
ii. 11. That every towering imagination might be levelled, 2 Cor. x. 5. 
Man must have all from without doors ; he must not live upon himself, but 
upon another's allowance. He must stand to the provision of God, and be 
a perpetual suitor at his gates. 

'Idly, A condition opposite to that which was the cause of the fall. 
We fell from God by an unbelief of the threatening, he recovers us by a 
belief of the promise ; by unbelief we laid the foundation of God's dishonour, 

68 chaknock's works. [Rom. XVI. 27. 

by faith therefore God exalts the glory of his free grace. We lost ourselves 
by a desire of self-dependence, and our return is ordered by a way of self- 
emptiness. It is reasonable we should be restored in a way contrary to 
that whereby we fell. We sinned by a refusal of cleaving to God ; it is a 
part of divine wisdom to restore us in a denial of our own righteousness and 
strength.* Man having sinned by pride, the wisdom of God humbles him 
(saith one) at the very root of the tree of knowledge, and makes him deny 
his own understanding, and submit to faith, or else for ever to lose his 
desired felicity. 

Sdly, It is a condition suited to the common sentiment and custom of 
the world. There is more of belief than reason in the world ; all instructors 
and masters in sciences and arts require first a belief in their disciples, and 
a resignation of their understandings and wills to them. And it is the wis- 
dom of God to require that of man, which his own reason makes him sub- 
mit to another, which is his fellow-creature. He therefore that quarrels with 
the condition of faith must quarrel with all the world, since belief is the be- 
ginning of all knowledge ; f yea, and most of the knowledge in the world 
may rather come under the title of belief than of knowledge, for what we 
think we know this day we may find from others such arguments as may 
stagger our knowledge, and make us doubt of that we thought ourselves 
certain of before ; nay, sometimes we change our opinions ourselves, with- 
out any instructor, and see a reason to entertain an opinion quite contrary 
to what we had before ; and, if we found a general judgment of others to 
vote against what we think we know, it would make us give the less credit to 
ourselves and our sentiments. All knowledge in the world is only a belief, 
depending upon the testimony or arguings of others ; for, indeed, it may be 
said of all men, as in Job, chap. viii. 9, ' We are but of yesterday, and know 
nothing.' Since therefore belief is so universal a thing in the world, the 
wisdom of God requires that of us which every man must count reasonable, 
or render himself utterly ignorant of anything ; it is a condition that is 
common to all religions. All religions are founded upon a belief; unless 
men did believe future things, they would not hope nor fear. A belief and 
resignation was required in all the idolatries in the world, so that God re- 
quires nothing but what an universal custom of the world gives its sufirage 
to the reasonableness of ; indeed, justifying faith is not suited to the senti- 
ments of men, but that faith which must precede justifying, a belief of the 
doctrine, though not comprehended by reason, is common to the custom of 
the world. I It is no less madness not to submit our reason to faith, than 
not to regulate our fancies by reason. 

4Lthly, This condition of faith and repentance is suited to the con- 
sciences of men. The law of nature teaches us that we are bound to 
believe every revelation from God, when it is made known to us ; and not 
only to assent to it as true, but embrace it as good. This nature dictates 
that we are as much obliged to believe God, because of his truth, as to love 
him because of his goodness. Every man's reason tells him he cannot obey 
a precept, nor depend upon a promise, unless he believes both the one and 
the other ; no man's conscience but will inform him, upon hearing the reve- 
lation of God, concerning his excellent contrivance of redemption, and the 
way to enjoy it, that it is very reasonable he should strip off all affections 
to sin, lie down in sorrow, and bewail what he hath done amiss against so 
tender a God. Can you expect that any man that promises you a great 
.honour or a rich donative, should demand less of you than to trust his word, 
bear an affection to him, and return him kindness ? Can any less be ex- 

* Laud against Fisher, p. 5. f Bradward. p. 28. J Janeway, p. 83. 

Rom. XYI. 27.] god's wisdom. 69 

pected by a prince than obedience from a pardoned subject, and a redeemed 
captive ? If you have injured any man in his body, estate, reputation, 
would yot} not count it a reasonable condition for thejpartaking of his clemency 
and forgiveness, to express a hearty sorrow for it, and a resolution not to 
fall into the like crime again ? Such are the conditions of the gospel, suited 
to the consciences of men, 

5thly, The wisdom of God appears in that this condition was only likely 
to attain the end. There are but two common heads appointed by God, 
Adam and Christ : by one we are made a living soul, by the other a quick- 
ening spirit ; by the one we are made sinners, by the other we are made 
righteous. Adam fell as a head, and all his members, his whole issue and 
posterity, fell with him, because they proceeded from him by natural gene- 
ration ; but since the second Adam cannot be our head by natural genera- 
tion, there must be some other way of ingrafting us in him, and uniting us 
to him as our head, which must be moral and spiritual. This cannot ration- 
ally be conceived to be by any other way than what is suitable to a reason- 
able creature, and therefore must be by an act of the will, consent, and 
acceptance, and owning the terms settled for an admission to that union ; 
and this is that we properly call faith, and therefore called a ' receiving of 
him,' John i. 12. 

1st, Now this condition of enjoying the fruits of redemption could not 
be a bare knowledge, for that is but only an act of the understanding, and 
doth not in itself include the act of the will, and so would have united only 
one faculty to him, not the whole soul ; but faith is an act both of the under- 
standing and will too, and principally of the will, which doth presuppose an 
act of the understanding, for there cannot be a persuasion in the will with- 
out a proposition from the understanding. The understanding must be 
convinced of the truth and goodness of a thing before the will can be per- 
suaded to make any motion towards it, and therefore all the promises, invi- 
tations, and proffers are suited to the understanding and will : to the 
understanding in regard of knowledge, to the will in regard of appetite ; to 
the understanding as true, to the will as good ; to the understanding as 
practical and influencing the will. 

2dly, Nor could it be an entire obedience. That, as was said before, 
would have made the creature have some matter of boasting, and this was 
not suitable to the condition he was sunk into by the fall ; besides, man's 
nature being corrupted, was rendered uncapable to obey, and unable to have 
one thought of a due obedience, 2 Cor. iii. 5. 

When man turned from God, and upon that was turned out of paradise, 
his return was impossible by any strength of his own ; his nature was as 
much corrupted as his re- entrance into paradise was prohibited. That 
covenant, whereby he stood in the garden, required a perfection of action 
and intention in the observance of all the commands of God ; but his fall had 
cracked his ability to recover happiness by the terms and condition of an 
entire obedience. Yet man being a person governable by a law, and cap- 
able of happiness by a covenant, if God would restore him, and enter into 
a covenant with him, we must suppose it to have some condition, as all 
covenants have. That condition could not be works, because man's nature 
was polluted. Indeed, had God reduced man's body to the dust, and his 
soul to nothing, and framed another man, he might have governed him by a 
covenant of works ; but that had not been the same man that had revolted, 
and upon his revolt was stained and disabled. But suppose God had, by 
any transcendent grace, wholly purified him from the stain of his former 
transgression, and restored to him the strength and ability he had lost, 

70 charnock's works. [Kom. XYI. 27. 

might lie not as easily have rebelled again ? And so the condition would 
never have been accomplished, the covenant never have been performed, 
and happiness never have been enjoyed. There must be some other con- 
dition, then, in the covenant God would make for man's security. 

Now faith is the most proper for receiving the promise of pardon of sin ; 
belief of those promises is the first natural recollection that a malefactor can 
make upon a pardon offered him, an acceptance of it is the first consequent 
from that belief. Hence is faith entitled a ' persuasion of,* and * embracing 
the promises,' Heb. xi. 13, and a * receiving the atonement,' Rom. v. 11. 

Thus the wisdom of God is apparent in annexing such a condition to the 
covenant, whereby man is restored, as answers the end of God for his glory, 
the state, conscience, and necessity of man, and had the greatest congruity 
to his recovery. 

Ninthly, This wisdom of God is manifest in the manner of the publishing 
and propagating this doctrine of redemption. 

1st, In the gradual discoveries of it. Flashing a great light in the face 
of a sudden is amazing ; should the sun glare in our eye in all it brightness 
on a sudden, after we have been in a thick darkness, it would blindus, instead 
of comforting us ; so great a work as this must have several digestions. 

God first reveals of what seed the redeeming person should be, ' the seed 
of the woman,' Gen. iii. 15. Then of what nation. Gen. xxvi. 4, then of 
what tribe. Gen. xlix. 12, of the tribe of Judah ; then of what family, the 
family of David ; then what works he has to do, what sufferings to undergo. 
The first predictions of our Saviour were obscure. Adam could not well 
see the redemption in the promise, for the punishment of death, which suc- 
ceeded in the threatening ; the promise exercised his faith, and the obscurity 
and bodily death his humility. The promise made to Abraham was clearer 
than the revelations made before, yet he could not tell how to reconcile his 
redemption with his exile. God supported his faith by the promise, and 
exercised his humility by making him a pilgrim, and keeping him in a per- 
petual dependence upon him in all his motions. 

The declarations to Moses are brighter than those to Abraham ; the de- 
lineations of Christ by David in the Psalms, more illustrious than the former; 
and all those exceeded by the revelations made to the prophet Isaiah and 
the other prophets, according as the age did approach wherein the Redeemer 
was to enter into his ofiice. 

God wrapped up this gospel in a multitute of types and ceremonies, fitted 
to the infant state of the church. Gal. iv. 3. An infant state is usually 
affected with sensible things, yet those ceremonies were fitted to that great 
end of the gospel, which he would bring forth in time to the world. And 
the wisdom of God in them would be amazing, if we could understand the 
analogy between every ceremony in the law and the thing signified by it ; as 
it cannot but affect a diligent reader to observe that little account of them 
we have by the apostle Paul, sprinkled in his epistles, and more largely in 
that to the Hebrews. As the poHtical laws of the Jews flowed from the 
depths of the moral law, so their ceremonial did from the depths of evangeli- 
cal counsels, and all of them had a special relation to the honour of God 
and the debasing the creature. 

Though God formed the mass and matter of the world at the first creation 
at once, yet his wisdom took six days' time for the disposing and adorning 
it. The more illustrious truths of God are not to be comprehended on a 
sudden by the weakness of men. Christ did not declare all truths to his 
disciples in the time of his life, because they were not able at that present 
to bear them : John svi. 12, * Ye cannot bear them now.' Some were re- 

Rom. XVI. 27.] god's wisdom. 71 

served for his resurrection, others for the coming of the Spirit ; and the full 
discovery of all kept back for another world. This doctrine God figured out 
in the law, oracled by the prophets, and unveiled by Christ and his apostles. 

2dly, The wisdom of God appeared, in using all proper means to render 
the belief of it easy. 

1st, The most minute things that were to be transacted were predicted, 
in the ancient foregoing age, long before the coming of the Redeemer. The 
vinegar and gall offered to him upon the cross, the parting his garments, the 
not breaking of his bones, the piercing of his hands and feet, the betraying 
of him, the slighting of him by the multitude, all were exactly painted and 
represented in variety of figures. There was light enough to good men not 
to mistake him ; and yet not so plain, as to hinder bad men from being 
serviceable to the counsels of God in the crucifying of him when he came. 

2dly, The translation of the Old Testament from the private language 
of the Jews into the most public language of the world, that translation which 
we call Septuagint, from Hebrew into Greek, some years before the coming 
of Christ, that tongue being most diffused at that time, by reason of the 
Macedonian empire raised by Alexander, and the university of Athens, to 
which other nations resorted for learning and education. This was a pre- 
paration for the sons of Japhet to dwell in the tents of Shem. By this was 
the entertainment of the gospel facilitated, when they compared the prophe- 
cies of the Old Testament with the declarations of the New, and found things 
80 long predicted before they were transacted in the public view. 

3dly, By ordering concurrent testimonies as to matter of fact, that the 
matter of fact was not deniable. That there was such a person as Christ, 
that his miracles were stupendous, that his doctrine did not incline to sedi- 
tion, that he affected not worldly applause, that he did suffer at Jerusalem, 
was acknowledged by all ; not a man among the greatest enemies of Christians 
was found, that denied the matter of fact. And this great truth, that Christ 
is the Messiah and Redeemer, hath been, with universal consent, owned by 
all the professors of Christianity throughout the world. Whatever bickerings 
there have been among them about some particular doctrines, they all centred 
in that truth of Christ's being the Redeemer. The first publication of this 
doctrine was sealed by a thousand miracles, and so illustrious, that he was 
an utter stranger to the world that was ignorant of them. 

4thly, In keeping up some principles and opinions in the world to 
facilitate the belief of this, or render men inexcusable for rejecting of it. 
The incarnation of the Son of God could not be so strange to the world, if 
we consider the general belief of the appearances * of their gods among them ; 
that the Epicureans, and others that denied any such appearances, were 
counted atheists.f And Pythagoras was esteemed to be one, not of the in- 
ferior genii and lunar demons, but one of the higher gods, who appeared in 
a human body, for the curing and rectifying mortal life ; | and himself tells 
Abaris the Scythian, that he was avd^uTrofj^o^fog, that he took the flesh of 
man, that men might not be astonished at him, and in a frigbt fly from his 
instructions. It was not therefore accounted an irrational thing among them, 
that God should be incarnate ; but indeed, the great stumbling-block was a 
crucified God. But had they known the holy and righteous nature of God, 
the malice of sin, the universal corruption of human nature, the first threat- 
ening, and the necessity of vindicating the honour of the law, and clearing 
the justice of God, the notion of his crucifixion would not have appeared so 
incredible, since they believed the possibility of an incarnation. 

* 'Empdviiai. t Dionys. Halicar. Antiq., 1. ii. p. 128. 

t lamblich. Vit. Pythag., 1. i. cap. vi. p. 44, et lib. ii. c. xix. p. 94. 

72 chabnock's works. [Rom. XVI. 27. 

Another principle was that universal one of sacrifices for expiation, and 
rendering God propitious to man, and was practised among all nations. I 
remember not any wherein this custom did not prevail, for it did even among 
those people where the Jews, as being no trading nation, had not any com- 
merce, and also in America, found out in these latter ages. It was not a 
law of nature (no man can find any such thing written in his own heart), 
but a tradition from Adam. Now that among the loss of so many other 
doctrines, that were handed down from Adam to his immediate posterity, as 
in particular that of the ' seed of the woman,' which one would think a 
necessary appendix to that of sacrificing, this latter should be preserved as 
a fragment of an ancient tradition, seems to be an act of divine wisdom, to 
prepare men for the entertainment of the doctrine of the great sacrifice for 
the expiation of the sin of the world. And as the apostle forms his argument 
from the Jewish sacrifices in the Epistle to the Hebrews, for the convincing 
them of the end of the death of Christ, so did the ancient fathers make use 
of this practice of the heathen, to convince them of the same doctrine. 

5thly, The wisdom of God appeared, in the time and circumstances of 
the first solemn publication of the gospel by the apostles at Jerusalem. The 
relation you may read in Acts ii. 1-12. The Spirit was given to the apostles 
on the day of Pentecost, a time wherein there were multitudes of Jews from 
all nations, not only near but remote, that heard the great things of God 
spoken in the several languages of those nations where their habitations 
were fixed, and that by twelve illiterate men, that two or three hours before 
knew no language but that of their native country. 

It was the custom of the Jews that dwelt among other nations at a distance 
from Jerusalem , to assemble together at Jerusalem at the feast of Pentecost ; and 
God pitched upon this season, that there might be witnesses of this miracle in 
many parts of the world. There were some of every nation under heaven, 
ver. 5, that is, of that known part of the world, so saith the text. Fourteen 
several nations are mentioned, and proselytes as well as Jews by birth. They 
are called devout men, men of conscience, whose testimony would carry weight 
with it among their neighbours at their return, because of their reputation 
by their religious carriage. 

Again, this was not heard and seen by some of them at one time, and 
some at another, by some one hour, by others the next successively,* but 
altogether in a solemn assembly, that the testimony of so many witnesses 
at a time might be more valid, and the truth of the doctrine appear more 
illustrious and undeniable. And it must needs be astonishing to them, to 
hear that person magnified in so miraculous a manner, who had so lately 
been condemned by their countrymen as a malefactor. 

Wisdom consists in the timing of things. And in this circumstance doth 
the wisdom of God appear, in furnishing the apostles with the Spirit at such 
a time, and bringing forth such a miracle as the gift of tongues on a sudden, 
that every nation might hear in their own language the wonder of redemp- 
tion, and as witnesses at their returns into their own countries, report it to 
others, that the credit they had in their several places might facilitate the 
belief and entertainment of the gospel, when the apostles or others should 
arrive to those several charges and dioceses appointed for them to preach 
the gospel in. Had this miracle been wrought in the presence only of the 
inhabitants of Judea, that understood only their own language, or one or 
two of the neighbouring tongues, it had been counted by them rather a 
madness than a miracle. Or had they understood all the tongues which 
they spoke, the news of it had spread no further than the limits of their 
* Faucheur in loc, p. 294, 295. 

Rom. XYI. 27.] god's wisdom. 73 

own habitations, and had been confined within the narrow bounds of the land 
of Judea. But now it is carried to several remote nations, where any of 
those auditors then assembled had their residence. 

As God chose the time of the passover for the death of Christ, that there 
might be the greatest number of the inhabitants of the country as witnesses 
of the matter of fact, the innocence and sufferings of Christ, so he chose the 
time of Pentecost for the first publishing the value and end of this blood to 
the world. 

Thus the evangelical law was given in a confluence of people from aU 
parts and nations, because it was a covenant with all nations. And the 
variety of languages spoken by a company of poor Galileans, bred up at the 
Lake of Tiberias, and in poor corners of Canaan, without the instructions of 
men for so great a skill, might well evidence to the hearers, that God, that 
brought the confusion of languages first at Babel, did only work that cure of 
them, and combine all together at Jerusalem. 

2dly, The wisdom of God is seen in the instruments he employed in 
the publishing the gospel. He did not employ philosophers, but fishermen ; 
used not acquired arts, but infused wisdom and courage. This treasure was 
put into and preserved in earthen vessels, that the wisdom, as well as the 
power of God, might be magnified. The weaker the means are which attain 
the end, the greater is the skill of the conductor of them. 

Wise princes choose men of most credit, interest, wisdom, and ability to 
be ministers of their affairs and ambassadors to others. But what were 
these that God chose for so great a work as the publishing a new doctrine 
to the world ? What was their quality but mean, what was their authority 
without interest? What was their ability, without eminent parts for so 
great a work, but what divine grace in a special manner endowed them with ? 
Nay, what was their disposition to it ? As dull and unwieldy. Witness the 
frequent rebukes for their slow-heartedness from their Master when he con- 
versed in the flesh with them. And one of the greatest of them, so fond of 
the Jewish ceremonies and pharisaical principles, wherein he had been more 
than ordinarily principled, that he hated the Christian religion to extirpa- 
tion, and the professors of it to death. By those ways which were out of 
the road of human wisdom, and would be accounted the greatest absurdity 
to be practised by men that have a repute for discretion, did God advance 
his wisdom. 1 Cor. i. 25, ' The foohshness of God is wiser than man.' 
By this means it was indisputably evidenced to unbiassed minds that the 
doctrine was divine. It could not rationally be imagined that instruments 
destitute of all human advantages should be able to vanquish the world, 
confound Judaism, overturn heathenism, chase away the devils, strip them 
of their temples, alienate the minds of men from their several religions, 
which had been rooted in them by education, and established by a long 
succession. It could not, I say, reasonably be imagined to be without a 
supernatural assistance, an heavenly and efficacious working. Whereas, had 
God taken a course agreeable to the prudence of man, and used those that 
had been furnished with learning, tipped with eloquence, and armed with 
human authority, the doctrines would have been thought to have been of a 
human invention, and to be ^ome subtle contrivance for some unworthy and 
ambitious end. The nothingness and weakness of the instruments manifest 
them to be conducted by a divine power, and declare the doctrine itself to 
be from heaven. 

When we see such feeble instruments proclaiming a doctrine repugnant 
to flesh and blood, sounding forth a crucified Christ to be believed in and 
trusted on, and declaiming against the reUgion and worship under which the 

74 chabxock's wobks. [Rom. XYI. 27. 

Roman empire had long flourished, exhorting them to the contempt of the 
world, preparation for afflictions, denying themselves and their own honours 
by the hopes of an unseen reward, things so repugnant to flesh and blood ; 
and these instruments concurring in the same story, with an admirable har- 
mony in all parts, and sealing this doctrine with their blood, can we upon 
all this ascribe this doctrine to a human contrivance, or fix any lower author 
of it than the wisdom of Heaven ? It is the wisdom of God that carries on 
his own designs in methods most suitable to his own greatness, and different 
from the customs and modes of men, that less of humanity, and more of 
divinity might appear. 

4ithly, The wisdom of God appears in the ways and manner, as well 
as in the instruments, of its propagation. By ways seemingly contrary. 
You know how God had sent the Jews into captivity in Babylon, and though 
he struck off" their chains, and restored them to their country, yet many of 
them had no mind to leave a country wherein they had been born and bred. 
The distance from the place of the original of their ancestors, and their 
affection to the country wherein they were born, might have occasioned 
their embracing the idolatrous worship of the place. Afterwards, the perse- 
cutions of Antiochus scattered many of the Jews for their security into 
other nations, yet a great part, and perhaps the greatest, preserved their 
religion, and by that were obliged to come every year to Jerusalem to offer, 
and so were present at the effusion of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost, 
and were witnesses of the miraculous effects of it. Had they not been dis- 
persed by persecution, and had they not resided in several countries, and 
been acquainted with their languages, the gospel had not so easily been 
diffused into several countries of the world. The first persecutions also 
raised against the church propagated the gospel ; the scattering of the dis- 
ciples inflamed their courage and dispersed the doctrine. Acts viii. 3 ; 
according to the prophecy of Daniel, Dan, xii. 4. ' Many should run to and 
fro, and knowledge should be increased.' The flights and hurryings of men 
should enlarge the territories of the gospel. There was not a tribunal but 
the primitive Christians were cited to, not a horrible punishment but was 
inflicted upon them. Treated they were as the dregs and offals of mankind, 
as the common enemies of the world ; yet the flames of the martyrs bright- 
ened the doctrine and the captivity of its professors, made way for the 
throne of its empire. The imprisonment of the ark was the downfall of 
Dagon. Religion grew stronger by sufferings, and Christianity taller by 
injuries. What can this be ascribed to but the conduct of a wisdom 
superior to that of men and devils, defeating the methods of human and 
hellish policy, thereby making ' the wisdom of this world foolishness with 
God ?' 1 Cor. iii. 19. 

V. The use ; of information. If wisdom be an excellency of the divine 
nature, then, 

1. Christ's deity may hence be asserted. Wisdom is the emphatical title 
of Christ in Scripture, Prov. viii. 12, 13, 31, where Wisdom is brought in 
speaking as a distinct person, ascribing counsel, and understanding, and the 
knowledge of witty inventions to itself. He is called also ' the power of 
God, and the wisdom of God,' 1 Cor. i. 24. And the ancients generally 
understood that place. Col. ii. 3, ' In him are hid all the treasures of wis- 
dom and knowledge,' as an assertion of the Godhead of Christ, in regard of 
the infiniteness of his knowledge, referring wisdom to his knowledge of 
divine things, and knowledge to his understanding of all human things. 
But the natural sense of the place seems to be this, that all wisdom and 

Bom, XYI. 27.] god's wisdom. 75 

knowledge is displayed by Christ in the gospel ; and the words h aZru) refer 
either to Christ, or the mystery of God spoken of, ver. 2. But the deity of 
Christ, in regard of infinite wisdom, may be deduced from his creation of 
things, and his government of things, both which are ascribed to him in 
Scripture. The first ascribed to him, John i. 3, ' All things were made by 
him ; and without him was not anything made that was made.' The second, 
John V. 22, ♦ The Father hath committed all judgment to the Son ; ' and 
both put together, Col. i. 16, 17. 

Now, since he hath the government of the world, he hath the perfections 
necessary to so great a work. As the creation of the world, which is 
ascribed to him, requires an infinite power, so the government of the world 
requires an infinite wisdom. That he hath the knowledge of the hearts of 
men was proved in handling the omniscience of God. That knowledge 
would be to little purpose, without wisdom to order the motions of men's 
hearts, and conduct all the qualities and actions of creatures to such an end 
as is answerable to a wise government ; we cannot think so great an employ- 
ment can be without an ability necessary for it. The government of men 
and angels is a great part of the glory of God ; and if God should entrust 
the greatest part of his glory in hands unfit for so great a trust, it would be 
an argument of weakness in God, as it is in men, to pitch upon unfit instru- 
ments for particular charges. Since God hath therefore committed to him 
his greatest glory, the conduct of all things for the highest ends, he hath a 
wisdom requisite for so great an end, which can be no less than infinite. If, 
then, Christ were a finite person, he would not be capable of an infinite 
communication ; he could not be a subject wherein infinite wisdom could 
be lodged ; for the terms finite and infinite are so distant, that they cannot 
commence* one another ; finite can never be changed into infinite, no more 
than infinite can into finite. 

2. Hence we may assert the right and fitness of God for the government 
of the world, as he is the wisest being. Among men, those who are excel- 
lent in judgment are accounted fittest to preside over and give orders to 
others ; the wisest in a city are most capable to govern a city ; or at least, 
though ignorant men may bear the title, yet the advice of the soundest and 
skilfuUest heads should prevail in all public afl'airs. We see in nature, that 
the eye guides the body, and the mind directs the eye. 

Power and wisdom are the two arms of authority.! "Wisdom knows the 
end and directs the means ; power executes the means designed for such an 
end. The more splendid and strong those are in any, the more authority 
results from thence for the conduct of others that are of an inferior orb. 
Now, God being infinitely excellent in both, his ability and right to the 
management of the w^orld cannot be suspected ; the whole world is but one 
commonwealth, whereof God is the monarch. Did the government of the 
world depend upon the election of men and angels, where could they pitch, 
or where would they find perfections capable of so great a work but in the 
supreme wisdom ? His wisdom hath already been apparent in those laws 
whereby he formed the world into a civil society, and the Israelites into a 
commonwealth : the one suited to the consciences and reasons of all his 
subjects, and the other suited to the genius of that particular nation, drawn 
out of the righteousness of the moral law, and applicable to all cases that 
might arise among them in their government, so that Moses asserts that the 
wisdom apparent in their laws enacted by God, as their chief magistrate, 

* I do not know whether this means that they cannot be commensurate with one 
another; or that they cannot be continuo-us, so that the one •commences' where the 
other ends.— Ed. f Amyraut, Moral, torn. i. p. 258, 259. 

76 charnock's works. [Rom. XVI. 27. 

would render them famous among other nations in regard of their wisdom 
as well as their righteousness, Deut. iv. 6, 7, 9. Also, this perfection doth 
evidence that God doth actually govern the world. It would not be a com- 
mendable thing for a man to make a curious piece of clock-work, and take 
no care for the orderly motion of it. Would God display so much of his 
skill in framing the heaven and earth, and none in actual guidance of them 
to their particular and universal ends ? Did he lay the foundation in order, 
and fit every stone in the building, make all things in weight and measure, to 
let them afterwards run at hap-hazard ? Would he bring forth his power to 
view in the creation, and let a more glorious perfection lie idle, when it had 
80 large a field to move in ? Infinite wisdom is inconsistent with inactivity. 
All prudence doth illustrate itself in untying the hardest knots, and dispos- 
ing the most difficult affairs to a happy and successful issue. All those 
various arts and inventions among men which lend their assisting hand to 
one another, and those various employments their several geniuses lead them 
to, whereby they support one another's welfare, are beams and instincts of 
divine wisdom in the government of the world. He that made all things in 
wisdom, Ps. civ. 24, would not leave his works to act and move only accord- 
ing to their own folly, and idly behold them jumble together, and run counter 
to that end he designed them for ; we must not fancy a divine wisdom to be 
destitute of activity. 

3. Here we may see a ground of God's patience. The most impotent 
persons are the most impatient when unforeseen emergencies arise, or at 
events expected by them, when their feeble prudence was not a sufficient 
match to contest with them or prevent them. But the wiser any man is, 
the more he bears with those things which seem to cross his intentions, 
because he knows he grasps the whole afi'air, and is sure of attaining the 
end he proposeth to himself; yet, as a finite wisdom can have but a finite 
patience, so an infinite wisdom possesses an infinite patience. 

The wise God intends to bring glory to himself, and good to some of his 
creatures, out of the greatest evils that can happen in the world. He 
beholds no exorbitant afflictions and monstrous actions but what he can 
dispose to a good and glorious end, even to ' work together for good to them 
that love God,' Rom. viii. 28 ; and therefore doth not presently fall foul upon 
the actors till he hath wrought out that temporary glory to himself and good 
to his people which he designs. * The times of ignorance God winks at,' 
till he had brought his Son into the world and manifested his wisdom in 
redemption, and when this was done he presseth men to a speedy repentance, 
Acts xvii. 30 ; that as he forbore punishing their crimes in order to the 
displaying his wisdom in the designed redemption, so when he hath efiected 
it, they must forbear any longer abusing his patience. 

4. Hence appears the immutability of God in his decrees. He is not 
destitute of a power and strength to change his own purposes, but his 
infinite perfection of wisdom is a bar to his laying aside his eternal resolves 
and forming new ones ; Isa. xlvi. 10, he resolves the end from the beginning, 
and his counsel stands ; stands immoveable, because it is counsel. It is an 
impotent counsel that is subject to a daily thwarting itself. Inconstant 
persons are accounted by men destitute of a due measure of prudence. If 
God change his mind, it is either for the better or the worse : if for the 
better, he was not wise in his former purpose ; if for the worse, he is not 
wise in his present resolve. No alteration can be without a reflection of 
weakness upon the former or present determination. God must either cease 
to be as wise as he wad before, or begin to be wiser than he was before the 
change ; which to think or imagine is to deny a Deity. If any man 

Rom. XVI. 27.] god's wisdom. 77 

change his resolution, he is apprehensive of a flaw in his former purpose, 
and finds an inconvenience in it which moves him to such a change ; which 
must be either for want of foresight in himself, or want of a due considera- 
tion of the object of his counsel, neither of which can be imagined of God 
without a denial of the Deity. No ; there are no blots and blemishes in his 
purposes and promises. Repentance indeed is an act of wisdom in the 
creature, but it presupposeth folly in his former actions, which is incon- 
sistent with infinite perfection. Men are often too rash in promising, and 
therefore what they promise in haste they perform at leisure or not at all. 
They consider not before they vow, and make after inquiries whether they 
had best stand to it. 

The only wise God needs not any after-game. As he is sovereignly wise, 
he sees no cause of reversing anything, and wants not expedients for his ovra 
purpose; and as he is infinitely powerful, he hath no superior to hinder him 
from executing his will, and making his people enjoy the efiects of his wisdom. 
If he had a recollection of thoughts (as man hath), and saw a necessity to 
mend them, he were not infinitely wise in his first decrees. As in creation 
he looked back upon the several pieces of that goodly frame he had erected, 
and saw them so exact that he did not take up his pencil again to mend any 
particle of the first draught, so his promises are made with such infinite 
wisdom and judgment, that what he writes is irreversible and for ever, as 
the decrees of the Medes and Persians. All the words of God are eternal, 
because they are the births of righteousness and judgment : Hosea ii. 19, 
' I will betroth thee to me for ever, in righteousness and judgments.' He 
is not of a wavering and flitting discretion ; if he threatens, he wisely con- 
siders what he threatens ; if he promises, he wisely considers what he pro- 
mises, and therefore is immutable in both. 

5. Hence it follows, that God is a fit object for our trust and confidence. 
For God being infinitely wise, when he promises anything, he sees every- 
thing which may hinder and everything which may promote the execution 
of it ; so that he cannot discover anything afterwards that may move him 
to take up after- thoughts, he hath more wisdom than to promise anything 
hand over head, or anything which he knows he cannot accomplish. Though 
God, as true, be the object of our trust, yet God, as wise, is the foundation 
of our trust. We trust him in his promise ; the promise was made by 
mercy, and it is performed by truth ; but wisdom conducts all means to the 
accomplishment of it. There are many men whose honesty we can confide 
in, but whose discretion we are difiident of; but there is no defect either of 
the one or the other which may scare us from a depending upon God in our 
concerns. The words of man's wisdom the apostle entitles enticing, 1 Cor. 
ii. 4, in opposition to the words of God's wisdom, which are firm, stable, 
and undeniable demonstrations. As the power of God is an encouragement 
of trust, because he is able to effect, so the wisdom of God comes into the 
rank of those attributes which support our faith. To put a confidence in 
him, we must be persuaded not only that he is ignorant of nothing in the 
world, but that he is wise to manage the whole course of nature, and dis- 
pose of all his creatures for the bringing his purposes and his promises to 
their designed perfection. 

6. Hence appears the necessity of a public review of the management of 
the world, and of a day of judgment. As a day of judgment may be inferred 
from many attributes of God ; as his sovereignty, justice, omniscience, &c., 
so among the rest from this of wisdom. How much of this perfection will 
lie unveiled* and obscure, if the sins of men be not brought to view, whereby 

Qu. • veiled ' ?— Ed. 

78 charnock's works. [Rom. XVI. 27. 

the ordering the unrighteoas actions of men by his directing and overruling 
hand of providence, in subserviency to his own purposes and his people's 
good, may appear in all its glory ? Without such a public review, this part 
of wisdom will not be clearly visible ; how those actions, which had a vile 
foundation in the hearts and designs of men, and were formed there to gratify 
some base lust, ambition and covetousness, &c., were by a secret wisdom 
presiding over them, conducted to amazing ends. 

It is a part of divine wisdom to right itself, and convince men of the 
reasonableness of its laws, and the unreasonablenes of their contradictions 
to it. The execution of the sentence is an act of justice, but the conviction 
of the reasonableness of the sentence is an act of wisdom, clearing up the 
righteousness of the proceeding ; and this precedes, and the other follows : 
Jude 15, * To convince all that are ungodly of all their ungodly deeds.' 
That wisdom which contrived satisfaction, as well as that justice which 
required it, is concerned in righting the law, which was enacted by it. The 
wisdom of a sovereign lawgiver is engaged not to see his law vilified and 
trampled on, and exposed to the lusts and afironts of men, without being 
concerned in vindicating the honour of it. It would appear a folly to enact 
and publish it, if there were not a resolution to right and execute it. 

The wisdom of God can no more associate iniquity and happiness together, 
than the justice of God can separate iniquity from punishment. It would 
be defective if it did always tamely bear the insolences of offenders without a 
time of remark of their crimes, and a justification of the precept rebelliously 
spumed at. He would be unwise if he were unjust ; unrighteousness hath 
no better a title in Scripture than that of folly. It is no part of wisdom to 
give birth to those laws which he will always behold ineffectual, and neither 
vindicate his law by a due execution of the penalty, nor right his own autho- 
rity, contemned in the violation of his law, by a just revenge. Besides, 
what wisdom would it be for the sovereign Judge to lodge such a spokes- 
man for himself, as conscience in the soul of man, if it should be alway 
found speaking, and at length be found false in all that it speaks ? There 
is therefore an apparent prospect of the day of account, from the considera- 
tion of this perfection of the divine nature. 

7. Hence we have a ground for a mighty reverence and veneration of the 
divine majesty. Who can contemplate the sparklings of this perfection in 
the variety of the works of his hands, and the exact government of all his 
creatures, without a raised admiration of the excellency of his being, and a 
falling flat before him, in a posture of reverence to so great a being ? Can 
we behold so great a mass of matter digested into several forms, so exact a 
harmony and temperament in all the creatures, the proportions of numbers 
and measures, and one creature answering the ends and designs of another, 
the distinct beauties of all, the perpetual motion of all things without 
checking one another; the variety of the nature of things, and all acting 
according to their nature with an admirable agreement; and all together, 
like differing strings upon an instrument, emitting divers sounds, but all 
reduced to order in one delightful lesson ; I say, can we behold all this 
without admiring and adoring the divine wisdom which appears in all ? 

And from the consideration of this, let us pass to the consideration of his 
wisdom in redemption ; in reconciling divided interests, untying hard knots, 
drawing one contrary out of another ; and we must needs acknowledge that 
the wisdom of all the men on earth, and angels in heaven, is worse than 
nothing, and vanity in comparison of this vast ocean. And as we have a 
greater esteem for those that invent some excellent artificial engines, what 
reverence ought we to have for him that hath stamped an unimitable wisdom 

KoM. XVI. 27.] god's wisdom. 79 

upon all his works ! Nature orders us to give honour to our superiors in 
knowledge, and confide in their counsels ; but none ought to be reverenced 
as much as God, since none equals him in wisdom. 

8. If God be infinitely wise, it shews us the necessity of our addresses to 
him, and invocation of his name. We are subject to mistakes, and often 
overseen; we are not able rightly to counsel ourselves. In some cases all 
creatures are too short-sighted to apprehend them, and too ignorant to give 
advice proper for them, and to contrive remedies for their case ; but with 
the Lord there is counsel : Jer. xxxii. 19, ' He is great in counsel, and 
mighty in working;' great in counsel to advise us, mighty in working to 
assist us. We know not how to effect a design or prevent an expected evil. 
We have an infinite wisdom to go to, that is every way skilful to manage 
any business we desire, to avert any evil we fear, to accomplish anything 
we commit into his hands. When we know not what to resolve, he hath a 
counsel to guide us, Ps. Ixxiii. 24 ; he is not more powerful to effect what 
is needful, than wise to direct what is fitting. All men stand in need of the 
help of God, as one man stands in need of the assistance of other men, and 
will not do anything without advice ; and he that takes advice, deserves the 
title of a wise man, as well as he that gives advice. But no man needs so 
much the advice of another man as all men need the counsel and assistance 
of God ; neither is any man's wit and wisdom so far inferior to the prudence 
and ability of an angel, as the wisdom of the wisest man and the most sharp- 
sighted angel is inferior to the infinite wisdom of God. We see therefore 
that it is best for us to go to the fountain, and not content ourselves with 
the streams ; to beg advice from a wisdom that is infinite and infallible, 
rather than from that which is finite and fallible. 

Use 2. If wisdom be the perfection of the divine majesty, how prodigious 
is the contempt of it in the world ! 

1. In general. 

All sin strikes at this attribute, and is in one part or other a degrading of 
it. The first sin directed its venom agaiust this. As the devils endeavoured 
to equal their Creator in power, so man endeavoured to equal him in wis- 
dom. Both, indeed, scorned to be ruled by his order ; but man evidently 
exalted himself against the wisdom of God, and aspired to be a sharer with 
him in his infinite knowledge ; would not let him be the only wise God, but 
cherished an ambition to be his partner ; just as if a beam were able to ima- 
gine it might be as bright as the sun, or a spark fancy it could be as full 
fraught with heat as the whole element of fixe. Man would not submit to 
the infinite wisdom of God in the prohibition of one single fruit in the 
garden, when, by the right of his sovereign authority, he might have granted 
him only the use of one. All presumptuous sins are of this nature, they are 
therefore called reproaches of God : Num. xv. 30, ' The soul that doth 
aught presumptuously reproacheth the Lord.' All reproaches are either for 
natural, moral, or intellectual defects ; all reproaches of God must imply 
either a weakness or unrighteousness in God. If unrighteousness, his holi- 
ness is denied ; if weakness, his wisdom is blemished. 

In general, all sin strikes at this perfection two ways. 

(1.) As it defaceth the wise workmanship of God. Every sin is a deform- 
ing and blemishing our own souls, which, as they are the prime creatures in 
the lower world, so they have greater characters of divine wisdom in the 
fabric of them ; but this image of God is ruined and broken by sin. Though 
the spoiling of it be a scorn of his holiness, it is also an affront to his wis- 
dom ; for though his power was the cause of the production of so fair a 
piece, yet his wisdom was the guide of his power, and his holiness the pat- 

80 charnock's works. [Kom. XVI. 27. 

tern whereby he wrought it. His power effected it, and his holiness was 
exemplified in it, but his wisdom contrived it. 

If a man had a curious clock or watch, which had cost him many years' 
pain, and the strength of his skill to frame it, for another, after he had 
seen and considered it, to trample upon it, and crush it in pieces, would 
argue a contempt of the artificer's skill. God hath shewn infinite art in the 
creation of man, but sin unbeautifies man, and ravisheth his excellency. It 
cuts and slasheth the image of God stamped by divine wisdom, as though it 
were an object only of scorn and contempt. The sinner in every sin acts as 
if he intended to put himself in a better posture, and in a fairer dress, than 
the wisdom of God hath put him in by creation. 

(2.) In the slighting his laws. The laws of God are highly rational, 
they are drawn from the depths of the divine understanding, wherein there 
is no unclearness and no defect. As his understanding apprehends all 
things in their true reason, so his will enjoins all things for worthy and wise 
ends ; his laws are contrived by his wisdom for the happiness of man, whose 
happiness, and the methods to it, he understands better than men or angels 
can do. His laws being the orders of the wisest understanding, every breach 
of his law is a flying in the face of his wisdom. All human laws, though 
they are enforced by sovereign authority, yet they are, or ought to be in the 
composing of them, founded upon reason, and should be particular applica- 
tions of the law of nature to this or that particular emergency. The laws 
of God, then, who is summa ratio, are the birth of the truest reason, though 
the reason of every one of them may not be so clear to us. 

Every law, though it consists in an act of the will, yet doth presuppose 
an act of the understanding. The act of the divine understanding in fram- 
ing the law must be supposed to precede the act of his will in commanding 
the observance of that law ; so every sin against the law is not only against 
the will of God commanding, but the reason of God contriving, and a cleav- 
ing to our own reason, rather than the understanding or mind of God : as 
if God had mistaken in making his law, and we had more understanding to 
frame a better, and more conducing to our happiness ; as if God were not 
wise enough to govern us, and prescribe what we should do, and what we 
should avoid ; as if he designed not our welfare, but our misfortune. 

Whereas the precepts of God are not tyrannical edicts, or acts of mere 
will, but the fruits of counsel, and therefore every breach of them is a 
real^ declamation against his discretion and judgment, and preferring our 
own imaginations, or the suggestions of the devil, as our rule, before the 
results of divine counsel. While we acknowledge him wise in our opinion, 
we speak him foolish by our practice, when, instead of being guided by him, 
we will guide ourselves. No man will question but it is a controlling divine 
wisdom to make alterations in his precepts, dogmatically, either to add some 
of their own, or expunge any of his. And is it not a crime of the like re- 
flection to alter them practically ? When we will observe one part of the 
law, and not another part, but pick and choose where we please ourselves, 
as our humours and carnal interest prompts us, it is to charge that part of 
the law with folly which we refuse to conform unto. 

The more cunning any man is in sin, the more his sin is against divine 
wisdom, as if he thought to out- wit God. He that receives the promises of 
God, and the testimony of Christ, * sets to his seal that God is true,' John 
iii. 83 ; by the like strength of argument it will undeniably follow, that he 
that refuseth obedience to his precept sets to his seal that God is foolish. 
Were they not rational, God would not enjoin them ; and if they are rational, 
we are enemies to infinite wisdom by not complying with them. If infinite 

EoM. XVI. 27. J god's wisdom. 81 

prudence hath made the law, why is not every part of it observed ; if it were 
not made with the best wisdom, why is any part of it observed ? If the de- 
facing his image be any sin, as being a defaming his wisdom in creation, 
the breaking his law is no less a sin, as being a disgracing his wisdom in his 
administration. It is upon this account, likely, that the Scripture so often 
counts sinners fools, since it is certainly inexcusable folly to contradict un- 
deniable and infallible wisdom, yet this is done in the least sin. And as he 
that breaks one tittle of the law is deservedly accounted guilty of the breach 
of the whole, James ii. 10, so he that despiseth the least stamp of wisdom 
in the minutest part of the law is deservedly counted as a contemner of it in 
the frame of the whole statute-book. 

2. But in particular, the wisdom of God is affronted and invaded ; 

(1.) By introducing new rules and modes of worship, different from divine 
institutions. Is not this a manifest reflection on this perfection of God, as 
though he had not been wise enough to provide for his own honour, and 
model his own service, but stood in need of our directions, and the capri- 
chioes of our brains ? Some have observed, that it is a greater sin in wor- 
ship to do what we should not, than to omit what we should perform.* The 
one seems to be out of weakness, because of the high exactness of the law ; 
and the other out of impudence, accusing the wisdom of God of imperfec- 
tion, and controlling it in its institutions. At best it seems to be an impu- 
tation of human bashfulness to the supreme sovereign, as if he had been 
ashamed to prescribe all that was necessary to his own honour, but had left 
something to the ingenuity and gratitude of men. 

Man has, ever since the foolish conceit of his old ancestor Adam, presumed 
he could be as wise as God ; and if he who was created upright entertained 
such conceits, much more doth man now, under a mass of corruption, so 
capable to foment them. This hath been the continual practice of men, not 
so much to reject what once they had received as divine, but to add some- 
thing of their own inventions to it. 

The heathens renounced not the sacrificing of beasts for the expiation of 
their offences (which the old world had received by tradition from Adam, 
and the new world, after the deluge, from Noah), but they had blended that 
tradition with rites of their own, and offered creatures unclean in them- 
selves, and not fit to be offered to an infinitely pure being, for the distinc- 
tion of clean and unclean was as ancient as Noah, Gen. viii. 20 ; yea, 
before. Gen. vii. 2. 

So the Jews did not discard what they had received from God, as circum- 
cision, the passover, and sacrifices ; but they would mix a heap of heathenish 
rites with the ceremonies of divine ordination, and practise things which he 
had not commanded, as well as things which he had enjoined them. And 
therefore it is observable, that when God taxeth them with this sin, he doih 
not say, they brought in those things which he had forbidden into his wor- 
ship ; but those things which he had not commanded, and had given no 
order for, to intimate that they were not to move a step without his rule, — 
Jer. vii. 31, ' They have built "the high places of Tophet, which I commanded 
them not, nor came it into my heart ;' and Levit. x. 1, Nadab's and Abihu's 
strange fire was ' not commanded,' — so charging them with impudence and 
rashness in adding something of their own, after he had revealed to them 
the manner of his service, as if they were as wise as God. So loth is man 
to acknowledge the supremacy of divine understanding, and be sensible of 
his own ignorance. 

So after the divulging of the gospel, the corrupters of religion did not 
* Strong of the Will. 


82 chabnock's works. [Rom. XVI. 27. 

fling oflf, but preserved the institutions of God, but painted and patched them 
up with pagan ceremonies ; imposed their own dreams with as much force 
as the revelations of God. Thus hath the papacy turned the simplicity of 
the gospel into pagan pomp, and religion into politics ; and revived the 
ceremonial law, and raked some limbs of it out of the grave, after the wisdom 
of God had wrung her knell, and honourably interred her ; and sheltered 
the heathenish superstitions in Christian temples, after the power of the 
gospel had chased the devils, with all their trumpery, from their ancient 

Whence should this proceed, but from a partial atheism, and a mean 
conceit of the divine wisdom ? As though God had not understanding 
enough to prescribe the form of his own worship ; and not wisdom enough 
to support it, without the crutches of human prudence. 

Human prudence is too low to parallel divine wisdom ; it is an incom- 
petent judge of what is fit for an infinite majesty. It is sufficiently seen in 
the ridiculous and senseless rites among the heathens, and the cruel and 
devilish ones fetched from them by the Jews. What work will human 
wisdom make with divine worship, when it will presume to be the director 
of it, as a mate with the wisdom of God ? Whence will it take its measures, 
but from sense, humour, and fancy ; as though what is grateful and comely 
to a depraved reason, were as beautiful to an unspotted and infinite mind. 
Do not such tell the world, that they were of God's cabinet council, since 
they will take upon them to judge, as well as God, what is well pleasing to 
him ? Where will it have the humility to stop, if it hath the presumption 
to add any one thing to revealed modes of worship ? How did God tax the 
Israelites with making idols ' according to their own understanding,' Hosea 
xiii. 2, imagining their own understandings to be of a finer make and a 
perfecter mould than their Creator's ; and that they had fetched more light 
from the chaos of their own brains, than God had from eternity in his own 
nature ! How slight will the excuse be, God hath not forbidden this or that, 
when God shall silence men with the question, Where, or when did I com- 
mand this or that ? There was no addition to be made under the law to 
the meanest instrument God had appointed in his service. The sacred 
perfume was not to have one ingredient more put into it, than what God had 
prescribed in the composition ; nor was any man, upon pain of death, to 
imitate it ; nor would God endure that sacrifices should be consumed with 
any other fire, than that which came down from heaven : so tender is God 
of any invasions of his wisdom and authority. In all things of his nature, 
whatsoever voluntary humility and respect to God they may be disguised 
with, there is a swelling of the fleshly mind against infinite understanding, 
which the apostle nauseates. Col. ii. 18. 

Such mixtures have not been blessed by God. As God never prospered 
the mixtures of several kinds of creatures, to form and multiply a new species, 
as being a dissatisfaction with his wisdom as creator, so he doth not prosper 
mixtures in worship, as being a conspiracy against his wisdom as a lawgiver. 
The destruction of the Jews was judged by some of their doctors to be for 
preferring human traditions before the written word,* which they ground on 
Isa. xxix. 13, ' Their fear of me was taught by the precepts of men.' The 
injunctions of men were the rule of their worship, and not the prescripts of 
my law. 
^. To conclude ; such as make alterations in religion, difierent from the first 

* Vaisin. The Talmud takes notice that the court of Bethany was wasted three 
years before Jerusalem, because they preferred their own words before the words of 
the law. 

EoM. XVI. 27.] god's wisdom. 83 

institution, are intolerable busy bodies, that will not let God alone with his 
own affairs. Vain man would be wiser than his maker, and be dabbling in 
that which is his sole prerogative. 

(2.) In neglecting means instituted by God. When men have risings of 
heart against God's ordinances, * they reject the counsel of the Lord against 
themselves,' or ' in themselves,' Luke vii. 30, ridsrriirav. They disannulled 
the wisdom of God, the spring of his ordinances. All neglects are disregards 
of divine prescriptions, as impertinent and unavailable to that end for which 
they were appointed, as not being suited to the common dictates of reason ; 
sometimes out of a voluntary humility, such as Peter's was when he denied 
Christ's condescension to wash his feet, John xiii. 8, and thereby judged of 
the comeliness of his master's intention and action. Such as continually 
neglect the great institution of the Lord's supper, out of a sense of un worthi- 
ness, are in the same rank with Peter, and do, as well as he, fall under the 
blame and reproof of Christ. 

Men would be saved, and use the means ; but either means of their own 
appointment, or not all the means of God's ordering.* They would have 
God's wisdom and will condescend to theirs, and not theirs conformed to 
God : as if our blind judgments were fittest to make the election of the 
paths to happiness ; like Naaman, who, when he was ordered by the prophet 
for the cure of his leprosy, to wash seven times in Jordan, would be the 
prophet's director, and have him touch him with his hand ; as if a patient 
sick of a desperate disease should prescribe to his skilful physician what 
remedies he should order for his cure, and make his own infirm reason, or 
his gust and palate the rule, rather than the physician's skill. 

Men's inquiries are. Who will shew us any good ? They rather fasten 
upon any means than what God hath ordained. We invert the order 
divine wisdom hath established, when we would have God save us in our 
own way, not in his.f It is the same thing as if we would have God nourish 
us without bread, and cure our diseases without medicines, and increase our 
wealth without our industry, and cherish our souls without his word and 
ordinances. It is to demand of him an alteration of his methods, and a 
separation of that which he hath by his eternal judgment joined together. 
Therefore for a man to pray to God to save him, when he will not use the 
means he hath appointed for salvation, when he slights the word, which is 
the instrument of salvation, is a contempt of the wisdom of divine institutions. 

Also in omissions of prayer ; when we consult not with God upon emer- 
gent occasions, we trust more to our own wisdom than God's, and imply 
that we stand not in need of his conduct, but have ability to direct ourselves 
and accomplish our ends without his guidance. Not seeking God, is by the 
prophet taxed to be a reflection upon this perfection of God : Isa. xxxi. 1, 2, 
' They look not to the Holy One of Israel, neither seek the Lord,' &e. And 
the like charge he brings against them, Hosea viii. 9, ' They are gone up 
to Assyria, a wild ass alone by himself, not consulting God.' 

(d.) In censuring God's revelations and actions, if they be not according 
to our schemes. When we will not submit to his plain will, without pene- 
trating into the um-evelated reason of it, nor adore his counsels without 
controlhng them, as if we could correct both law and gospel, and frame a 
better method of redemption than that of God's contriving. Thus men 
slighted the wisdom of God in the gospel, because it did not gree with that 
philosophical wisdom and reason they had sucked in by education from their 
masters, 1 Cor. i. 21, 22 ; contrary to their practice in their superstitious 
worship, where the oracles they thought divine were entertained with 
* Pont. Medit. part ill. p. 366. t Durant. de Teut. p. 403, 404. 

84 chaknock's works. [Rom. XVI. 27. 

reverence, not with dispute, and though ambiguous, were not counted 
ridiculous by the worshipper. How foolish is man in this wherein he would 
be accounted wise ! Adam in innocence was unfit to control the doctrine 
of God when the eye of his reason was clear, and much more are we since 
the depravation of our nature. 

The revelations of God tower above reason in its purity, much more 
above reason in its mud and earthiness. The rays of divine wisdom are too 
bright for our human understandings, much more for our sinful understand- 
ings. It is base to set up reason, a finite principle, against an infinite wis- 
dom ; much baser to set up a depraved and purblind reason against an 
all-seeing and holy wisdom. If we would have a reason for all that God 
speaks, and all that God acts, our wisdom must become infinite as his, or 
his wisdom become finite as ours. 

All the censures of God's revelations arise from some prejudicate opinions, 
or traditional maxims, that have enthroned themselves in our minds, which 
are made the standard whereby to judge of the things of God, and receive 
or reject them, as they agree with or dissent from those principles, Col. ii. 8. 
Hence it was that the philosophers in the primitive times were the greatest ene- 
mies to the gospel ; and the contempt of divine wisdom, in making reason 
the supreme judge of divine revelation, was the fruitful mother of the here- 
sies in all ages springing up in the church, and especially of that Socinianism 
that daily insinuates itself into the minds of men. 

This is a wrong to the wisdom of God. He that censures the words or 
actions of another, implies that he is in his censure wiser than the person 
censured by him. It is as insupportable to determine the truth of God's 
plain dictates by our reason, as it is to measure the suitableness or unsuit- 
ableness of his actions by the humour of our will. We may sooner think 
to span the sun, or grasp a star, or see a gnat swallow a leviathan, than 
fully understand the debates of eternity. 

To this we may refer too curious inquiries into divine methods, and ' in- 
truding into those things which are not revealed,' Col. ii. 18. It is to afi"ect 
a wisdom equal with God, and an ambition to be of his cabinet council. We 
are not content to be creatures, that is, to be every way below God ; below 
him in wisdom, as well as in power. 

(4.) In prescribing God methods of acting. When we pray for a thing 
without a due submission to God's will, as if we were his counsellors, yea, 
his tutors, and not his subjects, and God were bound to follow our humours, 
and be swayed according to the judgment of our ignorance ; when we would 
have such a mercy which God thinks not fit to give, or have it in this 
method, which God designs to convey through another channel ; thus we 
would have the only wise God take his measures from our passions. Such 
a controlling of God was Jonah's anger about a gourd : Jonah iv. 1, ' It dis- 
pleased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry.' 

We would direct him how to dispose of us ; as though he that had infinite 
wisdom to contrive and rear the excellent fabric of the world had not wis- 
dom enough, without our discretion, to place us in a sphere proper for his 
own ends, and the use he intends us in the universe. All the speeches of 
men — Would I had been in such an office, had such charge : would I had 
such a mercy, in such a method, or by such instruments — are entrenchments 
upon God's wise disposal of afiairs. 

This imposing upon God is a hellish imposition, and in hell we find it. 
The rich man in hell, that pretends some charity for his brethren on earth, 
would direct God a way to prevent their ruin, by sending one from the dead 
to school them, as a more effectual means than Moses and the prophets, 

KoM, XVI. 27.] god's wisdom. 85 

Luke xvi. 29, 30. It is a temper also to be found on earth ; what else was 
the language of Saul's saving the Amalekites' cattle against the plain com- 
mand of God ? 1 Sam. xv. 15. As if God in his fury had overshot himself, 
and overlooked his altar, in depriving it of so great a booty for its service : 
as if it were an unwise thing in God to lose the prey of so many stately cattle, 
that might make the altar smoke with their entrails, and serve to expiate 
the sins of the people ; and therefore he would rectify that which he thought 
to be an oversight in God, and so magnifies his own prudence and discretion 
above the divine. 

We will not let God act as he thinks fit, but will be directing him, and 
teaching him knowledge, Job xxi. 22 ; as if God were a statue, an idol, that 
had eyes and saw not, hands but acted not, and could be turned, as an 
image may be, to what quarter of the heaven we please ourselves. The wis- 
dom of God is unbiassed ; he orders nothing but what is fittest for his end, 
and we would bave our shallow brains the bias of God's acting. And wil 
not God resent such an indignity, as a reflection upon his wisdom as well as 
authority, when we intimate that we have better heads than he, and that he 
comes short of us in understanding ? 

(5.) In murmuring and impatience. One demands a reason why he hath 
this or that cross ? why he hath been deprived of such a comfort, lost such 
a venture, languisheth under such a sickness, is tormented with such pains, 
oppressed by tyrannical neighbours, is unsuccessful in such designs ? In 
these, and such like, the wisdom of God is questioned and defamed. All 
impatience is a suspicion, if not a condemnation, of the prudence of God's 
methods, and would make human feebleness and folly the rule of God's 
dealing with his creatures. This is a presuming to instruct God, and a 
reproving him for unreasonableness in his proceedings, when his dealings 
with us do not exactly answer our fancies and wishes ; as if God, who made 
the world in wisdom, wanted skill for the management of his creatures in 
it : Job xl. 2, ' Shall he that contends with the Almighty instruct him ? He 
that reproveth God, let him answer it.' We that are not wise enough to 
know ourselves, and what is needful for us, presume to have wit enough to 
guide God in his dealing with us. The wisdom of God rendered Job more 
useful to the world by his afliictions, in making him a pattern of patience, 
than if he had continued him in a confluence of all worldly comforts, wherein 
he had been beneficial only in communicating his morsels to his poor neigh- 
bours. All murmuring is a fastening error upon unerring wisdom. 

(6.) In pride and haughtiness of spirit. No proud man, but sets his 
heart as the heart of God, Ezek. xxviii. 2, 3. The wisdom of God hath 
given to men diverse oflaces, set them in diverse places ; some have more 
honourable charges, some meaner. Not to give that respect their offices and 
places call for, is to quarrel with the wisdom of God, and overturn the rank 
and order wherein he hath placed things. 

It is unfit we should aff"ront God in the disposal of his creatures, and 
intimate to him by our carriage, that he had done more wisely in placing 
another, and that he hath done fooHshly in placing this or that man m 
such a charge. Sometimes men are unworthy the place they fill : they may 
be set there in judgment to themselves and others ; but the wisdom of God, 
in his management of things, is to be honoured and regarded. " 

It is an infringing the wisdom of God when we have a vain opinion of 
ourselves, and are blind to others ; when we think ourselves monarchs, and 
treat others as worms or flies in comparison of us. He who would reduce 
all things to his own honour, perverts the order of the world, and would 
constitute another order than what the wisdom of God hath established ; 

86 charnock's works. [Kom. XVI. 27. 

and move them to an end contrary to the intention of God, and charges God 
with want of discretion and skill. 

(7.) Distrust of God's promise is an impeachment of his wisdom, a 
secret revihng of it, as if he had not taken due consideration of it before he 
passed his word ; or a suspicion of his power, as if he could not accomplish 
his word. We trust the physician's skill with our bodies, and the lawyer's 
counsel with our estates, but are loath to rely upon God for the concerns of 
our lives. If he be wise to dispose of us, why do we distrust him ? If we 
distrust him, why do we embrace an opinion of his wisdom ? 

Unbelief also is a contradiction to the wisdom of God in the gospel, &c., 
but that I have already handled in a discourse of the nature of unbelief. 

Use 3. Of comfort. God hath an infinite wisdom to conduct us in our 
affairs, rectify us in our mistakes, and assist us in our straits. It is an 
inestimable privilege to have a God in covenant with us ; so wise, to com- 
municate all good, to prevent all evil ; who hath infinite ways to bring to 
pass his gracious intentions towards us. ' How unsearchable are his judg- 
ments, and his ways past finding out ! ' Rom. xi. 33. His judgment or 
decrees are incomprehensibly wise, and the ways of effecting them are as 
wise as his resolves efiected by them. We can as little search into his 
methods of acting as we can into his wisdom of resolving ; both his judg- 
ments and ways are unsearchable. 

1. Comfort in all straits and afflictions. There is a wisdom in inflicting 
them, and a wisdom in removing them. He is wise to suit his medicines to 
the humour of our disease, though he doth not to the humour of our wills. 
He cannot mistake the nature of our distemper, or the virtue of his own 
physic. Like a skilful physician, he sometimes prescribes bitter potions, 
and sometimes cheering cordials, according to the strength of the malady, 
and necessity of the patient, to reduce him to health. As nothing comes 
from him but what is for our good, so nothing is acted by him in a rash and 
temerarious way. His wisdom is as infinite as his goodness, and as exact 
in managing as his goodness is plentiful in streaming out to us. He under- 
stands our griefs, weighs our necessities, and no remedies are beyond the 
reach of his contrivance. When our feeble wits are bewildered in a maze, 
and at the end of their line for a rescue, the remedies unknown to us are 
not unknown to God. When we know not how to prevent a danger, the 
wise God hath a thousand blocks to lay in the Avay ; when we know not 
how to free ourselves from an oppressive evil, he hath a thousand ways of 

He knows how to time our crosses, and his own blessings. The heart of 
a wise God, as well as the heart of a wise man, ' discerns both time and 
judgment,' Eccles. viii. 5. There is as much judgment in sending them as 
judgment in removing them. How comfortable is it to think that our dis- 
tresses, as well as our deliverances, are the fruits of infinite wisdom ! 
Nothing is done by him too soon or too slow, but in the true point of time, 
with all its due circumstances, most conveniently for his glory and our good. 
How wise is God, to bring the glory of our salvation out of the depths of a 
seeming ruin, and make the evUs of aflliction subservient to the good of the 
afiiicted ! 

2. In temptations ; his wisdom is no less employed in permitting them than 
in bringing them to a good issue. His wisdom in leading our Saviour to be 
tempted of the devil, was to fit him for our succour, and his wisdom in 
suffering us to be tempted is to fit us for his own service, and our salvation. 
He makes a thorn in the flesh to be an occasion of a refreshing grace to the 
spirit, and brings forth cordial grapes from those pricking brambles, and 

KoM. XVI, 27.J god's wisdom. 87 

magnifies his grace by his wisdom from the deepest subtilties of hell. Let 
Satan's intentions be what they will, he can be for him at every turn to out- 
wit him in his stratagems, to baffle him in his enterprises, to make instru- 
mental for our good where he designs nothing but our hurt. The Lord hath 
his methods of deUverance from him : 2 Peter ii. 9, ' The Lord knows how 
to deliver the godly out of temptation.' 

3. In denials or delays of answers of prayer. He is gracious to hear, but 
he is wise to answer in an acceptable time, and succour us in a day proper 
for our salvation, 2 Cor. vi. 2. We have partial aifections to ourselves ; 
ignorance is natural to us, Rom. viii. 26, we ask we know not what, because 
we ask out of ignorance. God grants what he knows, what is fit for him to 
do, and fit for us to receive, and the exact season wherein it is fittest for 
him to bestow a mercy. As God would have us bring forth our fruit in 
season, so he will send forth his mercies in season. 

He is wise to suit his remedy to our condition, to time it so as that we 
shall have an evident prospect of his wisdom in it, that more of divine skill, 
and less of human, may appear in the issue. He is ready at our call, but he 
will not answer till he see the season fit to reach out his hand. He is wise 
to prove our faith, to humble us under the sense of our own unworthiness, 
to whet our aflfections, to set a better estimate on the blessings prayed for, 
and that he may double the blessing as we do our devotion ; but when his 
wisdom sees us fit to receive his goodness, he grants what we stand in need 
of. He is wise to choose the fittest time,;and faithful to give the best 
covenant mercy. 

4. In all evils threatened to the church by her enemies. He hath 
knowledge to foresee them, and wisdom to disappoint them : Job v. 13, 
' He taketh the wise iu their own craftiness, and the counsel of the froward 
is carried headlong.' 

The church hath the wisdom of God to enter the lists with the policy of 
hell. He defeated the serpent in the first net he laid, and brought a glorious 
salvation out of hell's rubbish, and is yet as skilful to disappoint the after- 
game of the serpentine brood. The policy of hell, and the subtilty of the 
world, are no better than folly with God, 1 Cor. iii. 19. All creatures are 
fools, as creatures, in comparison with the Creator. The angels he chargeth 
with folly, much more sinners. 

Depraved understandings are not fit mates for a pure and unblemished 
mind. Pharaoh, with his wisdom, finds a grave in the sea, and Ahithophel's 
plots are finished in his own murder. He breaks the enemies by his power, 
and orders them by his skill to be a feast to his people. Ps. Ixxiv. 14, 
' Thou brakest the head of the leviathan, and gavest him to be meat to the 
people in the wilderness.' The spoils of the Egyptians' carcasses cast upon 
the shore served the Israelites' necessities (or were as meat to them), as 
being a deliverance the church might feed upon in all ages, in a wilderness 
condition, to maintain their faith, the vital principle of the soul. 

There is a wisdom superior to the subtilties of men, which laughs at their 
follies, and ' hath them in derision,' Ps. ii. 4. ' There is no wisdom or 
counsel against the Lord,' Prov. xxi. 30. You never question the wisdom 
of an artist to use his file when he takes it into his hand. Wicked instru- 
ments are God's axes and files ; let him alone, he hath skill enough to 
manage them. God hath too much aifection to destroy his people, and 
wisdom enough to beautify them by the worst tools he uses. He can 
make all things conspire in a perfect harmony for his own ends, and his 
people's good, when they see no way to escape a danger feared, or attain a 
blessing wanted. 

88 chaknock's wokks. [Rom. XYI. 27. 

Use 4. For exhortation. 

1. Meditate on the wisdom of God in creation and government. How 
little do we think of God when we behold his works ! Our sense dwells 
upon the surface of plants and animals, beholds the variety of their colours, 
and the progress in their motion. Our reason studies the qualities of them; 
our spirits seldom take a flight to the divine wisdom which framed them. 
Our senses engross our minds from God, that we scarce have a thought free to 
bestow upon the maker of them, but only on the by. The constancy of 
seeing things that are common stifles our admiration of God, due upon the 
sight of them. How seldom do we raise our souls as far as heaven in our 
views of the order of the world, the revolutions of the seasons, the natures 
of the creatures that are common among us, and the mutual assistance they 
give to each other ! Since God hath manifested himself in them, to neglect 
the consideration of them is to neglect the manifestation of God, and the 
way whereby he hath transmitted something of his perfections to our under- 
standing. It renders men inexcusably guilty of not glorifying God, Rom. 
i. 19, 20. We can never neglect the meditation of the creatures without a 
blemish cast upon the Creator's wisdom. As every river can conduct us to 
the sea, so every creature points us to an ocean of infinite wisdom. Not 
the minutest of them, but rich tracts of this may be observed in them, and 
a due sense of God result from them. They are exposed to our view, that 
something^of God may be lodged in our minds ; that as our bodies extract their 
quintessence for our nourishment, so our minds may extract a quintessence 
for the maker's praise. 

Though God is principally to be praised in and for Christ, yet as grace 
doth not raze out the law of nature, so the operations of grace put not the 
dictates of nature to silence, nor suspend the homage due to God upon our 
inspection of his works. God hath given full testimonies of this perfection 
in the heavenly bodies, dispersing their light, and distributing their influences 
to every part of the world. In framing men into societies, giving them 
various dispositions, for the preservation of governments ; making some 
wise for counsel, others martial for action ; changing old empires, and raising 
new. Which way soever we cast our eyes, we shall find frequent occasions 
to cry out, ' Oh the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge 
of God !' Rom. xi. 33. 

To this purpose we must not only look upon the bulk and outside of his 
works, but consider from what principles they were raised, in what order 
disposed, and the exact symmetry and proportion of their parts. When a 
man comes into a city or temple, and only considers the surface of the build- 
ings, they will amaze his sense, but not better his understanding, unless he 
considers the methods of the work, and the art whereby it was erected. 

(1.) This was an end for which they were created. God did not make 
the world for man's use only, but chiefly for his own glory ; for man's use 
to enjoy his creatures, and for his own glory to be acknowledged in his 
creatures, that we may consider his art in framing them, and his skill in 
disposing them, and not only gaze upon the glass without considering the 
image it represents, and acquainting ourselves whose image it is. The 
creatures were not made for themselves, but for the service of the Creator 
and the service of man. Man was not made for himself, but for the service 
of the Lord that created him. He is to consider the beauty of the creation, 
that he may thereby glorify the Creator. He knows in part their excel- 
lency, the creatures themselves do not. If, therefore, man be idle, and 
unobservant of them, he deprives God of the glory of his wisdom which he 
should have by his creatures. 

EoM. XVI. 27.] god's wisdom. 89 

The inferior creatures themselves cannot observe it.' If man regard it not, 
what becomes of it ; his glory can only be handed to him by man. The 
other creatures cannot be active instruments of his glory, because they know 
not themselves, and therefore cannot render him an active praise. Man is 
therefore bound to praise God for himself and for all his creatures, because 
he only knows himself and the perfections of the creatures, and the Author 
both of himself and them. 

God created such variety to make a report of himself to us ; we are to 
receive the report, and to reflect it back to him. To what purpose did he 
make so many things, not necessary for the support and pleasure of our 
lives, but that we should behold him in them as well as in the other ? 
" We cannot behold the wisdom of God in his own essence and eternal 
ideas, but by the reflection of it in the creatures, as we cannot steadily 
behold the sun with our eye, but either through a glass, or by reflection of 
the image of it in the water. God would have us meditate on his perfec- 
tions ; he therefore chose the same day wherein he reviewed his work, and 
rested from it, to be celebrated by man for the contemplation of him, Gen. 
ii. 2, 3, that we should follow his example, and rejoice as himself did, in 
the frequent reviews of his wisdom and goodness in them. In vain would 
the creatures afi'ord matter for this study if they were wholly neglected. 

God offers something to our consideration in every creature. Shall the 
beams of God shine round about us, and strike our eyes, and not afl'ect our 
minds ? Shall we be like ignorant children, that view the pictures or point 
to the letters in a book without any sense and meaning ? How shall God 
have the homage due to him from his works, if man hath no care to observe 
them ? The 148th Psalm is an exhortation to this. The view of them 
should often extract from us a wonder of the like nature of that of David's : 
Ps. civ. 24, ' Lord, how wonderful are thy works ; in wisdom hast thou 
made them all.' The world was not created to be forgotten, nor man created 
to be unobservant of it. 

(2.) If we observe not the wisdom of God in the views of the creatures, 
we do no more than brutes. To look upon the works of God in the world 
is no higher an act than mere animals perform. The glories of heaven and 
beauties of the earth are visible to the sense of beasts and birds. A brute 
beholds the motion of a man, as it may see the wheels of a clock, but under- 
stands not the inward springs of motion, the end for which we move, or the 
soul that acts us in our motion, much less that invisible power which pre- 
sides over the creatures and conducts their motion. If a man do no more 
than this, he goes not a step beyond a brutish nature, and may very well 
acknowledge himself, with Asaph, a foolish and ignorant beast before God, 
Ps. Ixxiii. 22. The world is viewed by beasts, but the author of it to be 
contemplated by man. Since we are in a higher rank than beasts, we owe 
a greater debt than beasts, not only to enjoy the creatures, as they do, but 
behold God in the creatures, which they cannot do. 

The contemplation of the reason of God in his works is a noble and suit- 
able employment for a rational creature. We have not only sense to per- 
ceive them, but souls to mind them. The soul is not to be without its 
operation. Where the operation of sense ends, the work of the soul ought 
to begin. We travel over them by our senses, as brutes, but we must pierce 
further by our understandings, as men, and perceive and praise him that 
lies invisible in his visible manufactures. Our senses are given us as 
servants to the soul, and our souls bestowed upon us for the knowledge and 
praise of their and our common Creator. 

(3.) This would be a means to increase our humility. We should then 

90 charnock's works. [Rom. XVI. 27. 

flag our wings and veil our sails, and acknowledge our own wisdom to be as 
a drop to the ocean and a shadow to the sun. We should have mean 
thoughts of the nothingness of our reason when we consider the sublimity 
of the divine wisdom. Who can seriously consider the sparks of infinite 
skill in the creature, without falling down at the feet of the divine Majesty, 
and acknowledging himself a dark and foolish creature ? Ps. viii. 4, 5. When 
the psalmist ' considered the heavens, the moon and stars,' and God's ordi- 
nation and disposal of them, the use that results from it is, ' What is man, 
that thou art mindful of him ?' We should no more think to mate him in 
prudence, or set up the spark of our reason to vie with the sun. Our reason 
would more willingly submit to the revelation, when the characters of divine 
wisdom are stamped upon it, when we find his wisdom in creation incom- 
prehensible to us. 

(4.) It would help us in our acknowledgments of God for his goodness to 
us. When we behold the wisdom of God in creatures below us, and how 
ignorant they are of what they possess, it will cause us to reflect upon the 
deeper impressions of wisdom in the frame of our own bodies and souls, an 
excellency far superior to theirs. This would make us admire the magnifi- 
cence of his wisdom and goodness, and sound forth his praise for advancing 
us in dignity above other works of his hands, and stamping on us by infinite 
art a nobler image of himself. 

And by such a comparison of ourselves with the creatures below us, we 
should be induced to act excellently, according to the nature of our souls ; 
not brutishly, according to the nature of the creatures God hath put under 
our feet. 

(5.) By the contemplation of the creatures, we may receive some assist- 
ance in clearing our knowledge in the wisdom of redemption. Though they 
cannot of themselves inform us of it, yet since God hath revealed his 
redeeming grace, they can illustrate some particulars of it to us. Hence the 
Scripture makes use of the creatures to set forth things of a higher orb to 
us. Our Saviour is called a sun, a vine, and a lion ; the Spirit likened to 
a dove, fire, and water. The union of Christ and his church is set forth by 
the marriage union of Adam and Eve. 

God hath placed in corporeal things the images of spiritual, and wrapped up 
in his creating wisdom the representations of bis redeeming grace ; whence 
some call the creatures natural types of what was to be transacted in a new 
formation of the world, and allusions to what God intended in and by Christ. 

(6.) The meditation of God's wisdom in the creatures is in part a begin- 
ning of heaven upon earth. No doubt but there will be a perfect opening 
of the model of divine wisdom. Heaven is for clearing what is now obscure, 
and a full discovering of what seems at present intricate : Ps. xxxvi. 9, ' In 
his light shall we see light ;' all the light in creation, government, and 
redemption. The wisdom of God in the new heavens and the new earth 
would be to little purpose, if that also were not to be regarded by the inha- 
bitants of them. As the saints are to be restored to the state of Adam, and 
higher, so they are to be restored to the employment of Adam, and higher. 
But his employment was to behold God in the creatures. The world was 
so soon depraved, that God had but little joy in, and man but little know- 
ledge"of, his works. 

And since the wisdom of God in creation is so little seen by our ignorance 
here, would not God lose much of the glory of it, if the glorified souls should 
lose the understanding of it above, when their darkness shall be expelled, 
and their advantages improved ; when the eye that Adam lost shall be fully 
restored, and with a greater clearness ; when the creature shall be restored 

Rom. XVI. 27.J god's wisdom. 91 

to its true end, and reason to its true perfection, Rom. viii. 21, 22 ; when 
the fountains of the depths of nature and government shall be opened, know- 
ledge shall increase ; and according to the increase of our knowledge, shall 
the admiration of divine wisdom increase also. 

The wisdom of God in creation was not surely intended to lie wholly 
unobserved in the greatest part of it ; but since there was so little time for 
the full observation of it, there will be a time wherein the wisdom of God 
shall enjoy a resurrection, and be fully contemplated by his understanding 
and glorified creature. 

2. Study and admire the wisdom of God in redemption. This is the duty 
of all Christians. We are not called to understand the great depth of philo- 
sophy ; we are not called to a skill in the intricacies of civil government, or 
understand all the methods of physic ; but we are called to be Christians, 
that is, studiers of divine, evangelical wisdom. There are first principles to 
be learned, but not those principles to be rested in, without a further pro- 
gress: Heb. vi. 1, ' Therefore, leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, 
let us go on to perfection.' Duties must be practised, but knowledge is not 
to be neglected. The study of gospel mysteries, the harmony of divine 
truths, the sparkling of divine wisdom, in their mutual combination to the 
great ends of God's glory and man's salvation, is an incentive to duty, a spur 
to worship, and particularly to the greatest and highest part of worship, that 
part which shall remain in heaven, the admiration and praise of God, and 
delight in him. If we acquaint not ourselves with the impressions of the 
glory of divine wisdom in it, we shall not much regard it as worthy our 
observance in regard of that duty. 

The gospel is a mystery ; and as a mystery hath something great and 
magnificent in it, worthy of our daily inspection, we shall find fresh springs 
of new wonders, which we shall be invited to adore with a religious astonish- 
ment. It will both raise and satisfy our longings. Who can come to the 
depths of ' God manifest in the flesh' ? How amazing is it, and unworthy 
of a slight thought, that the death of the Son of God should purchase the 
happy immortality of a sinful creature, and the glory of a rebel be wrought 
by the ignominy of so great a person ! that our Mediator should have a 
nature whereby to covenant with his Father, and a nature whereby to be a 
surety for the creature ! How admirable is it, that the fallen creature should 
receive an advantage by the forfeiture of his happiness ! How mysterious 
is it, that the Son of God should bow down to death upon a cross, for the 
satisfaction of justice, and rise triumphantly out of the grave, as a declara- 
tion that justice was contented and satisfied ! that he should be exalted to 
heaven to intercede for us, and at last return into the world to receive us, 
and invest us with a glory for ever with himself ! 

Are these things worthy of a careless regard or a blockish amazement ? 
What understanding can pierce into the depths of the divine doctrine of the 
incarnation and birth of Christ, the indissoluble union of the two natures ? 
What capacity is able to measure the miracles of that wisdom, found in the 
whole draft and scheme of the gospel ? Doth it not merit then to be the 
object of our daily meditation ? How comes it to pass then, that we are so 
little curious to concern our thoughts in those wonders, that we scarce taste 
or sip of these delicacies ? that we busy ourselves in trifles, and consider 
what we shall eat, and in what fashion we shall be dressed ? please ourselves 
with the ingeniousness of a lace or feather, admire a moth-eaten manuscript 
or some half- worn piece of antiquity, and think our time ill- spent in the con- 
templating and celebrating that wherein God hath busied himself, and eter- 
nity is designed for the perpetual expressions of ? 

92 chaenock's woeks. [Rom. XVI. 27. 

How inquisitive are the blessed angels ! with what vigour do they renew 
their daily contemplations of it, and receive a fresh contentment from it, still 
learning and still inquiring ! 1 Pet. i. 12, their eye is never off the mercy- 
seat ; they strive to see the bottom of it, and employ all the understanding 
they have to conceive the wonders of it. Shall the angels be ravished with 
it, and bend themselves down to study it, who have but little interest in it 
in comparison of us, for whom it was both contrived and dispensed, and 
shall not our pains be greater for this hidden treasure ? Is not that worthy 
the study of a rational creature, that is worthy the study of the angeHcal ? 
There must indeed be pains ; it is expressed by digging, Prov. ii. 4. A 
lazy arm will not sink to the depth of a mine. The neglect of meditating 
on it is inexcusable, since it hath the title and character of the wisdom of 

The ancient prophets searched into it when it was folded up in shadows, 
when they saw only the fringes of Wisdom's garment, 1 Pet. i. 10 ; and 
shall not we, since the sun hath mounted up in our horizon, and sensibly 
scattered the light of the knowledge of this and the other perfections of God ? 
As the Jewish Sabbath was appointed to celebrate the perfections of God 
discovered in creation, so is the Christian Sabbath appointed to meditate on 
and bless God for the discovery of his perfections in redemption. Let us 
therefore receive it according to its worth ; let it be our only rule to walk by. 
It is worthy to be valued above all other counsels ; and we should never think 
of it without the doxology of the apostle, ' To the only wise God be glory 
through Jesus Christ for ever !' that our speculations may end in affectionate 
admirations and thanksgivings, for that which is so full of wonders. What 
a little prospect should we have had of God and the happiness of man, had 
not his wisdom and goodness revealed things to us ! The gospel is a mar- 
vellous light, and should not be regarded with a stupid ignorance, and pur- 
sued with a duller practice. 

3. Let none of us be proud of, or trust in, our own wisdom, Man, by 
affecting wisdom out of the way of God, got a crack in his head, v?hich hath 
continued five thousand years and upwards ; and ever since, our own ' wisdom 
and knowledge hath perverted us,' Isa. xlvii. 10. To be guided by this, is 
to be under the conduct of a bhnd leader, and follow a traitor and enemy to 
God and ourselves. Man's prudence often proves hurtful to him. He often 
accomplisheth his ruin, while he designs his establishment, and finds his 
fall where he thought to settle his fortune ; such bad eyes hath human wisdom 
often in its own afiairs. Those that have been heightened with a conceit of 
their own cunning, have at last proved the greatest fools. God delights to 
' make foolish the wisdom of this world,' 1 Cor. i. 20. 

Thus God writ folly upon the crafty brains of Ahithophel, and simplicity 
upon the subtle projects of Herod against our Saviour ; and the devil, the 
prince of carnal wisdom, was befooled into a furthering our redemption by 
his own projects to hinder it. Carnal policy against the prescripts of divine 
wisdom never prospers. It is like an upiis fatuus, which leads men out of 
the way of duty and out of the way of security, and perverts them into the 
mire and dangerous precipices. 

When Jeroboam would coin a religion to serve his interests of state, he 
tore up the foundations both of his kingdom and family. The way the Jews 
took to prevent a fresh invasion of the Romans, by the crucifying Christ, 
brought the judgment more swift upon them, John xi. 48. There is no man 
ruined here or damned hereafter, but by his own wisdom and will. Prov. 
iii. 5, 7, the fear of the Lord and departure from evil, are inconsistent with 
an overweening conceit of our own wisdom, and leaning to our own under- 

Rom. XVI. 27.] god's wisdom. 9g? 

standing is inconsistent with a trusting in the Lord with all our hearts. It 
is as much a deifying ourselves to trust to our own wit, as it is a deifying 
the creature to affect or confide in it, superior to God, or equally with 

The true way to wisdom is to be sensible of our own folly : 1 Cor. iii. 18, 
' If any man be wise, let him become a fool.' He that distrusts his own 
guidance, will more securely and successfully follow the counsel of another 
in whom he confides. The more water, or any other liquor, is poured out 
of a vessel, the more air enters ; the more we distrust our own wisdom, the 
more capable we are of the conduct of God's. 

Had Jehoshaphat relied upon his own policy, he might have found a defeat 
when he met with a deliverance ; but he disowned his own skill and strength 
in telling God, ' We know not what to do, but our eyes are towards thee,' 
2 Chron. xx. 12. Let us therefore, with Agur, disesteem our own under- 
standing to esteem divine. Human prudence is like a spider's web, easily 
blown away, and easily swept down by the besom of some unexpected revo- 
lution. God, by his infinite wisdom, can cross the wisdom of man, and 
make a man's own prudence hang in his own light : Isa. xxix. 14, ' The un- 
derstanding of their prudent men shall be hid.' 

4. Seek to God for wisdom. The wisdom we have by nature is like the 
weeds the earth brings forth without tillage. Our wisdom since the fall is 
the wisdom of the serpent, without the innocency of the dove ; it flows from 
self-love, runs into self-interest. It is the wisdom of the flesh, and a pru- 
dence to manage means for the contenting our lusts. Our best wisdom is 
imperfect, a mere nothing and vanity, in comparison of the divine, as our 
beings are in comparison of his essence. We must go to God for a holy 
and innocent wisdom, and fill our cisterns from a pure fountain. The wis- 
dom that was the glory of Solomon, w^as the donation of the Most High : 
James i. 5, ' If any man want wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to 
all men liberally, [and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.' The 
faculty of understanding is from God by nature ; but a heavenly light to 
direct the understanding is from God by grace. Children have an under- 
standing, but stand in need of wise masters to rectify it, and form judicious 
notions in it. * There is a spirit in man, but the inspiration of the Almighty 
gives him understanding,' Job xxii. 8. We must beg of God wisdom. The 
gospel is ' the wisdom of God ;' the concerns of it great and mysterious, 
not to be known without a new understanding, 1 John v. 20. A new 
understanding is not to be had but from the Creator of the first. The 
Spirit of God is the * searcher of the deep things of God ;' the revealer of 
them to us, and the enlightener of our minds to apprehend them ; and there- 
fore called a ' Spirit of wisdom and revelation,' Eph. i. 17. Christ is made 
wisdom to us as well as righteousness, not only by imputation, but eflusiou.* 
Seek to God, therefore, for that wisdom which is like the sun, and not that 
worldly wisdom which is like a shadow ; for that wisdom whose effects are 
not so outwardly glorious, but inwardly sweet ; seek it from him, and seek 
it in his word, that is the transcript of divine wisdom ; through his precepts 
understanding is to be had, Ps. cxix. 104. As the wisdom of men appears 
in their laws, so doth the wisdom of God in his statutes. 

By this means we arrive to a heavenly sagacity. If these be rejected, 
what wisdom can be in us ? A dream and conceit only : Jer. viii. 9, ' They 
have rejected the word of the Lord, and what wisdom is in them ?' Who 
knows how to order any concerns as he ought, or any one faculty of the 
soul ? Therefore desire God's direction in outward concerns, in personal, 
* Seaman's Sermon before the Parliament. 

94 chaknock's works. [Kom. XVI. 27. 

family, in private and public. He hath not only a wisdom for our salvation, 
but for our outward direction. He doth not only guide us in the one, and 
leave Satan to manage us in the other. Those that go with Saul to a witch 
of Endor, go to hell for craft, and prefer the wisdom of the hostile serpent 
before the holy counsel of a faithful Ci*eator. If 3-ou want health in your body, 
you advise with a physician ; if directions for your estate, you resort to a 
lawyer; if passage for a voyage, you address to a pilot; why not much 
more yourselves, your all, to a wise God ? As Pliny said concerning a wise 
man. Oh, sir, how many Catos are there in that wise person ! how much 
more wisdom than men or angels possess, is infinitely centred in the 
wise God ! 

5. Submit to the wisdom of God in all cases. "What else was inculcated 
in the first precept, forbidding man to eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge 
of good and evil, but that he should take heed of the swelling of his mind 
against the wisdom of God ? It is a wisdom incomprehensible to flesh and 
blood. We should adore it in our minds, and resign up ourselves to it in our 
practice. How unreasonable are repinings against God, whereby a creature's 
ignorance indicts and judges a Creator's prudence ? Were God weak in wis- 
dom, and only mighty in power, we might suspect his conduct. Power 
without wisdom and goodness is an unruly and ruinous thing in the world ; 
but God being infinite in one, as well as the other, we have no reason to be 
jealous of him, and repine against his methods ; why should we quarrel with 
him that we are not as high or as wealthy as others ; that we have not pre- 
sently the mercy we want ? If he be wise, we ought to stay his time, and 
wait his leisure, because ' he is a God of judgment,' Isa. xxx. 18. Presume 
not to shorten the time which his discretion hath fixed ; it is a folly to think 
to do it. By impatience we cannot hasten rehef ; we ahenate him from us 
by debasing him to stand at our bar, disturb ourselves, lose the comfort of 
our lives and the sweetness of his mercy. Submission to God we are in no 
case exempted from, because there is no case wherein God doth not direct 
all the acts of his will by counsel. Whatsoever is drawn by a straight rule 
must be right and straight ; the rule that is right in itself is the measure of 
the straightness of everything else. Whatsoever is wrought in the world by 
God must be wise, good, righteous ; because God is essentially wisdom, 
goodness, and righteousness. Submit to God, 

(1.) In his revelations. 

[1.] Measure them not by reason. The truths of the gospel must ba 
received with a self-emptiness and annihilation of the creature. If our rea- 
son seems to lift up itself against revelation, because it finds no testimony for 
it in its own light, consider how crazy it is in natural and obvious things, and 
therefore sure it is not strong enough to enter into the depths of di-sdne wis- 
dom. The wisdom of God in the gospel is too great an ocean to be con- 
tained or laved out by a cockle-shell. It were not infinite, if it were not 
beyond our finite reach ; our reason must as well stoop to his wisdom, as our 
wills to his sovereignty. How great a vanity is it for a glow-worm to boast that 
it is as full of light as the sun in the firmament ! for reason to leave its 
proper sphere, is to fall into confusion, and thicken its own darkness. 
We should settle ourselves in the beUef of the Scripture, and confirm 
ourselves by a meditation on those many undeniable arguments for its 
divine authority ; the fulfilling of its predictions, the antiquity of the 
writing, the holiness of the precepts, the heavenliness of the doctrine, the 
glorious effects it hath produced, and doth yet produce, different from 
human methods of success, and submit our reason to the voice of so high 
a majesty. 

Rom. XVI. 27.J god's wisdom. 95 

[2.] Not to be too curiously inquisitive into what is not revealed. There 
is something hid in whatsoever is revealed. We know the Son of God was 
begotten from eternity, but how he was begotten we are ignorant. We 
know there is a union of the divine nature with the human, and that the 
fulness of the Godhead dwells in him hodily ; but the manner of its inhabi- 
tation we are in a great part ignorant of. We know God hath chosen some 
and refused others, and that he did it with counsel ; but the reason why he 
chose this man and not that, we know not ; we can refer it to nothing but 
God's sovereign pleasure. It is revealed that there will be a day wherein 
God shall judge the world, but the particular time is not revealed. We 
know that God created the world in time ; but why he did not create the 
v.'orld millions of years before, we are ignorant of, and our reasons would be 
bewildered in their too much curiosity. If we ask why he did not create it 
before, we may as well ask why he did create it then ? And may not the 
same question be asked, if the world had been created millions of years 
before it was ? That he created it in six days, and not in an instant, is 
revealed ; but why he did not do it in a moment, since we are sure he was 
able to do it, is not revealed. Are the reasons of a wise man's proceedings 
hid from us, and shall we presume to dive into the reason of the proceed- 
ings of an only wise God, which he hath judged not expedient to discover 
to us ? Some sparks of his wisdom he hath caused to issue out, to exercise 
and delight our minds ; others he keeps within the centre of his own breast. 
We must not go about to unlock his cabinet : as we cannot reach to the 
utmost lines of his power, so we cannot grasp the intimate reasons of his 
wisdom. We must still remember that what is finite can never be able to 
comprehend the reasons, motives, and methods of that which is infinite. It 
doth not become us to be resty, because God hath not admitted us into the 
debates of eternity. We are as little to be curious at what God hath hid, as 
to be careless of what God hath manifested. Too great an inquisitiveness 
beyond our line, is as much a provoking arrogance, as a blockish negligence 
of what is revealed is a slighting ingratitude. 

(2.) Submit to God in his precepts and methods. Since they are the 
results of infinite wisdom, disputes against them are not tolerable. What 
orders are given out by infallible wisdom are to be entertained with respect 
and reverence, though the reason of them be not visible to our purblind 
minds. Shall God have less respect from us than earthly princes, whose 
laws we observe without being able to pierce into the exact reason of them 
all ? Since we know he hath not a will without an understanding, our 
observance of him must be without repining. We must not think to mend 
our Creator's laws, and presume to judge and condemn his righteous 
statutes. If the, flesh rise up in opposition, we must cross its motions, and 
silence its murmurings. His will should be an acceptable will to us, because 
it is a wise will in itself. God hath no need to impose upon us and deceive 
us ; he hath just and righteous ways to attain his glory and his creatures' 
good. To deceive us would be to dishonour himself and contradict his own 
nature. He cannot impose false injurious precepts, or unavailable to his 
subjects' happiness ; not false, because of his truth ; not injurious, because 
of his goodness ; not vain, because of his wisdom. Submit, therefore, to 
him in his precepts, and in his methods too. The honour of his wisdom, 
and the interest of our happiness, calls for it. Had Noah disputed with 
God about building an ark, and listened to the scoffs of the senseless world, 
be had perished under the same fate, and lost the honour of a preacher and 
worker of righteousness. Had not the Israelites been their own enemies, if 
they had been permitted to be their own guides, and returned to the 

96 chabnock's works. [Rom. XVI. 27. 

Egyptian bondage and furnaces, instead of a liberty and eartbly felicity in 
Canaan ? Had our Saviour gratified the Jews by descending from the cross 
and freeing himself from the power of his adversaries, he might have had 
that faith from them which they promised him, but it had been a faith to 
• no purpose, because without ground ; they might have believed him to be 
the Son of God, but he could not have been the Saviour of the world. His 
death, the great ground and object of faith, had been accomplished, they had 
believed a God pardoning without a content to his justice, and such a faith 
could not have rescued them from falling into eternal misery. The precepts 
and methods of divine wisdom must be submitted to. 

(3.) Submit to God in all crosses and revolutions. Infinite wisdom cannot 
err in any of his paths, or step the least hair's-breadth from the way of 
righteousness. There is the understanding of God in every motion ; an eye 
in every wheel, the wheel that goes over us and crusheth us. We are 
led by fancy more than reason. We know no more what we ask or 
what is fit for us than the mother of Zebedee's children did, when she 
petitioned Christ for her sons' advancement, when he came into his 
temporal kingdom. Mat. xx, 22. The things we desire might pleasure 
our fancy or appetite, but impair our health. One man complains for 
want of children, but knows not whether they may prove comforts or 
crosses ; another for want of health, but knows not whether the health of 
his body may not prove the disease of his soul. We might lose in heavenly 
things, if we possess in earthly things what we long for. God, in regard of 
his infinite wisdom, is fitter to carve out a condition than we ourselves ; our 
shallow reason and self-love would wish for those things that are injurious 
to God, to ourselves, to the world, but God always chooses what is best 
for his glory, and what is best for his creatures, either in regard of them- 
selves, or as they stand in relation to him, or to others as parts of the 

We are in danger from our self-love, in no danger in complying with God's' 
wisdom. When Rachel would die if she had no children, she had children, 
but death with one of them. Gen. xxx. 1. Good men may conclude, that 
whatsoever is done by God in them or with them is best and fittest for them, 
because by the covenant [in] which makes over God to them, as their God, 
the conduct of his wisdom is assured to them as well as any other attribute ; 
and therefore, as God in every transaction appears as their God, so he 
appears as their wise director, and by this wisdom he extracts good out of 
evil, makes the afiiiction which destroys our outward comforts consume our 
inward defilements, and the waves which threatened to swallow up the 
vessel, to cast it upon the shore ; and when he hath occasion to manifest 
his anger against his people, his wisdom directs his wrath. In judgment 
he hath a work to do upon Zion, and when that work is done he ' punishes 
the fruit of the stout heart of the king of Assyria,' Isa. x. 12. As in the 
answers of prayer he doth give oftentimes ' above what we ask or think,' 
Eph. iii. 20, so in outward concerns he doth above what we can expect, 
or by our shortsightedness conclude will be done ; let us therefore in 
all things frame our minds to the divine wisdom, and say with the 
psalmist, Ps. xlvii. 4, ' The Lord shall choose our inheritance ' and condi- 
tion ' for us.' 

6. Censure not God in any of his ways. Can we understand the full 
scope of divine wisdom in creation, which is perfected before our eyes ? 
Can we by a rational knowledge walk over the whole surface of the earth, 
and wade through the sea ? Can we understand the nature of the heavens ? 
Are all, or most, or the thousandth part of the particles of divine skill. 

Rom. XVI. 27.] god's wisdom. 97 

known by us, yea, or any of them thoroughly known ? How can we then 
understand his deeper methods in things that are but of yesterday, that we 
have not had a time to view ! We should not be too quick or too rash in 
our judgments of him. The best that we attain to is but feeble conjectures 
at the designs of God. 

As there is something hid in whatsoever is revealed in his word, so there 
is something inacessible to us in his works, as well as in his nature and 
majesty. In our Saviour's act in washing his disciples' feet, he checked 
Peter's contradiction : John xiii. 7, ' What I do, thou knowest not now, 
but thou shalt know hereafter.' God were not infinitely wise, if the reason 
of all his acts were obvious to our shallowness. He is no profound states- 
man whose inward intention can be sounded by vulgar heads at the first act 
he starts in his designed method. The wise God is in this like wise men, 
that have not breasts like glasses of crystal, to discover all that they intend. 
There are ' secrets of wisdom' above our reach, Job xi. 6 ; nay, when we 
see all his acts, we cannot see all the draughts of his skill in them. An 
unskilful hearer of a musical lesson may receive the melody with his ear, 
and understand not the rarities of the composition as it was wrought by the 
musician's mind. Under the Old Testament there was more of divine 
power, and less of his wisdom apparent in his acts. As his laws, so his acts, 
were more fitted to their sense. Under the New Testament, there is more 
of wisdom, and less of power ; as his laws, so his acts, are more fitted to a 
spiritual mind; wisdom is less discernible than power. Our wisdom there- 
fore in this case, as it doth in other things, consists in silence and expecta- 
tion of the end and event of a work. We owe that honour to God that we 
do to men wiser than ourselves, to imagine he hath reason to do what he 
doth, though our shallowness cannot comprehend it. We must suffer God 
to be wiser than ourselves, and acknowledge that there is something sovereign 
in his ways, not to be measured by the feeble reed of our weak understand- 
ings, and therefore we should acquiesce in his proceedings ; take heed we 
be not found slanderers of God, but be adorers instead of censurers, and lift 
up our hands in admiration of him and his ways, instead of citing him to 
answer it at our bar. Many things in the fii'st appearance may seem to be 
rash and unjust, which in the issue appear comely and regular. If it had 
been plainly spoke before that the Son of God should die, that a most holy 
person should be crucified, it would have seemed cruel to expose a Son to 
misery, unjust to inflict punishment upon one that was no criminal, to join 
together exact goodness and physical evil, that the sovereign should die for 
the malefactor, and the observer of the law for the idolaters* of it. But 
when the whole design is unravelled, what an admirable conjunction is there 
of justice and mercy, love and wisdom, which before would have appeared 
absurd to the muddied reason of man ! 

We see the gardener pulling up some delightful flowers by the roots, 
digging up the earth, overwhelming it with dung; an ignorant person would 
imagine him wild, out of his wits, and charge him with spoiling his garden ; 
but when the spring is arrived, the spectator will acknowledge his skill in 
his former operations. 

The truth is, the whole design and methods of God are not to be judged 
by us in this world ; the full declaration of the whole contexture is reserved 
for the other world, to make up a part of good men's happiness, in the 
amazing views of divine wisdom, as well as the other perfections of his 
nature. We can no more perfectly understand his wisdom, than we can his 
mercy and justice, till we see the last lines of all drawn, and the full expres- 
* Qu. ' violators ' ? — Ed. 


98 charnock's works. [Rom. XVI. 27. 

sions of them ; \ve should therefore be sober and modest in the considera- 
tion of God's ways : ' His judgments are unsearchable, and his ways past 
finding out.' The riches of his wisdom are past our counting, his depths 
not to be fathomed, yet they are depths of righteousness and equity; though 
the full manifestation of that equity, the grounds and methods of his proceed- 
ings, are unknown to us. As we are too short fully to know God, so we 
are too ignorant fully to comprehend the acts of God. Since he is a God 
of judgment, we should wait till we see the issue of his works, Isa. xxx. 18, 
and in the meantime, with the apostle in the text, give him the glory of 
all, in the same expressions : ' To the only wise God be glory, through Jesus 
Christ, for ever ! Amen.' 


Lo, these are parts of his loays : hut how little a portion is heard of him ? hut 
the thunder of his power ivho can understand? — Job XXVI. 14. 

BiLDAD had, in the foregoing chapter, entertained Job with a discourse of 
the dominion and power of God, and the purity of his righteousness, whence 
he argues an impossibility of the justification of man in his presence, who is 
no better than a worm. Job in this chapter acknowledges the greatness of 
God's power, and descants more largely upon it than Bildad had done, but 
doth preface it with a kind of ironical speech, as if he had not acted a 
friendly part, or spake little to the purpose or the matter in hand ; the sub- 
ject of Job's discourse was the worldly happiness of the wicked, and the 
calamities of the godly. And Bildad reads him a lecture of the extent of 
God's dominion, the number of his armies, and the unspotted rectitude of his 
nature, in comparison of which the purest creatures are foul and crooked. Job 
therefore, from ver. 1 to ver. 4, taxeth him in a kind of scoffing manner, that 
he had not touched the point, but rambled from the subject in hand, and had 
not applied a salve proper to his sore : ver. 2, * How hast thou helped him 
that is without power ? how savest thou the arm of him that hath no 
strength ? ' &c. Your discourse is so impertinent that it will neither 
strengthen a weak person nor instruct a simple one;* but since Bildad 
would take up an argument of God's power, and discourse so short of it, 
Job would shew that he wanted not his instructions in that kind, and that 
he had more distinct conceptions of it than his antagonist had uttered ; and 
therefore, from ver. 5 to the end of the chapter, he doth magnificently treat 
of the power of God in several branches, and ver. 5 he begins with the 

' Dead things are formed from under the waters, and the inhabitants 
thereof.' You read me a lecture of the power of God in the heavenly host; 
indeed, it is visible there, yet of a larger extent, and monuments of it are 
found in the lower parts. What do you think of those dead things under 
the earth and waters, of the corn that dies, and by the moistening influences 
of the clouds springs up again with a numerous progeny and increase for the 
nourishment of man ? What do you think of those varieties of metals and 
minerals conceived in the bowels of the earth, those pearls and riches iu 
the depths of the waters, midwifed by this power of God ? Add to these 
* Miinster. 

100 charnock's works. [Job XXVI. 14. 

those more prodigious creatures in the sea, the inhabitants of the waters, 
with their vastness and variety, which are all the births of God's power, 
both in their first creation by his mighty voice, and their propagation 
by his cherishing providence. 

Stop not here, but consider also that his power extends to hell, either the 
graves, the repositories of all the crumbled dust that hath yet been in the 
world (for so hell is sometimes taken in Scripture : ver. 6, ' Hell is naked 
before him, and destruction hath no covering'). The several lodgings of 
deceased men are known to him ; no screen can obscure them from his 
sight, nor their dissolution be any bar to his power, when the time is come 
to compact those mouldered bodies to entertain again their departed souls, 
either for weal or woe. The grave, or ' hell,' the place of punishment, ' is 
naked before him ; ' as distinctly discerned by him as a naked body in all its 
lineaments by us, or a dissected body is in all its parts by a skilful eye. 
' Destruction hath no covering ; ' none can free himself from the power of 
his hand. Every person in the bowels of hell, every person punished there, 
is known to him, and feels the power of his wrath. 

From the lower parts of the world he ascends to the consideration of the 
power of God in the creation of heaven and earth : ' He stretches out the 
north over the empty places,' ver. 7 ; the north, or the north pole, over the 
air, which by the Greeks was called void or empty, because of the tenuity 
and thinness of that element ; and he mentions here the north or north 
pole for the whole heaven, because it is more known and apparent than the 
southern pole.' ' And hangs the earth upon nothing ; ' the massy and weighty 
earth hangs like a thick globe in the midst of a thin air, that there is as much 
air on the one side of it as on the other. The heavens have no prop to sus- 
tain them in their height, and the earth hath no basis to support it in its 
place. The heavens are as if you saw a curtain stretched smooth in the air 
without any hand to hold it, and the earth is as if you saw a ball hanging in 
the air without any solid body to underprop it, or any line to hinder it 
from falling, both standing monuments of the omnipotence of God. 

He then takes notice of his daily power in the clouds : ' He binds up the 
waters in his thick clouds, and the cloud is not rent under them,' ver 8. He 
compacts the waters together in clouds, and keeps them by his power in the 
air, against the force of their natural gravity and heaviness, till they are fit 
to flow down upon the earth, and perform his pleasure in the places for 
which he designs them: 'The cloud is not rent under them,' the thin air 
is not split asunder by the weight of the waters contained in the cloud above 
it. He causes them to distil by drops, and strains them as it were through 
a thin lawn, for the refreshment of the earth ; and suffers them not to fall 
in the whole lump with a violent torrent, to waste the industry of man, and 
bring famine upon the world, by destroying the fruits of the earth. What 
a wonder would it be to see but one entire drop of water hang itself but one 
inch above the ground, unless it be a bubble, which is preserved by the air 
enclosed within it ! What a wonder would it be to see a gallon of water 
contained in a thin cobweb as strongly as in a vessel of brass ! Greater is 
the wonder of divine power in those thin bottles of heaven, as they are 
called. Job xxxviii. 37, and therefore called his clouds here, as being daily 
instances of his omnipotence. That the air should sustain those rolling 
vessels, as it should seem, weightier than itself ; that the force of this mass 
of waters should not break so thin a prison, and hasten to its proper place, 
which is below the air ; that they should be daily confined against their 
natural inclination, and held by so slight a chain ; that there should be such a 
gradual and successive falling of them, as if the air were pierced with holes 

Job XXYI. 14.] god's power. 101 

like a gardener's watering-pot, and not fall in one entire body to drown or 
drench some parts of the earth : these are hourly miracles of divine power, 
as little regarded as clearly visible. 

He proceeds : ver. 9, ' He holds back the face of his throne, and spreads 
the cloud upon it.' The clouds are designed as curtains to cover the 
heavens, as well as vessels to water the earth, Ps. cxlvii. 8 ; as a tapestry 
curtain between the heavens, the throne of God, Isa. Ixvi. 1, and the earth 
his footstool. The heavens are called his throne, because his power doth 
most shine forth there, and magnificently declare the glory of God ; and the 
clouds are as a screen between the scorching heat of the sun, and the tender 
plants of the earth, and the weak bodies of men. 

From hence he descends to the sea, and considers the divine power appa- 
rent in the bounding of it: ver. 10, 'He hath compassed the waters with 
bounds, till the day and night come to an end.' This is several times men- 
tioned in Scripture as a signal mark of divine strength, Job xxxviii. 8, Prov. 
viii. 27. He hath measured a place for the sea, and struck the limits of it 
as with a compass, that it might not mount above the surface of the land, 
and ruin the ends of the earth's creation ; and this while day and night 
have their mutual turns, till he shall make an end of time by removing the 
measures of it. The bounds of the tumultuous sea are in many places as weak 
as the bottles of the upper waters ; the one is contained in thin air, and the 
other restrained by w^eak sands in many places, as well as by stubborn rocks 
in others; that though it swells, foams, roars, and the waves encouraged and 
egged on by strong winds, come like mountains against the shore, they over- 
flow it not, but humble themselves when they come near to those sands 
which are set as their lists and limits, and retire back to the womb that 
brought them forth, as if they were ashamed, and repented of their proud 
invasion. Or else it may be meant of the tides of the sea, and the stated 
time God hath set for its ebbing and flowing, till day and night come to an 
end;* both that the fluid waters should contain themselves within due 
bounds, and keep their perpetual orderly motion, are amazing arguments of 
divine power. 

He passes on to the consideration of the commotions in the air and earth, 
raised and stilled, by the power of God : ' The pillars of heaven tremble, and 
are astonished at his reproof.' By pillars of heaven are not meant angels, 
as some think, but either the air, called the pillars of heaven in regard to 
place, as it continues and knits together the parts of the world, as pillars do 
the upper and nether parts of a building. As the lowest parts of the earth 
are called the foundations of the earth, so the lowest parts of the heaven 
may be called the pillars of heaven. f Or else by that phrase may be meant 
mountains, which seem at a distance to touch the sky, as pillars do the top 
of a structure; and so it may be spoken according to vulgar capacity, which 
imagines the heavens to be sustained by the two extreme parts of the earth 
as a convex body, or to be arched by pillars ; whence the Scripture, accord- 
ing to common apprehensions, mentions the ends of the earth, and the 
utmost parts of the heavens, though they have properly no eiid, as being 
round. The power of God is seen in those commotions in the air and earth, 
by thunders, lightnings, storms, earthquakes, which rack the air, and make 
the mountains and hills tremble, as servants before a frowning and rebuking 

And as he makes motions in the earth and air, so is his power seen in 
their influences upon the sea : ' He judges the sea with his power, and hj 
his understanding he smites through the proud,' ver. 12. At the creation 
* Coccei in Joe. t Coccei. 

102 chaenock's woeks. [Job XXVI. 14. 

he put the waters into several channels, and caused the dry land to appear 
barefaced for a habitation for man and beasts ; or rather, he splits the sea 
by storms, as though he would make the bottom of the deep visible, and 
rakes up the sands to the surface of the waters, and marshals the waves 
into mountains and valleys. After that he * smites through the proud,' 
that is, humbles the proud waves ; and by allaying the storm, reduceth 
them to their former level. The power of God is visible as well in rebuking 
as in awakening the winds; he makes them sensible of his voice, and 
according to his pleasure exasperates or calms them. The striking through 
the proud here is not probably meant of the destruction of the Egyptian 
army ; for some guess that Job died that year,* or about the time of the 
Israelites coming out of Egypt; so that this discourse here being in the 
time of his affliction, could not point at that which was done after his restora- 
tion to his temporal prosperity. 

And now at last he sums up the power of God in the chiefest of his works 
above, and the greatest wonder of his works below: ver. 13, 'By his Spirit 
he hath garnished the heavens; his hand hath formed the crooked serpent,' 
&c. The greater and lesser lights, sun, moon, and stars, the ornaments and 
furniture of heaven; and the whale, a prodigious monument of God's power, 
often mentioned in Scripture to this purpose, and in particular in this book 
of Job, chap, xli., and called by the same name of crooked serpent, Isa. 
xxvii. 1, where it is applied by way of metaphor to the king of Assyria or 
Egypt, or all oppressors of the church. Various interpretations there are 
of this crooked serpent : some understanding that constellation in heaven 
which astronomers call the dragon, some that combination of weaker stars 
which they call the galaxia, which winds about the heavens ; but it is most 
probable that Job, drawing near to a conclusion of his discourse, joins the 
two greatest testimonies of God's power in the world, the highest heavens 
and the lowest leviathan, which is here called a bar serpent (as the word 
signifies in the Hebrew), in regard of his strength and hardness, as mighty 
men are called bars in Scripture : Jer. li. 30, ' Her bars are broken things.' 
And in regard of this power of God in the creation of this creature, it is 
particularly mentioned in the catalogue of God's works: Gen. i. 21, 'And 
God created great whales,' all the other creatures being put into one sum, 
and not particularly expressed. 

And now he makes the use of this lecture in the text : * Lo, those are 
parts of his ways ; but how little a portion is heard of him ? but the thunder 
of his power who can understand ? ' This is but a small landscape of some 
of his works of power, the outsides and extremities of it; more glorious 
things are within his palaces. Though those things argue a stupendous 
power of the Creator in his works of creation and providence, yet they are 
nothing to what may be declared of his power. And what may be declared 
is nothing to what may be conceived; and what may be conceived, is 
nothing to what is above the conceptions of any creature. These are but 
little crumbs and fragments of that infinite power which is in his nature, 
like a drop in comparison of the mighty ocean; a hiss or whisper in com- 
parison of a mighty voice of thunder.f This which I have spoken is but 
like a spark to the fiery region, a few lines by the by, a drop of speech. 

' The thunder of his power.' Some understand it of thunder literally, for 
material thunder in the air. ' The thunder of his power,' that is, according 
to the Hebrew dialect, 'his powerful thunder.' This is not the sense; the 
nature of thunder in the air doth not so much exceed the capacity of human 
understanding, it is therefore rather to be understood metaphorically. ' The 
* Drusius in loc, f CEcolamp. 

Job XXYI. 14.] god's pow-ek. 103 

thunder of his power,' that is, the greatness and immensity of his power 
manifested in the magnificent miracles of nature, in the consideration 
whereof men are astonished, as if they had heard an unusual clap of 
thunder. So thunder is used. Job xxxix. 25, ' The thunder of the cap- 
tains,' that is, strength and force of the captains of an army. And ver. 19, 
God, speaking to Job of a horse, saith, ' Hast thou clothed his neck with 
thunder ? ' that is, strength. And thunder being a mark of the power of 
God, some of the heathen have called God by the name of a thunderer.* 
As thunder pierceth the lowest places, and alters the state of things, so doth 
the power of God penetrate into all things whatsoever. ' The thunder of his 
power,' that is, the greatness of his power; as 'the strength of salvation,' 
Ps. XX. 6, that is, a mighty salvation. 

' Who can understand ? ' Who is able to count all the monuments of his 
power ? How doth this little which I have spoken of exceed the capacity 
of our understanding, and is rather the matter of our astonishment than the 
object of our comprehensive knowledge ? The power of the greatest poten- 
tate or the mightiest creature is but of small extent ; none but have their 
limits ; it may be understood how far they can act, in what sphere their 
activity is bounded ; but when I have spoken all of divine power that I can, 
when you have thought all that you can think of it, your souls will 
prompt you to conceive something more, beyond what I have spoken and 
what you have thought. His power shines in everything, and is beyond 
everything. There is infinitely more power lodged in his nature, not 
expressed to the world. The understanding of men and angels centered in 
one creature, would fall short of the perception of the infiniteness of it. 
All that can be comprehended of it are but little fringes of it, a small 
portion. No man ever discoursed, or can, of God's power according to the 
magnificence of it. No creature can conceive it; God himself only com- 
prehends it, God himself is only able to express it. Man's power being 
limited, his line is too short to measure the incomprehensible omni- 
potence of God : ' The thunder of his power who can understand ? ' that is, 
none can. 

The text is a lofty declaration of the divine power, with a particular note 
of attention, Lo ! 

1. In the expressions of it in the works of creation and providence : ' Lo, 
these are his ways.' Ways and works excelling any created strength, refer- 
ring to the little summary of them he had made before. 

2. In the insufiiciency of these ways to measure his power : * but how 
little a portion is heard of them ! ' 

3. In the incomprehensibleness of it : ' the thunder of his power who can 
understand ? ' 

Doct. Infinite and incomprehensible power pertains to the nature of God, 
and is expressed in part in his works ; or, though there be a mighty expres- 
sion of divine power in his works, yet an incomprehensible power pertains 
to his nature : * the thunder of his power who can understand ?' 

His power glitters in all his works, as well as his wisdom : Ps. Ixii. 11, 
' Twice have I heard this, that power belongs unto God.' In the law and 
in the prophets, say some ; but why power twice, and not mercy, which he 
speaks of in the following verse ? He had heard of power twice, from the 
voice of creation and from the voice of government. Mercy was heard in 

* The ancient Gauls worshipped him under the name of Taranis. The Greeks 
called Jupiter BeovraTog; and Thor, whence our Thursday is derived, signifieth thun- 
derer, a title the Germans gave their god; and Toran in the British language sig- 
nifies thunder. — Vota. Idolo. lib, ii. cap. xxxiii. ; Camb. Britan. p. 17. 

104 chaknock's works. [Job XXVI. 14. 

government after man's fall, not in creation ; innocent man was an object of 
God's goodness, not of his mercy, till he made himself miserable. -• Power 
was expressed in both ; or, ' Twice have I heard that power belongs to God,' 
that is, it is a certain and undoubted truth, that power is essential to the 
divine nature. It is true, mercy is essential, justice is essential ; but power 
more apparently essential, because no acts of mercy, or justice, or wisdom 
can be exercised by him without power. The repetition of a thing confirms 
the certainty of it. Some observe that God is called Almighty seventy times 
in Scripture.* Though his power be evident in all his works, yet he hath 
a power beyond the expression of it in his works, which, as it is the glory of 
bis nature, so it is the comfort of a believer ; to which purpose the apostle 
espresseth it by an excellent periphrasis for the honour of the divine nature, 
Eph. iii. 20, ' Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above 
all that we can ask or think, unto him be glory in the churches.' We have 
reason to acknowledge him almighty, who hath a power of acting above our 
power of understanding. Who could have imagined such a powerful opera- 
tion in the propagation of the gospel and the conversion of the Gentiles, 
which the apostle seems to hint at in that place ? His power is expressed 
by * horns in his hands,' Hab. iii. 4, because all the works of his hands are 
wrought with almighty strength. Power is also used as a name of God : 
Mark xiv. 62, ' The Son of man sitting on the right hand of power,' that is, 
at the right hand of God. God and power are so inseparable, that they are 
reciprocated. As his essence is immense, not to be confined in place ; as it 
is eternal, not to be measured by time ; so it is almighty, not to be limited 
in regard of action. 

1. It is ingeniously illustrated by some by a unit.f All numbers depend 
upon it : it makes numbers by addition, multiplies them unexpressibly ; 
when one unit is removed from a number, how vastly doth it diminish it ! 
It gives perfection to all other numbers ; it receives perfection from none. 
If you add a unit before 100, how doth it multiply it to 1100. If you set 
a unit before twenty millions, it presently makes the number swell up to an 
hundred and twenty millions ; and so powerful is a unit by adding it to 
numbers, that it will infinitely enlarge them to such a vastness, that shall 
transcend the capacity of the best arithmetician to count them. By such a 
meditation as this, you may have some prospect of the power of that God 
who is only unity, the beginning of all things, as a unit is the beginning of 
all numbers ; and can perform as many things really as a unit can numeri- 
cally, that is, can do as much in the making of creatures, as a unit can do in 
the multiplying of numbers. The omnipotence of God was scarce denied by 
any heathen that did not deny the being of a God, and that was Pliny, and 
that upon weak arguments. 

2. Indeed, we cannot have a conception of God, if we conceive him not 
most powerful, as well as most wise. He is not a God that cannot do what 
he will, and perform all his pleasure. If we imagine him restrained in his 
power, we imagine him limited in his essence. As he hath an infinite know- 
ledge to know what is possible, he cannot be without an infinite power to do 
what is possible. As he hath a will to resolve what he sees good, so he 
cannot want a power to effect what he sees good to decree. As the essence 
of a creature cannot be conceived -without that activity that belongs to his 
nature ; as when you conceive fire, you cannot conceive it without a power 
of burning and warming, and when you conceive water, you cannot conceive 
it without a power of moistening and cleansing : so you cannot conceive an 

* Lessius, de Perfect. Divin., lib. v. cap. 1. 
t Fotherby, Atlieomastic, p. 306, 307. 

Job XXVI. 14.] god's powee. 105 

infinite essence without an infinite power of activity. And therefore a heathen 
could say, ' If you know God, you know he can do all things ; ' and therefore 
saith Austin, * Give me not only a Christian, but a Jew ; not only a Jew, but 
a heathen, that will deny God to be almighty.' A Jew, a heathen, may deny 
Christ to be omnipotent, but no heathen will deny God to be omnipotent, 
and no devil will deny either to be so. God cannot be conceived without 
some power, for then he must be conceived without action. Whose, then, 
are those products and eftects of power which are visible to us in the world ? 
to whom do they belong ? who is the father of them ? God cannot be con- 
ceived without a power suitable to his nature and essence. If we imagine 
him to be of an infinite essence, we must imagine him to be of an infinite 
power and strength. 

In particular, I shall shew, 

I. The nature of this power. 

II. Eeasons to prove that God must needs be powerful. 

III. How his power appears : in creation, in government, in redemption. 

IV. The use. 

I. What this power is ; or, the nature of it. 

1. Power sometimes signifies authority, and a man is said to be mighty 
and powerful in regard of his dominion, and the right he hath to command 
multitudes of other persons to take his part ; but power taken for strength, 
and power taken for authority, are distinct things, and may be separated 
from one another. Power may be without authority, as in successful inva- 
sions that have no just foundation. Authority may be without power, as in 
a just prince expelled by an unjust rebellion ; the authority resides in him, 
though he be overpowered, and is destitute of strength to support and exer- 
cise that authority. The power of God is not to be understood of his autho- 
rity and dominion, but his strength to act, and the word in the text (inni3^> 
Sept. G^svog) properly signifies strength. 

2. This power is divided ordinarily into absolute and ordinate. Absolute, 
is that power whereby God is able to do that which he will not do, but_ is 
possible to be done ; ordinate, is that power whereby God doth that which 
he hath decreed to do, that is, which he hath ordained or appointed to be 
exercised ;* which are not distinct powers, but one and the same power : 
his ordinate power is a part of his absolute ; for if he had not a power to do 
everything that he could will, he might not have a power to do everything 
that he doth will. 

The object of his absolute power is all things possible ; such things that 
imply not a contradiction, such that are not repugnant in their own nature 
to be done, and such as are not contrary to the nature and perfections of 
God to be done. Those things that are repugnant in their own nature to be 
done are several, as to make a thing which is past not to be past. As for 
example, the world is created. God could have chose whether he would 
create the world, and after it is created he hath power to dissolve it ; but 
after it was created, and when it is dissolved, it will be eternally true that 
the world was created, and that it was dissolved ; for it is impossible that 
that which was once true should ever be false. If it be true that the world 
was created, it will for ever be true that it wiis created, and cannot be other- 
wise ; and also, if it be once true that God hath decreed, it is impossible 
in its own nature to be true that God hath not decreed. Some things are 
repugnant to the nature and perfections of God, as it is impossible for his 
nature to die and perish, impossible for him, in regard of truth, to he and 
* Scaliger, Publ. Exercit., 365, sec. 8. 

106 chaknock's works, [Job XXVI. 14. 

deceive ; but of this hereafter. Only at present to understand the object of 
God's absolute power to be things possible, that is, possible in nature ; not 
by any strength in themselves or of themselves, for nothing hath no strength, 
and everything is nothing before it comes into being.* So God, by his abso- 
lute power, might have prevented the sin of the fallen angels, and so have 
preserved them in their first habitation. He might, by his absolute power, 
have restrained the devil fi-om tempting of Eve, or restrained her and Adam 
from swallowing the bait, and joining hands with the temptation. By his 
absolute power, God might have given the reins to Peter to betray his master, 
as well as to deny him, and employed Judas in the same glorious and success- 
ful service wherein he employed Paul. By his absolute power, he might 
have created the world millions of years before he did create it, and can 
reduce it into its empty nothing this moment. This the Baptist affirms 
when he tells us, that ' God is able of these stones ' (meaning the stones in 
the wilderness, and not the people which came out to him out of Judea, 
which were children of Abraham) ' to raise up children to Abraham,' Mat. 
iii. 9, that is, there is a possibility of such a thing, there is no contradiction 
in it, but that God is able to do it if he please. 

But now the object of his ordinate power is all things ordained by him to 
be done, all things decreed by him ; and because of the divine ordination of 
things, this power is called ordinate ; and what is thus ordained by him he 
cannot but do, because of his unchangeableness. Both those powers are 
expressed. Mat. xxvi. 53, 54, 'My Father can send twelve legions of angels,' 
there is his absolute power ; ' but how then shall the Scriptures be fulfilled, 
that thus it must be ? ' there is his ordinate power. As his power is free 
from any act of his will, it is called absolute ; as it is joined with an act of 
his will, it is called ordinate. His absolute power is necessary, and belongs 
to his nature ; his ordinate power is free, and belongs to his will, a power 
guided by his will : not, as I said before, that they are two distinct powers, 
both belonging to his nature, but the latter is the same with the former, 
only it is guided by his will and wisdom. 

3. It follows, then, that the power of God is that ability and strength 
whereby he can bring to pass whatsoever he please, whatsoever his infinite 
wisdom can direct, and whatsoever the infinite purity of his will can resolve. 
Power, in the primary notion of it, doth not signify an act, but an ability to 
bring a thing into act ; it is power, as able to act before it doth actually 
produce a thing. As God had an ability to create before he did create, he 
had power before he acted that power without. Power notes the principle 
of the action, and therefore is greater than the act itself. Power exercised 
and difiused in bringing forth and nursing up its particular objects without, 
is unconceivably less than that strength which is infinite in himself, the 
same with his essence, and is indeed himself. By his power exercised, he 
doth whatsoever he actually wills ; but by the power in his nature, he is 
able to do whatsoever he is able to will. The will of creatures may be^and 
is more extensive than their power, and their power more contracted and 
shortened than their will ; but, as the prophet saith, ' His counsel shall 
stand, and he will do all his pleasure,' Isa. xlvi, 10. His power is as great 
as his will ; that is, whatsoever can fall within the verge of his will, falls 
within the compass of his power. Though he will never actually will this 
or that, yet supposing he should will it, he is able to perform it. So that 
you must in your notion of divine power enlarge it further than to think 
God can only do what he hath resolved to do ; but that he hath as infinite 
a capacity of power to act as he hath an infinite capacity of will to resolve. 
* Estius in Sent., lib. i. dist. 43, sec. 2. 

Job XXVI. 14.] god's power. 107 

Besides, this power is of that nature, that he can do whatsoever he pleases 
without difficulty, without resistance ; it cannot be checked, restrained, 
frustrated.* As he can do all things possible in regard of the object, he 
can do all things easily in regard of the manner of acting. What in human 
artificers is knowledge, labour, industry, that in God is his will ; his will 
works without labour, his works stand forth as he wills them. Hands and 
arms are ascribed to him for our conceptions, because our power of acting 
is distinct from our will ; but God's power of acting is not really distinct 
from his will, it is sufficient to the existence of a thing that God wills it to 
exist ; he can act what he will only by his will, without any instruments. 
He needs no matter to work upon, because he can make something from 
nothing ; all matter owes itself to his creative power. He needs no time to 
work in, for he can make time when he pleases to begin to work ; he needs 
no copy to work by, himself is his own pattern and copy in his works. All 
created agents want matter to work upon, instruments to work with, copies 
to work by, time to bring either the births of their minds or the works of 
their hands to perfection ; but the power of God needs none of these things, 
but is of a vast and incomprehensible nature, beyond all these. As nothing 
can be done without the compass of it, so itself is without the compass of 
every created understanding. 

4. This power is of a distinct conception from the wisdom and will of 
God. They are not really distinct, but according to our conceptions. We 
cannot discourse of divine things without observing some proportion of them 
with human, ascribing unto God the perfections, sifted from the imperfec- 
tions of our nature. In us there are three orders, of understanding, will, 
power ; and accordingly three acts, counsel, resolution, execution ; which, 
though they are distinct in us, are not really distinct in God. In our con- 
ceptions, the apprehension of a thing belongs to the understanding of God ; 
determination, to the will of God ; direction, to the wisdom of God ; exe- 
cution, to the power of God. The knowledge of God regards a thing as 
possible, and as it may be done ; the wisdom of God regards a thing as fit 
and convenient to be done ; the will of God resolves that it shall be done ; 
the power of God is the application of his will to efiect what it hath resolved. 
Wisdom is a fixing the being of things, the measures and perfections of their 
several beings ; power is a conferring those perfections and beings upon 
them. His power is his ability to act, and his wisdom is the director of his 
action. His will orders, his wisdom guides, 'and his power effects. His will 
as the spring, and his power as the worker, are expressed, Ps. cxv. 3, ' He 
hath done whatsoever he pleased.' ' He commanded, and they were 
created,' Ps. cxlviii. 5. And all three expressed Eph. i. 11, ' Who works 
all things according to the counsel of his own will.' So that the power of 
God is a perfection (as it were) subordinate to his understanding and will, 
to execute the results of his wisdom and the orders of his will ; to his wis- 
dom, as directing, because he works skilfully ; to his will, as moving and 
applying, because he works voluntarily and freely. The exercise of his 
power depends upon his will. His will is the supreme cause of everything 
that stands up in time, and all things receive a being as he wills them. His 
power is but will perpetually working, and diffusing itself in the season his 
will hath fixed from eternity. It is his eternal will, in perpetual and suc- 
cessive springs and streams in the creatures ; it is nothing else but the 
constant efficacy of his omnipotent will. This must be understood of his 
ordinate power. But his absolute power is larger than his resolving will ; 
for though the Scripture tells us he hath done whatsoever he will, yet it tells 
♦ Cra. Syntag., lib. iii. cap. xvii. p. 611. 

108 charnock's works. [Job XXVI. 14. 

us not that he hath done whatsoever he could. He can do things that he 
will never do. 

Again, his power is distinguished from his will in regard of the exercise 
of it, which is after the act of his will. His will was conversant about 
objects when his power was not exercised about them. Creatures were the 
objects of his will from eternity, but they were not from eternity the effects 
of his power. His purpose to create was from eternity, but the execution 
of his purpose was in time. Now, this execution of his will we call his 
ordinate power. His wisdom and his will are supposed antecedent to his 
power, as the counsel and resolve, as the cause precedes the performance of 
the purpose, as the effect. Some* distinguish his power from his under- 
standing and will, in regard that his understanding and will are larger than 
his absolute power ; for God understands sins, and wills to permit them, 
but he cannot himself do any evil or unjust action, nor have a power of 
doing it. But this is not to distinguish that divine power, but impotence + ; 
for to be unable to do evil is the perfection of power, and to be able to do 
things unjust and evil is a weakness, imperfection, and inability. Man 
indeed wills many things that he is not able to perform, and understands 
many things that he is not able to effect ; he understands much of the crea- 
tures, something of sun, moon, and stars ; he can conceive many suns, many 
moons, yet is not able to create the least atom. But there is nothing that 
belongs to power but God understands and is able to effect. To sum this 
up, the will of God is the root of all, the wisdom of God is the copy of all, 
and the powder of God is the framer of all. 

5. The power of God gives activity to all the other perfections of his 
nature, and is of a larger extent and efficacy, in regard of its objects, than 
some perfections of his nature. I put them both together. 

(1.) It contributes life and activity to all the other perfections of his 
nature. How vain would be his eternal counsels, if power did not step in 
to execute them ? His mercy would be a feeble pity, if he were destitute of 
power to relieve ; and his justice a slighted scare-crow, without power to 
punish; his promises an empty sound, without power to accomplish them. 
As holiness is the beauty, so power is the life of all his attributes in their 
exercise ; and as holiness, so power is an adjunct belonging to all, a term 
that may be given to all. God hath a powerful wisdom to attain his ends, 
without interruption. He hath a powerful mercy to remove our miser}' ; a 
powerful justice to lay all misery upon offenders ; he hath a powerful truth 
to perform his promises ; an infinite power to bestow rewards and inflict 
penalties. It is to this pru-pose power is first put in the two things which 
the psalmist had heard : Ps. Ixii. 11, 12, ' Twice have I heard,' or * two 
things have I heard ;' first power, then mercy and justice included in that 
expression, ' Thou renaerest to every man according to his work.' In every 
perfection of God he heard of power. This is the arm, the hand of the 
Deity, which all his other attributes lay hold on, when they would appear 
in their glory ; this hands them to the world, by this they act, in this they 
triumph. Power framed every stage for their appearance in creation, pro- 
vidence, redemption. 

(2.) It is of a larger extent, in regard of its objects, than some other attri- 
butes. Power doth not alway suppose an object, but constitutes an object. 
It supposeth an object in the act of preservation, but it makes an object in 
the act of creation ; but mercy supposeth an object miserable, yet doth not 
make it so. Justice supposeth an object criminal, but doth not constitute 
it so ; mercy supposeth him miserable, to relieve him. Justice supposeth 
* Gamachcus. t Qu. ' ioipotence, but power ' ? — Ed. 

Job XXVI. 14.] god's power. 109 

him criminal, to punish him ; but power supposeth not a thing in real 
existence, but as possible ; or rather, it is from power that anything hath a 
possibility, if there be no repugnancy in the nature of the thing. 

Again, power extends further than either mercy or justice. Mercy hath 
particular objects, which justice shall not at last be willing to punish ; and 
justice hath particular objects, which mercy at last shall not be willing to 
refresh ; but power doth, and alway will extend to the objects of both mercy 
and justice. A creature, as a creature, is neither the object of mercy nor 
justice, nor of rewarding goodness ; a creature, as innocent, is the object 
of rewarding goodness ; a creature, as miserable, is the object of compas- 
sionate mercy ; a creature, as criminal, is the object of revenging justice ; 
but all of them the objects of power, in conjunction with those attributes of 
goodness, mercy, and justice, to which they belong. All the objects that 
mercy, and justice, and truth, and wisdom, exercise themselves about, have 
a possibiHty and an actual being from this perfection of divine power. It 
is power first frames a creature in a capacity of nature for mercy or justice, 
though it doth not give an immediate qualification for the exercise of either. 
Power makes man a rational creature, and so confers upon him a nature 
mutable, which may be miserable by its own fault, and punishable by 
God's justice, or pitiable by God's compassion, and relievable by God's 
mercy ; but it doth not make him sinful, whereby he becomes miserable and 

Again, power runs through all the decrees of the states of a creature. As 
a thing is possible, or may be made, it is the object of absolute power ; as it 
is facdhile, or ordered to be made, it is the object of ordinate power. As a 
thing is actually made, and brought into being, it is the object of preserving 
power. So that power doth stretch out its arms to all the works of God, 
in all their circumstances, and at all times. When mercy ceaseth to relieve 
a creature, when justice ceaseth to punish a creature, power ceaseth not to 
preserve a creature. The blessed in heaven, that are out of the reach of 
punishing justice, are for ever maintained by power in that blessed condi- 
tion ; the damned in hell, that are cast out of the bosom of entreating 
mercy, are for ever sustained in those remediless torments by the arm of 

6. This power is originally and essentially in the nature of God, and not 
distinct from his essence. It is originally and essentially in God. The 
strength and power of great kings is originally in their people, and managed 
and ordered by the authority of the prince for the common good. Though 
a prince hath authority in his person to command, yet he hath not sufiicient 
strength in his person, without the assistance of others, to make his com- 
mands to be obeyed. He hath not a single strength in his own person to 
conquer countries and kingdoms, and increase the number of his subjects. 
He must make use of the arms of his own subjects, to overrun other places, 
and yoke them under his dominion. But the power of all things that ever 
were, are, or shall be, is originally and essentially in God. It is not derived 
from anything without him, as the power of the greatest potentates in the 
world is. Therefore, Ps. Ixii. 11, it is said, ' power belongs unto God,' that is, 
solely, and to none else. He hath a power to make his subjects, and aa 
many as he pleases ; to create worlds, to enjoin precepts, to execute penal- 
ties, without calling in the strength of his creatures to his aid. The strength 
that the subjects of a mortal prince have, is not derived to them from the 
prince, though the exercise of it for this or that end is ordered and directed 
by the authority of the prince. But what strength soever anything hath to 
act as a means, it hath from the power of God as Creator, as well as what- 

110 chaenock's works. [Job XXVI. 14. 

soever authority it hath to act is from God, as a rector and governor of the 
world. God hath a strength to act without means, and no means can act 
anything without his power and strength communicated to them. As the 
clouds in the 8th verse before the text are called God's clouds, ' his clouds,' 
so all the strength of creatures may be called, and truly is, God's strength 
and power in them ; a drop of power shot down from heaven, originally only 
in God. Creatures have but a little mite of power ; somewhat communicated 
to them, somewhat kept and reserved from* them, of what they are capable 
to possess. They have Hmited natures, and therefore a limited sphere of 
activity. Clothes can warm us, but not feed us ; bread can nourish us, but 
not clothe us. One plant hath a medicinal quality against one disease, 
another against another ; but God is the possessor of universal power, the 
common exchequer of this mighty treasure. He acts by creatures, as not 
needing their power, but deriving power to them ; what he acts by them, 
he could act himself without them ; and what they act as from themselves, 
is derived to them from him through invisible channels. And hence it will 
follow, that because power is essentially in God, more operations of God are 
possible than are exerted. 

And as power is essentially in God, so it is not distinct from his essence. 
It belongs to God in regard of the unconceivable excellency and activity of 
his essence. f And omnipotence is nothing but the divine essence efl&cacious 
ad extra. It is his essence as operative, and the immediate principle of 
operation ; as the power of enlightening in the sun, and the power of heat- 
ing in the fire, are not things distinct from the nature of them ; but the 
nature of the sun bringing forth light, and the nature of the fire bringing 
forth heat. The power of acting is the same with the substance of God, 
though the action from that power be terminated in the creature. If the 
power of God were distinct from his essence, he were then compounded of 
substance and power, and would not be the most simple being. As when 
the understanding is informed in several parts of knowledge, it is skilled'in 
the government of cities and countries, it knows this or that art, it learns 
mathematics, philosophy, this or that science, the [understanding hath a 
power to do this ; but this power, whereby it learns those excellent things, 
and brings forth excellent births, is not a thing distinct from the under- 
standing itself; we may rather call it the xmderstanding x>owerJul, than the 
jioiver of the imderstandmg ; and so we may rather say God jwiverful, than 
say, the x>ower of God ; because his power is not distinct from his essence. 

From both these it will follow, that this omnipotence is communicable to 
any creature ; no creature can inherit it, because it is a contradiction for any 
creature to have the essence of God. This omnipotence is a peculiar right 
of God, wherein no creature can share with him. To be omnipotent is to 
be essentially God. And for a creature to be omnipotent, is for a creature 
to be its own Creator. It being therefore the same with the essence of the 
Godhead, it cannot be communicated to the humanity of Christ, as the 
Lutherans say it is, without the communication of the essence of the God- 
head ; for then the humanity of Christ would not be humanity, but deity. 
If omnipotence were communicated to the humanity of Christ, the essence 
of God were also communicated to his humanity, and then eternity would 
be communicated. His humanity then was not given him in time, his 
humanity would be uncompounded, that is, his body would be no body, his 
soul no soul. Omnipotence is essentially in God ; it is not distinct from 
the essence of God, it is his essence, omnipotent, able to do all things. 

* Qu. ' for' ?— Ed. 

t Batione summie actualitatis esaentiee.—Suarez, vol. i. p. 150, 151. 

Job XXVI. 14. j god's power. Ill 

7. Hence it follows that this power is infinite : Eph. i. 19, ' What is the 
exceeding greatness of his power,' &c., ' according to the working of his 
mighty power.' God were not omnipotent unless his power were infinite ; 
for a finite power is a limited power, and a limited power cannot effect every- 
thing that is possible. Nothing can be too difficult for the divine power to 
effect. He hath a fulness of power, an exceeding strength, above all human 
capacities ; it is a mighty power, Eph. i. 19, able to do ' above all that we 
can ask or think, Eph. iii. 20. That which he acts is above the power of 
any creature to act. Infinite power consists in the bringing things forth 
from nothing. No creature can imitate God in this prerogative of power. 
Man indeed can carve various forms, and erect various pieces of art, but 
from pre-existent matter. Every artificer hath the matter brought to his 
hand, he only brings it forth in a new figure. Chemists separate one thing 
from another, but create nothing, but sever those things which were before 
compacted and curdled together ; but when God speaks a powerful word, 
nothing begins to be something. Things stand forth from the womb of 
nothing, and obey his mighty command, and take what forms he is pleased 
to give them. The creating one thing, though never so small and minute, 
as the least fly, cannot be but by an infinite power, much less can the pro- 
ducing of such variety we see in the world. His power is infinite, in regard 
it cannot be resisted by anything that he hath made, nor can it be confined 
by anything he can will to make. ' His greatness is unsearchable, Ps. 
cxlv. 3. It is a greatness, not of quantity, but quality. The greatness of 
his power hath no end. It is a vanity to imagine any limits can be affixed 
to it, or that any creature can say, ' Hitherto it can go, and no further.' It 
is above all conception, all inquisition of any created understanding. No 
creature ever had, nor ever can have, that strength of wit and understanding 
to conceive the extent of his power, and how magnificently he can work. 

(1.) His essence is infinite. As in a finite subject there is a finite virtue, 
so in an infinite subject there must be an infinite virtue. Where the essence 
is 'jlimited, the power is so ; * where the essence is unlimited, the power 
knows no bounds. f Among creatures, the more excellency of being and 
form anything hath, the more activity, vigour, and power it hath to work 
according to its nature. The sun hath a mighty power to warm, enlighten, 
and fructify, above what the stars have, because it hath a vaster body, more 
intense degrees of light, heat, and vigour. Now if you conceive the sun 
made much greater than it is, it would proportionably have greater degrees 
of power to heat and enlighten than it hath now ; and were it possible to 
have an infinite heat and light, it would infinitely heat and enlighten other 
things ; for everything is able to act according to the measures of its being. 
Therefore, since the essence of God is unquestionably infinite, his power of 
acting must be so also. His power (as was said before) is one and the 
same with his essence. And though the knowledge of God extends to more 
objects than his power, because he knows all evils of sin, which, because of 
his holiness, he cannot commit ; yet it is as infinite as his knowledge, be- 
cause it is as much one with his essence as his knowledgle and wisdom is. 
For as the wisdom or knowledge of God is nothing but the essence of God 
knowing, so the power of God is nothing but the essence of God able. 

(2.) The objects of divine power are innumerable. The objects of divine 
power are not essentially infinite ; and therefore we must not measure the 
infiniteness of divine power by an ability to make an infinite being, because 
there is an incapacity in any created thing to be infinite ; for to be a 
creature and to be infinite, to be infinite and yet made, is a contradiction. 

* Operationes sequuntnr essentiam. t Aquin. par. i. qu, 25, artic. 2. 

112 charnock's works. [Job XXVI. 14. 

To be infinite, and to be God, is one and the same thing. Nothing can be 
infinite but God, nothing but God is infinite. But the power of God is 
infinite, because it can produce infinite eflocts, or innumerable things, such 
as surpass the arithmetic of a creature ; nor yet doth the infiniteness consist 
simply in producing innumerable efi"ects, for that a finite cause can produce. 
Fire can by its finite and limited heat burn numberless combustible things 
and parcels, and the understanding of man hath an infinite number of 
thoughts and acts of intellection, and thoughts difi'erent from one another. 
Who can number the imaginations of his fancy, and thoughts of his mind, 
the space of one month or year ? much less of forty or a hundred years ; 
yet all these thoughts are about things that are in being, or have a founda- 
tion in things that are in being. But the infiniteness of God's power con- 
sists in an ability to produce infinite eff'ects, formally distinct, and diverse 
from one another, such as never had being, such as the mind of man cannot 
conceive : ' Able to do above what we can think,' Eph. iii, 20. And what- 
soever God hath made, or is able to make, he is able to make in an infinite 
manner, by calling them to stand forth from nothing. To produce innumer- 
able efi"ects of distinct natures, and from so distant a term as nothing, is an 
argument of infinite power. 

Now, that the objects of divine power are innumerable, appears, because 
God can do infinitely more than he hath done or will do. Nothing that 
God hath done can enfeeble or dull his power ; there still resides in him an 
ability beyond all the settled contrivances of his understanding and resolves 
of his will, which no efi'ects which he hath wrought can drain and put to a 
stand. As he can raise stones to be children to Abraham, Mat. iii. 9, so 
with the same mighty word whereby he made one world, he can make 
infinite numbers of worlds to be the monuments of his glory. After the 
prophet Jeremiah, xxxii. 17, had spoke of God's power in creation, he 
adds, ' And nothing is too hard for thee.' For one world that he hath 
made he can create millions, for one star which he hath beautified the hea- 
vens with he could have garnished it with a thousand, and multiplied, if he 
had pleased, every one of those into millions ; for he can ' call things that 
are not,' Rom. iv. 17; not some things, but all things possible. The barren 
womb of nothing can no more resist his power now to educe a world from it 
than it could at first. No doubt but for one angel which he hath made he 
could make many worlds of angels. He that made one with so much ease 
as by a word, cannot want power to make many more, till he wants a word. 
The word that was not too weak to make one, cannot be too weak to make 
multitudes. If from one man he hath, in a way of nature, multiplied so 
many in all ages of the world, and covered with them the whole face of the 
earth, he could in a supernatural way, by one word, multiply as many more. 
It is ' the breath of the Almighty that gives life,' Job. xxsiii. 4. He can 
create infinite species and kinds of creatures more than he hath created, 
more variety of forms. For since there is no searching of his greatness, 
there is no conceiving the numberless possible efi'ects of his power. The 
understanding of man can conceive numberless things possible to be, more 
than have been or shall be. And shall we imagine that a finite understand- 
ing of a creature hath a greater omnipotency to conceive things possible, than 
God hath to produce things possible ? When the understanding of man is 
tired in its conceptions, it must still be concluded that the power of God 
extends not only to what can be conceived, but infinitely beyond the measures 
of a finite faculty : ' Touching the Almighty, we cannot find him out : he is 
excellent in power and in judgment,' Job xxxvii. 23. For the understanding 
of man, in its conceptions of more kind of creatures, is limited to those 

Job XXVI. 14.] god's power. 113 

creatures which are. It cannot in its ' own imaginations conceive anything 
but what hath some foundation in and from something already in being. It 
may frame a new kind of creature, made up of a Hon, a horse, an ox ; but 
all those parts whereof its conceptions are made have distinct beings in the 
world, though not in that composition as his mind mixes and joins them. 
But no question but God can create creatures that have no resemblance with 
any kind of creatures yet in being. It is certain that if God only knows 
those things which he hath done and will do, and not all things possible to 
be done by him, his knowledge were finite ; so if he could do no more than 
what he hath done, his power would be finite. 

[l.J Creatures have a power to act about more objects than they do. 
The understanding of man can ft-ame, from one principle of truth, many con- 
clusions and inferences more than it doth. Why cannot then the power of 
God frame from one first matter an infinite number of creatures more than 
have been created ? The almightiness of God in producing real effects is 
not inferior to the understanding of man in drawing out real truths. An 
artificer that makes a watch, supposing his life and health, can make many 
more of a diff"erent form and motion ; and a limner can draw many draughts, 
and frame many pictures with a new variety of colours, according to the 
richness of his fancy. If these can do so, that require a pre-existent 
matter framed to their hands, God can much more, who can raise beautiful 
structures from nothing. As long as men have matter, they can diversify 
the matter, and make new figures from it ; so long as there is nothing, God 
can produce out of that nothing whatsoever he pleases. 

We see the same in inanimate creatures. A spark of fire hath a vas* 
power in it ; it will kindle other things, increase and enlarge itself. No- 
thing can be exempt from the active force of it. It will alter, by consum- 
ing or refining, whatsoever you offer to it. It will reach all, and refuse 
none ; and by the efficacious power of it, all those new figures which we see 
in metals are brought forth. When you have exposed to it a multitude of 
things, still add more, it will exert the same strength, yea, the vigour is 
increased rather than diminished. The more it catcheth, the more fiercely 
and irresistibly it will act ; you cannot suppose an end of its operation, or 
a decrease of its strength, as long as you can conceive its duration and con- 
tinuance. This must be but a weak shadow of that infinite power which is 
in God. Take another instance in the sun. It hath power every year to 
produce flowers and plants from the earth, and is as able to produce them 
now as it was at the first lighting it and rearing it in the sphere wherein it 
moves. And if there were no* kind of flowers and plants now created, the 
sun hath a power residing in it, ever since its first creation, to afford the 
same warmth to them for the nourishing and bringing them forth. What- 
soever you can conceive the sun to be able to do in regard of plants, that 
can God do in regard of worlds, produce more worlds than the sun doth 
plants every year, without weariness, without languishment. The sun is 
able to influence more things than it doth, and produce numberless effects ; 
but it doth not do so much as it is able to do, because it wants matter to 
work upon. God, therefore, who wants no matter, can do much more than 
he doth ; he can either act by second causes if there were more, or make 
more second causes if he pleased. 

[2.] God is the most free agent. Every free agent can do more than he 
will do. Man being a free creature, can do more than ordinarily he doth 
will to do. God is most free, as being the spring of liberty in other crea- 
tures. He acts not by a necessity of nature, as the waves of the sea, or 
* Qu. 'new'?— Ed. 

VOL. U. H 

114 chaenock's works. [Job XXVI. 14. 

the motions of the wind, and therefore is not determined to those things 
which he hath ah-eady called forth into the world. If God be infinitely wise 
in contrivance, he could contrive more than he hath, and therefore can effect 
more than he hath effected. He doth not act to the extent of his power upon 
all occasions. It is according to his will that he works, Eph. i. 11. It is 
not according to his work that he wills ; his work is an evidence of his will, 
but not the rule of his will. His power is not the rule of his will, but his 
will is the disposer of his power, according to the light of his infinite wis- 
dom, and other attributes that direct his will ; and therefore his power is not 
to be measured by his actual will. No doubt but he could in a moment have 
produced that world which he took six days' time to frame. He could have 
drowned the old world at once, without prolonging the time till the revolu- 
tion of forty days. He was not limited to such a term of time by any weak- 
ness, but by the determination of his own will. God doth not do the 
hundred thousandth part of what he is able to do, but what is convenient to 
do, according to the end which he hath proposed to himself. Jesus Christ, 
as man, could have asked legions of angels ; and God, as a sovereign, could 
have sent them, Mat. xxvi. 53. God could raise the dead every day if he 
pleased, but he doth not. He could heal every diseased person in a moment, 
but he doth not. As God can will more than he doth actually will, so he 
can do more than he hath actually done. He can do whatsoever he can 
will ; he can will more worlds, and therefore can create more worlds. If 
God hath not ability to do more than he will do, he then can do no more than 
what he actually hath done ; and then it will follow that he is not a free, but 
a natural and necessary agent, which cannot be supposed of God. 

(3.) This power is infinite in regard of action. As he can produce num- 
berless objects above what he hath produced, so he could produce them more 
magnificently than he hath made them. As he never works to the extent 
of his power in regard of things, so neither in the manner of acting ; for he 
never acts so, but he could act in a higher and perfecter manner. 

[1.] His power is infinite in regard of the independency of action. He wants 
no instrument to act. When there was nothing but God, there was no cause 
of action but God. When there was nothing in being but God, there could be 
no instrumental cause of the being of anything. God can perfect his action 
without dependence on anything;* and to be simply independent is to be 
simply infinite. In this respect it is a power incommunicable to any creature, 
though you conceive a creature in higher degrees of perfection than it is. A 
creature cannot cease to be dependent, but it must cease to be a creature : 
to be a ci'eature and independent, are terms repugnant to one another. 

[2.] But the infiniteness of divine power consists in an ability to give 
higher degrees of perfection to everything which he hath made. As his 
power is infinite extensive, in regard of the multitude of objects he can bring 
into being, so it is infinite intensive, in regard of the manner of operation, 
and the endowments he can bestow upon them.f Some things, indeed, God 
doth so perfect, that higher degrees of perfection cannot be imagined to be 
added to them. J As the humanity of Christ cannot be united more glo- 
riously than to the person of the Son of God, a greater degree of perfection 
cannot be conferred upon it ; nor can the souls of the blessed have a nobler 
object of vision and fruition than God himself, the infinite being. No higher 
than the enjoyment of himself can be conferred upon a creature, respectu 
termini. This is not want of power. He cannot be greater because he is 
greatest, nor better because he is best ; nothing can be more than infinite ; 

* Suarez, de Deo, vol. i. p. 151. J Becan., Sum. Theol. p. 84. 

t Becan., Sum. Tlieol. p. 82. 

Job XXVI. 14.] god's power. 115 

but as to the things which God hath made in the world, he could have given 
them other manner of beings than they have. A human understanding may 
improve a thought or conclusion, strengthen it with more and more force 
of reason, and adorn it with richer and richer elegancy of language ; why, 
then, may not the divine providence produce a world more perfect and excel- 
lent than this ? He that makes a plain vessel can embellish it more, engrave 
more figures upon it, according to the capacity of the subject ; and cannot 
God do so much more with his works ? Could not God have made this 
world of a larger quantity, and the sun of a greater bulk and proportionable 
strength to influence a bigger world ; so that this world would have been 
to another that God might have made as a ball or a mount, this sun as a 
star to another sun that he might have kindled ? He could have made every 
star a sun, every spire of grass a star, every grain of dust a flower, every 
soul an angel. And though the angels be perfect creatures, and inexpres- 
sibly more glorious than a visible creature, yet who can imagine God so 
confined that he cannot create a more excellent kind, and endow those which 
he hath made with excellency of a higher rank than he invested them with 
at the first moment of their creation ? Without question God might have 
given the meaner creatures more excellent endowments, put them into another 
order of nature for their own good, and more diffusive usefulness in the 
world. What is made use of by the prophet in another case, may be used 
in this, ' yet had he a residue of Spirit,' Mai. ii. 15. The capacity of every 
creature might have been enlarged by God ; for no work of his in the world 
doth equal his power, as nothing that he hath framed doth equal his wisdom. 
The same matter which is the matter of the body of a beast, is the matter of 
a plant and flower, is the matter of the body of a man, and so was capable 
of a higher form and higher perfections than God hath been pleased to 
bestow upon it. And he had power to bestow that perfection on one part 
of matter which he denied to it, and bestowed on another part. If God can- 
not make things in a greater perfection, there must be some limitation of 
him. He cannot be limited by another, because nothing is superior to God. 
If limited by himself, that limitation is not from a want of power, but a want 
of will. He can by his own power raise stones to be children to Abraham, 
Mat. iii. 9. He could alter the nature of the stones, form them into human 
bodies, dignify them with rational souls, inspire those souls with such graces 
that may render them the children of Abraham. But for the more fully 
understanding the nature of this power, we may observe, 

First, That though God can make everything with a higher degree of per- 
fection, yet still within the limits of a finite being. No creature can be made 
infinite, because no creature can be made God. No creature can be so im- 
proved as to equal the goodness and perfection of God ;* yet there is no 
creature but we may conceive a possibility of its being made more perfect in 
that rank of a creature than it is ; as we may imagine a flower or plant to 
have greater beauty and richer qualities imparted to it by divine power, 
without rearing it so high as to the dignity of a rational or sensitive creature. 
Whatsoever perfections may be added by God to a creature, are still finite 
perfections ; and a multitude of finite excellencies can never amount to the 
value and honour of infinite : as if you add one number to another as high 
as you can, as much as a large piece of paper can contain, you can never 
make the numbers really infinite, though they may be infinite in regard of 
the inability of any human understanding to count them. The finite condi- 
tion of the creature suffers it not to be capable of an infinite perfection. God 
is so great, so excellent, that it is his perfection not to have any equal ; the 
* Gamach. in Aquin., torn. i. qu. 25. 

116 chaknock's works. [Job XXVI. 14. 

defect is in the creature, which cannot be elevated to such a pitch ; as you 
can never make a gallon measure hold the quantity of a butt, or a butt the 
quantity of a river, or a river the fulness of the sea. 

Secondly, Though God hath a power to furnish every creature with greater 
and nobler perfections than he hath bestowed upon it, yet he hath framed 
all things in the perfectest manner, and most convenient to that end for 
which he intended them. Everything is endowed with the best nature and 
quality suitable to G-od's end in creation, though not in the best manner 
for itself.* In regard of the universal end, there cannot be a better; for 
God himself is the end of all things, who is the supreme goodness. Nothing 
can be better than God, who could not be God if he were not superlatively 
best or optimus; and he hath ordered all things for the declaration of his 
goodness or justice, according to the behaviours of his creatures. Man doth 
not consider what strength or power he can put forth in the means he useth 
to attain such an end, but the suitableness of them to his main design, and 
so fits and marshals them to his grand purpose. Had God only created 
things that are most excellent, he had created only angels and men ; how, 
then, would his wisdom have been conspicuous in other works, in the sub- 
ordination and subserviency of them to one another ? God therefore deter- 
mined his power by his wisdom ; and although his absolute power could 
have made every creature better, yet his ordinate power, which in every 
step was regulated by his wisdom, made everything best for his designed 
intention. f A musician hath a power to wind up a string on a lute to a 
higher and more perfect note in itself ; but in wisdom he will not do it, 
because the intended melody should be disturbed thereby if it were not 
suited to the other strings on the instrument; a discord would mar and 
taint the harmony which the lutenist designed. God in creation observed 
the proportions of nature ; he can make a spider as strong as a lion, but 
according to the order of nature which he hath settled, it is not convenient 
that a creature of so small a compass should be as strong as one of a greater 
bulk. The absolute power of God could have prepared a body for Christ as 
glorious as that he had after his resurrection, but that had not been agree- 
able to the end designed in his humiliation ; and therefore God acted most 
perfectly by his ordinate power in giving him a body that wore the livery of 
our infirmities. God's power is alway regulated by his wisdom and will ; 
and though it produceth not what is most perfect in itself, yet what is most 
perfect and decent in relation to the end he fixed. And so in his provi- 
dence, though he could rack the whole frame of nature to bring about his 
ends in a more miraculous way and astonishment to mortals, yet his power 
is usually and ordinarily confined by his will to act in concurrence with the 
nature of the creatures, and direct them according to the laws of their 
being, to such ends which he aims at in their conduct, without violencing 
their nature. 

Thirdly, Though God hath an absolute power to make more worlds, and 
infinite numbers of other creatures, and to render every creature a higher 
mark of his power, yet in regard of his decree to the contrary, he caimot 
do it. He hath a physical power, but after his resolve to the contrary, not 
a moral power. The exercise of his power is subordinate to his decree, but 
not the essence of his power. J The decree of God takes not away any power 
from God, because the power of God is his own essence, and incapable of 
change, and is as great physically and essentially after his decree as it was 

* Best, ex parte facientis et modi, but not ex parte rei. — Esti. in Senten. lib. i, distin. 
xliv. sec. 2. 

t Aquin. part i. qu. xxv. art. 6. J Gamach. in Aquin. torn. i. qu. xxv. 

Job XXVI. 14.] god's powee. 117 

before, only his will hath pat in a bar to the demonstration of all that power 
which he is able to exercise. As a prince that can raise a hundred thou- 
sand men for an invasion raises only twenty or thirty thousand, he here, by 
his order, limits his power, but doth not divest himself of his authority and 
power to raise the whole number of the forces of his dominions if he pleases. 
The power of God hath more objects than his decree hath ; but since it is 
his perfection to be immutable, and not to change his decree, he cannot 
morally put forth his power upon all those objects, which, as it is essen- 
tially in him, he hath ability to do. God hath decreed to save those that 
believe in Christ, and to judge unbelievers to everlasting perdition.- He 
cannot morally damn the first or save the latter ; yet he hath not divested 
himself of his absolute power to save all or damn all. Or suppose God 
hath decreed not to create more worlds than this we are now in, doth his 
decree weaken his strength to create more if he pleased ? His not creating 
more is not a want of strength, but a want of will ; it is an act of liberty, 
not an act of impotency. As when a man solemnly resolves not to walk in 
such a way, or come at such a place, his resolution deprives him not of bis 
natural strength to walk thither, but fortifies his will against using his 
strength in any such motion to that place. The will of God hath set 
bounds to the exercise of his power, but doth not infringe that absolute 
power which still resides in his nature ; he is girded with more power than 
he puts forth, Ps. Ixv. 6. 

(4.) As the power of God is infinite in regard of his essence, in regard of 
the objects, in regard of action, so, fourthly, in regard of duration. The 
apostle calls it an ' eternal power,' Kom. i. 20. His eternal power is 
collected and concluded from the things that are made ; they must needs be 
the product of some being which contains truly in itself all power, who 
wrought them without engines, without instruments; and therefore this 
power must be infinite, and possessed of an unalterable virtue of acting. 
If it be eternal it must be infinite, and hath neither beginning nor end. 
What is eternal hath no bounds. If it be eternal, and not limited by time, 
it must be infinite, and not to be restrained by any finite object. His 
power never begun to be, nor ever ceaseth to be ; it cannot languish. Men 
are fain to unbend themselves, and must have some time to recruit their 
tired spirits ; but the power of God is perpetually vigorous, without any 
interrupting qualm : Isa. xl. 28, ' Hast thou not known, hast thou not 
heard, that the everlastiag God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the 
earth, fainteth not, neither is weary?' That might which suffered no 
diminution from eternity, but hatched so great a world by brooding upon 
nothing, will not suffer any dimness or decrease to eternity. This power 
being the same with his essence, is as durable as his essence, and resides for 
ever in his nature. 

8. The eighth consideration, for the right understanding of this attri- 
bute. The impossibility of God's doing some things, is no infringing of his 
almightiness, but rather a strengthening of it. It is granted that some 
things God cannot do; or rather, as Aquinas and others, it is better to say, 
such things cannot be done, than to say that God cannot do them ; to 
remove all kind of imputation or reflection of weakness on God,t and 
because the reason of the impossibility of those things is in the nature of 
the things themselves. 

(1.) First, Some things are impossible in their own nature. Such are all 
those things which imply a contradiction ; as for a thing to be and not to 
be at the same time, for the sun to shine and not to shine at the saia^ 
* Crell. de Deo, cap. xxii. t Robina. Observat. p. 14. 

118 chaenock's works. [Job XXVI. 14. 

moment of time, for a creature to act and not to act at the same instant. 
One of those parts must be false ; for if it be true that the sun shines this 
moment, it must be false to say it doth not shine. So it is impossible that 
a rational creature can be without reason. It is a contradiction to be a 
rational creature, and yet want that which is essential to a rational creature ; 
so it is impossible that the will of man can be compelled, because liberty is 
the essence of the will. While it is will, it cannot be constrained ; and if 
it be constrained, it ceaseth to be will. God cannot at one time act as the 
author of the will and the destroyer of the will.* It is impossible that vice 
and virtue, light and darkness, life and death, should be the same thing. 
Those things admit not of a conception in any understanding. Some things 
are impossible to be done, because of the incapability of the subject; as for a 
creature to be made infinite, independent, to preserve itself without the divine 
concourse and assistance. So a brute cannot be taken into communion with 
God, and to everlasting spiritual blessedness, because the nature of a brute 
is incapable of such an elevation. A rational creature only can understand 
and relish spiritual delights, and is capable to enjoy God and have com- 
munion with him. Indeed, God may change the nature of a brute, and 
bestow such faculties of understanding and will upon it as to render it 
capable of such a blessedness ; but then it is no more a brute, but a rational 
creature ; but while it remains a brute, the excellency of the nature of God 
doth not admit of communion with such a subject ; so that this is not for 
want of power in God, but because of a deficiency in the creature. To 
suppose that God could make a contradiction true, is to make himself false, 
and to do just nothing. 

(2.) Some things are impossible to the nature and being of God. As to 
die, implies a flat repugnance to the nature of God ; to be able to die, is to 
be able to be cashiered out of being. If God were able to deprive himself 
of life, he might then cease to be ; he were not then a necessary, but an 
uncertain, contingent being, and could not be said ' only to have immor- 
tality' as he is, 1 Tim. vi. 16. He cannot die who is life itself, and neces- 
sarily existent ; he cannot grow old or decay, because he cannot be measured 
by time. And this is no part of weakness, but the perfection of power. His 
power is that whereby he remains for ever fixed in his own everlasting being ; 
that cannot be reckoned as necessary to the omnipotence of God which 
all mankind count a part of weakness in themselves. God is omnipotent, 
because he is not impotent, and if he could die he would be impotent, not 
omnipotent; death is the feebleness of nature. It is undoubtedly the great- 
est impotence to cease to be. Who would count it a part of omnipotency 
to disenable himself, and sink into nothing and not being ? The impossi- 
bility for God to die is not a fit article to impeach his omnipotence. This 
would be a strange way of arguing ; a thing is not powerful because it is not 
feeble, and cannot cease to be powerful, for death is a cessation of all power. 
God is almighty in doing what he will, not in sufi'ering what he will not.f 
To die is not an active, but a passive, power; a defect of a power. God is 
of too noble a nature to perish. 

Some things are impossible to that eminency of nature which he hath 
above all creatures ; as to walk, sleep, feed, these are imperfections belonging 
to bodies and compound natures. If he could walk, he were not every- 
where present. Motion speaks succession. If he could increase, he would 
not have been perfect before. 

(3.) Some things are impossible to the glorious perfections of God. God 
cannot do anything unbecoming his holiness and goodness, anything 
* Magalano, de scientia Dei, part ii. cap. vi. sec. 3. t August. 

Job XXVI. 14.] god's power, 119 

unworthy of himself, and against the perfections of his nature. God can 
do whatsoever he can will. As he doth actually do whatsoever he doth 
actually will, so it is possible for him to do whatsoever it is possible for 
him to will. He doth whatsoever he will, and can do whatsoever he 
can will, but he cannot do what he cannot will. He cannot will any un- 
righteous thing, and therefore cannot do any unrighteous thing. God 
cannot love sin, this is contrary to his holiness ; he cannot violate his word, 
this is a denial of his truth ; he cannot punish an innocent, this is contrary 
to his goodness ; he cannot cherish an impenitent sinner, this is an injury 
to his justice ; he cannot forget what is done in the world, this is a disgrace 
to his^omniscience ; he cannot deceive his creature, this is contrary to his 
faithfulness. None of these things can be done by him, because of the 
perfection of his nature. Would it not be an imperfection in God to absolve 
the guilty, and condemn the innocent ? Is it congruous to the righteous 
and holy nature of God to command murder and adultery, to command 
men not to worship him, but to be base and unthankful ? These things 
would be against the rules of righteousness. As when we say of a good 
man, he cannot rob or fight a duel, we do not mean that he wants a 
courage for such an act, or that he hath not a natural strength and know- 
ledge to manage his weapon as well as another, but he hath a righteous 
principle strong in him which will not suffer him to do it ; his will is settled 
against it. No power can pass into act unless applied by the will. But 
the will of God cannot will anything but what is worthy of him, and decent 
for his goodness. 

[1.] The Scripture saith, it is ' impossible for God to lie,' Heb. vi. 13 ; 
and God ' cannot deny himself,' 2 Tim. ii. 13, because of his faithfulness. 
As he cannot die, because he is life itself; as he cannot deceive, because he 
is goodness itself ; as he cannot do an unwise action, because he is wisdom 
itself; so he cannot speak a false word, because he is truth itself. If he 
should speak anything as true, and not know it, where is his infinite know- 
ledge and comprehensiveness of understanding ? If he should speak any- 
thing as ti'ue, which he knows to be false, where is his infinite righteous- 
ness ? If he should deceive any creature, there is an end of his perfection, 
and fidelity, and veracity. If he should be deceived himself, there is an 
end of his omniscience ; we must then fancy him to be a deceitful God, an 
ignorant God, that is, no God at all. If he should lie, he would be God 
and no God ; God upon supposition, and no God, because not the first 
truth.* All unrighteousness is weakness, not power ; it is a defection from 
right reason, a deviation from moral principles and the rule of perfect 
action, and ariseth from a defect of goodness and power. It is a weakness, 
and not omnipotence, to lose goodness. f God is light ; it is the perfection 
of light not to become darkness, and a want of power in light, if it should 
become darkness. His power is infinitely strong, so is his wisdom infinitely 
clear, and his will infinitely pure. Would it not be a part of weakness to 
have a disorder in himself, and these perfections shock one against another ? 
Since all perfections are in God in the most sovereign height of perfection, 
nothing can be done by the infiniteness of one against the infiniteness of 
the other. He would then be unstable in his own perfections, and depart 
from the infinite rectitude of his own will, if he should do an evil action. 
Again, I what is an argument of greater strength than to be utterly ignorant 
of infirmity ? God is omnipotent, because he cannot do evil, and would 
not be omnipotent if he could. Those things would be marks of weakness, 
and not characters of majesty. Would you count a sweet fountain impotent, 
* Becan. sum. Theolog. p. 83. t Maximus Tyrius. X 

120 charnock's works. [Job XXVI. 14. 

because it cannot send forth bitter streams ? or the sun weak, because it 
cannot diffuse darkness as well as light in the air ? There is an inability 
arising from weakness, and an ability* arising from perfection. It is the 
perfection of angels and blessed spirits that they cannot sin ; and it would 
be the imperfection of Grod if he could do evil. 

[2.] Hence it follows, that it is impossible that a thing past should not 
be past. If we ascribe a power to God, to make a thing that is past not to 
be past, we do not truly ascribe power to him, but a weakness, for it is to 
make God to lie ; as though God might not have created man, yet after he 
had created Adam, though he should presently have reduced Adam to his 
first nothing, yet it would be for ever true that Adam was created, and 
it would for ever be false that Adam never was created. So though 
God may prevent sin, yet when sin hath been committed it will alway be 
true that sin was committed. It will never be true to say such a creature 
that did sin, did not sin ; his sin cannot be recalled. Though God by pardon 
take off the guilt of Peter's denying our Saviour, yet it^will be eternally true 
that Peter did deny him. It is repugnant to the righteousness and truth of 
God, to make that which was once true to become false, and not true ; that 
is, to make a truth to become a lie, and a lie to become a truth. 

This is well argued from Heb. vi. 18, it is ' impossible for God to lie.' 
The apostle argues, that what God had promised and sworn will come to 
pass, and cannot but come to pass.f Now if God could make a thing past not 
to be past, this consequence would not be good, for then he might make 
himself not to have promised, not to have sworn, after he hath promised and 
sworn. And so if there were a power to undo that which is past, there would 
be no foundation for faith, no certainty of revelation. It cannot be asserted, 
that God hath created the world, that God hath sent his Son to die, that 
God hath accepted his death for man. These might not be true, if it were 
possible that that which hath been done might be said never to have been 
done ; so that what any may imagine to be a want of power in God is the 
highest perfection of God, and the greatest security to a believing creature 
that hath to do with God. 

(4.) Some things are impossible to be done, because of God's ordination. 
Some things are impossible, not in their own nature, but in regard of the 
determined will of God. So God might have destroyed the world after 
Adam's fall, but it was impossible ; not that God wanted power to do it, but 
because he did not only decree from eternity to create the world, but did 
also decree to redeem the world by Jesus Christ, and erected the world in 
order to the manifestation of his glory in Christ: Eph. i. 4, 5, the choice of 
some in Christ was ' before the foundation of the world.' Supposing that 
there was no hindrance in the justice of God to pardon the sin of Adam 
after his fall, and to execute no punishment on him, yet in regard of God's 
threatening, that in the day he ate of the forbidden fruit he should die, it 
was impossible. So though it was possible that the cup should pass from 
our blessed Saviour, that is, possible in its own nature, yet it was not pos- 
sible in regard of the determination of God's will, since he had both 
decreed and published his will to redeem man by the passion and blood 
of his Son. These things God by his absolute power might have done, but 
upon the account of his decree they were impossible, because it is repugnant 
to the nature of God to be mutable. It is to deny his own wisdom which 
contrived them, and his own will which resolved tliem, not to do that which 
he had decreed to do. This would be a diffidence in his wisdom, and a 
♦ Qu, ' inability ' ?— Ed. 
t Becan. sum. Theol. p. 84 ; Orel, de Deo, cap. xxii. 

Job XXYI. 14.] god's power. 121 

change of his will. The impossibility of them is no result of a want of power, 
no mark of an imperfection, of feebleness and impotence, but the perfection 
of immutability and unchangeablenesss. 

Thus have I endeavoured to give you a right notion of this excellent attri- 
bute of the power of God, in as plain terms as I could, which may serve us 
for a matter of meditation, admiration, fear of him, trust in him, which are 
the proper uses we should make of this doctrine of divine power. The want 
of a right understanding of this doctrine of the divine power hath caused 
many to run into mighty absurdities ; I have therefore taken the more pains 
to explain it. 

II. The second thing I proposed, is the reasons to prove God to be omni- 
potent. The Scripture describes God by this attribute of power : Ps. cxv. 3, 
' He hath done whatsoever he pleased.' It sometimes sets forth his power 
in a way of derision of those that seem to doubt of it. When Sarah doubted 
of his ability to give her a child in her old age. Gen. xviii. 14, ' Is anything 
too hard for the Lord ? ' They deserve to be scoffed that will despoil God 
of his strength, and measure him by their shallow models. And when Moses 
uttered something of unbelief of this attribute, as if God were not able to 
feed 600,000 Israelites, besides women and children, which he aggravates 
by a kind of imperious scoff : ' Shall the flocks and the herds be slain for 
them to suffice them ? or shall all the fish of the sea be gathered together 
for them ?' &c., Num. xi. 22, God takes him up short : ver. 28, ' Is the 
Lord's hand waxed short ? ' What, can any weakness seize upon my hand ? 
Can I not draw out of my own treasures what is needful for a supply ? The 
hand of God is not at one time strong, and another time feeble. Hence it 
is that we read of the hand and arm of God, an outstretched arm, because 
the strength of a man is exerted by his hand and arm ; the power of God is 
called the arm of his power, and the right hand of his strength. Sometimes, 
according to the different manifestation of it, it is expressed by finger, when 
a less power is evidenced ; by hand, when something greater ; by arm, when 
more mighty than the former. Since God is eternal, without limits of time, 
he is also almighty, without limits of strength. As he cannot be said to be 
more in being now than he was before, so he is neither more nor less in 
strength than he was before ; as he cannot cease to be, so he cannot cease 
to be powerful, because he is eternal. His eternity and power are linked 
together as equally demonstrable, Rom. i. 20. God is called the God of gods, 
El Elohim, Dan. xi. 36, the Mighty of mighties, whence all mighty persons 
have their activity and vigour ; he is called the Lord of Hosts, as being the 
creator and conductor of the heavenly militia. 

Reason 1. The power that is in creatures demonstrates a greater and an 
unconceivable power in God. Nothing in the world is without a power of 
activity according to its nature ; no creature but can act something. The 
sun warms and enlightens everything ; it sends, its influences upon the earth, 
into the bowels of the earth, into the depths of the sea ; all generations owe 
themselves to its instrumental virtue. How powerful is a small seed to rise 
into a mighty tree, with a lofty top and extensive branches, and send forth 
other seeds, which can still multiply into numberless plants ! How wonder- 
ful is the power of the Creator, who hath endowed so small a creature as a 
seed with so fruitful an activity ! Yet this is but the virtue of a limited 
nature. God is both the producing and preserving cause of all the virtue in 
any creature, in every creature. The power of every creature belongs to him 
as the fountain, and is truly his power in the creature. As he is the first 
being, he is the original of all being ; as the first good, he is the spring of 

122 charnock's works. [Job XXVI. 14. 

all goodness ; as he is the first truth, he is the source of all truth ; so as he 
is the first power, he is the fountain of all power. 

1. He therefore that communicates to the creature what power it hath, 
contains eminently much more power in himself: Ps. xciv. 10, 'He that 
teaches man knowledge, shall not he know ?' So he that gives created beings 
power, shall not he be powerful ? The first being must have as much power 
as he hath given to others. He could not transfer that upon another, which 
he did not transcendently possess himself. The sole cause of created power 
cannot be destitute of any power in himself. We see that the power of one 
creature transcends the power of another. Beasts can do the things that 
plants cannot do ; besides the power of growth, they have a power of sense 
and progressive motion. Men can do more than beasts ; they have rational 
souls to measure the earth and heavens, and to be repositories of multitudes 
of things, notions, and conclusions. We may well imagine angels to be far 
superior to man. The power of the Creator must far surmount the power of 
the creature, and must needs be infinite ; for if it be limited, it is limited by 
himself or by some other ; if by some other, he is no longer a Creator, but 
a creature ; for that which limits him in his nature did communicate that 
nature to him ; not by himself, for he would not deny himself any necessary 
perfection. We must still conclude a reserve of power in him, that he that 
made these can make many more of the same kind. 

2. All the power which is distinct in the creatures must be united in God. 
One creature hath a strength to do this, another to do that ; every creature 
is as a cistern filled with a particular and limited power, according to the 
capacity of its nature, from this fountain ; all are distinct streams from God. 
But the strength of every creature, though distinct in the rank of creatures, 
is united in God the centre, whence those lines were drawn, the fountain 
whence those streams were derived. If the power of one creature be admir- 
able, as the power of an angel, which the psalmist saith, ' excelleth in 
strength,' Ps. ciii. 20, how much greater must the power of a legion of angels 
be ! How unconceivably superior the power of all those numbers of spiritual 
natures, which are the excellent works of God ! Now if all this particular 
power which is in every angel distinct were compacted in one angel, how 
would it exceed our understanding, and be above our power to form a dis- 
tinct conception of it! What is thus divided in every angel must be thought 
united in the Creator of angels, and far more excellent in him. Everything 
is in a more noble manner in the fountain than in the streams which distil 
and descend from it. He that is the original of all those distinct powers 
must be the seat of all power without distinction. In him is the union of 
all without division ; what is in them as a quality is in him as an essence. 
Again, if all the powers of several creatures, with all their spiritual qualities 
and vigours, both of beasts, plants, and rational creatures, were united in 
one subject ; as if one lion had the strength of all the lions that ever were, 
or if one elephant had the strength of all the elephants that ever were, nay, 
if one bee had all the power of motion and stinging that all bees ever had, 
it would have a vast strength ; but if the strength of all those thus gathered 
into one of every kind should be lodged in one sole creature, one man, would 
it not be a strength too big for our conception ! Or suppose one cannon 
had all the force of all the cannons that ever were in the world, what a 
battery would it make, and, as it were, shake the whole frame of heaven and 
earth ! All this strength must be much more incomprehensible in God, all is 
united in him. If it were in one individual created nature, it would still be 
but a finite power in a finite nature ; but in God it is infinite and immense. 
^ Reason . 2. If there were not an incomprehensible power in God, he would 

Job XXVI. 14.] god's power. 123 

not be infinitely perfect God is the first being. It can only be saicl of 
him, Est, he is. All other things are nothing to him, * less than nothing, 
and vanity,' Isa. xl. 17, and * reputed as nothing,' Dan. iv. 35. All the 
inhabitants of the earth, with all their wit and strength, are counted as if 
they were not, just in comparison with him and his being as a little mote in 
the sunbeams ; God therefore is a pure being. Any kind of weakness what- 
soever is a defect, a degree of not being ; so far as anything wants this or 
that power, it may be said not to be. Were there anything of weakness in 
God, any want of strength which belonged to the perfection of a nature, it 
might be said of God, He is not this or that, he wants this or that perfection 
of being, and so he would not be a pure being, there would be something of 
not being in him. But God being the first being, the only original being, 
he is infinitely distant from not being, and therefore infinitely distant from 
anything of weakness. 

Again, if God can know whatsoever is possible to be done by him and 
cannot do it, there would be something more in his knowledge than in his 
power.-;-- What would then follow ? That the essence of God would be in 
some regard greater than itself and less than itself, because his knowledge 
and his power are his essence, his power as much his essence as his know- 
ledge ; and therefore, in regard of his knowledge his essence would be greater, 
in regard of his power his essence would be less, which is a thing impossible 
to be conceived in a most perfect being. We must understand this of those 
things which are properly and in their own nature subjected to the divine 
knowledge, for otherwise God knows more than he can do ; for he knows 
sin, but he cannot act it, because sin belongs not to power, but weakness, 
and sin comes under the knowledge of God, not in itself and its own nature, 
but as it is a defect from God and contrary to good, which is the proper 
object of divine knowledge. He knows it also not as possible to be done by 
himself, but as possible to be done by the creature. Again, if God were 
not omnipotent, we might imagine something more perfect than God ; for if 
we bar God from any one thing which in its own nature is possible, we may 
imagine a being that can do that thing, one that is able to eff"ect it, and so 
imagine an agent greater than God, a being able to do more than God is 
able to do, and consequently a being more perfect than God ; but no being 
more perfect than God can be imagined by any creature.f Nothing can be 
called most perfect, if anything of activity be wanting to it. Active power 
follows the perfection of a thing, and all things are counted more noble, by 
how much more of efiicacy and virtue they possess. We count those the 
best and most perfect plants that have the greatest medicinal virtue in them, 
and power of working upon the body for the cure of distempers. God is 
perfect of himself, and therefore most powerful of himself. If his perfection 
in wisdom and goodness be unsearchable, his power, which belongs to 
perfection, and without which all the other excellencies of his nature were 
insignificant, and could not shew themselves (as was before evidenced), must 
be unsearchable also. It is by the title of Almighty he is denominated, 
when declared to be unsearchable to perfection: Job xi. 7, ' Canst thou 
by searching find out God ? canst thou find out the Almighty to perfection T 
This would be limited and searched out, if he were destitute of an active 
ability to do whatsoever he pleased to do, whatsoever was possible to be 
done. As he hath not a perfect liberty of will, if he could not will what he 
pleased, so he would not have a perfect activity, if he could not do what he 

Reason 3. The simplicity of God manifests it. Every substance, the more 
* Victorin. in Petav. torn. i. p. 333. t Ibid. p. 233. 

124 charnock's works. [Job XXVI. 14. 

spiritual it is, the more powerful it is. All perfections are more united in a 
Simple, than in a compounded being. Angels being spirits, are more powerful 
than bodies. Where there is the greatest simplicity, there is the greatest 
unity ; and where there is the greatest unity, there is the greatest power. 
Where there is a composition of a faculty and a member, the member or 
organ may be weakened and rendered unable to act, though the power doth 
still reside in the faculty. As a man, when his arm or hand is cut off or 
broke, he hath the faculty of motion still ; but he hath lost that instrument, 
that part whereby he did manifest and put forth that motion ; but God being 
a pure spiritual nature, hath no members, no organs to be defaced or im- 
paired. All impediments of action arise either from the nature of the thing 
that acts, or from something without it. There can be no hindrance to 
God to do whatsoever he pleases ; not in himself, because he is the most 
simple being, hath no contrariety in himself, is not composed of diverse 
things. And it cannot be from anything without himself, because nothing 
is equal to him, much less superior. He is the greatest, the supreme. All 
things were made by him, depend upon him, nothing can disappoint his in- 

Reason 4. The miracles that have been in the world evidence the power of 
God. Extraordinary productions have awakened men from their stupidity, 
to the acknowledgment of the immensity of divine power. Miracles are 
such effects as have been wrought without the assistance and co-operation 
of natural causes, yea, contrary, and besides the ordinary course of nature, 
above the reach of any created power. Miracles have been ; and saith 
Bradwardine,* to deny that ever such things were, is uncivil ; it is inhuman 
to deny all the histories of Jews and Christians. Whosoever denies miracles, 
must deny all possibility of miracles, and so must imagine himself fully 
skilled in the extent of divine power. How was the sun suspended from its 
motion for some hours, Joshua x. 13 ; the dead raised from the grave ; 
those reduced from the brink of it, that had been brought near to it by pre- 
vailing diseases ; and this by a word speaking ! How were the famished 
lions bridled from exercising their rage upon Daniel, exposed to them for a 
prey, Dan. vi. 22 ; the activity of the fire curbed for the preservation of 
the three children ! Dan. iii. 15. Which proves a Deity more powerful than 
all creatures. No power upon earth can hinder the operation of the fire 
upon combustible matter, when they are united, unless by quenching the 
fire, or removing the matter. But no created power can restrain the fire, so 
long as it remains so, from acting according to its nature. This was done 
by God in the case of the three children, and that of the burning bush, Exod. 
iii. 2. It was as much miraculous that the bush should not consume, as it 
was natural that it should burn by the efficacy of the fire upon it. No ele- 
ment is so obstinate and deaf, but it hears and obeys his voice, and performs 
his orders, though contrary to its own nature. All the violence of the 
creature is suspended as soon as it receives his command. He that gave 
the original to nature, can take away the necessity of nature.f He pre- 
sides over creatures, but is not confined to those laws he hath prescribed 
to creatures. He framed nature, and can turn the channels of nature 
according to his own pleasure. Men dig into the bowels of nature, search 
into all the treasures of it, to find medicines to cure a disease, and after 
all their attempts it may prove labour in vain. But God, by one act of 
his will, one word of his mouth, overturns the victory of death, and 
rescues from the most desperate diseases. J All the miracles which were 
wrought by the apostles, either speaking some words, or touching with the 

* Lib. i. cap. i. p. 38. t Damianus in Petav. % Fauch. in Acts, vol. ii. sec 56. 

Job XXVI. 14.] god's power. 125 

hand, were not effected by any virtue inherent in their words, or in their 
touches. For such virtue inherent in any created finite subject would be 
created and finite in itself, and consequently were incapable to produce 
effects, which require an infinite virtue, as miracles do, which are above the 
power of nature. So when our Saviour wrought miracles, it was not by any 
quality resident in his human nature, but by the sole power of his divinity. 
The flesh could only do what was proper to the flesh ; but the Deity did 
what was proper to the Deity. God ' alone doth wonders,' Ps. cxxxvi. 4, 
excluding every other cause from producing such things. He only doth 
those things which are above the power of nature, and cannot be wrought 
by any natural causes whatsoever. He doth not hereby put his omnipotence 
to any stress. It is as easy with him to turn nature out of its settled course, 
as it was to place it in that station it holds, and appoint it that course it 
runs. All the works of nature are indeed miracles, and testimonies of the 
power of God producing them, and sustaining them ; but works above the 
power of nature, being novelties and unusual, strike men with a greater 
admiration upon their appearance, because they are not the products of 
nature, but the convulsions of it. 

I might also add as an ai-gument, the power of the mind of man to con- 
ceive more than hath been wrought by God in the world ; and God can 
w^ork whatsoever perfection the mind of man can conceive, otherwise the 
reaches of a created imagination and fancy would be more extensive than 
the power of God. His power, therefore, is far greater than the conception 
of any intellectual creature ; else the creature would be of a greater capacity 
to conceive than God is to effect. The creature would have a power of con- 
ception above God's power of activity, and consequently a creature in some 
respect greater than himself. Now, whatsoever a creature can conceive pos- 
sible to be done, is but finite in its own nature ; and if God could not pro- 
duce what being a created understanding can conceive possible to be done, 
he would be less than infinite in power, nay, he could not go to the extent 
of what is finite ; but I have touched this before, that God can create more 
than he hath created, and in a more perfect way of being, as considered 
simply in themselves. 

III. The third general thing is to declare how the power of God appears 
in creation, in government, in redemption. 

1. In creation. With what majestic lines doth God set forth his power, 
in the giving being, and endowments to all the creatures in the world, Job 
xxxviii. All that is in heaven and earth is his, and shews the greatness 
of his ' power, glory, victory, and majesty,' 1 Chron. xxix. 11. The heaven 
being so magnificent a piece of work, is called emphatically, ' the firmament 
of his power,' Ps. cl. 1 ; his power being more conspicuous and unveiled 
in that glorious arch of the world. Indeed, ' God exalts by his power,' Job 
xxxvi. 22, that is, exalts himself by his power in all the works of his hands ; 
in the smallest shrub as well the most glorious sun. All his works of 
nature are truly miracles, though we consider them not, being blinded with 
too frequent and customary a sight of them ; yet in the neglect of all the rest, 
the view of the heavens doth more affect us with astonishment at the might 
of God's arm. These ' declare his glory, and the firmament shews his 
handiwork,' Ps. xix. 1 ; and the psalmist peculiarly calls them ' his heavens,' 
and ' the work of his fingers,' Ps. viii. 3. These were immediately created by 
God, whereas many other things in the world were brought into being by 
the power of God, yet by the means of the influence of the heavens. 
^ (1.) His power is the first thing evident in the story of the creation. 'In 

126 charnock's works. [Job XXVI. 14. 

the beginning God created the heavens and the earth,' Gen. i. 1. There is 
no appearance of anything in this declaratory preface, but of power. The 
characters of wisdom march after, in the distinct formation of things, and 
animating them with suitable qualities for an universal good. By heaven 
and earth is meant the whole mass of the creatures : by heaven, all the airy 
region, with all the host of it ; by the earth is meant all that which makes 
the entire inferior globe.* The Jews observe, that in the first of Genesis, 
in the whole chapter unto the finishing the work in six days, God is called 
□"'n'??^, which is a name of power, and that thirty-two times in that chap- 
ter ; but after finishing the six days' work, he is called D^'^7^i^T, which 
accordincr to their notion is a name of goodness and kindness. His power 
is first visible in framing the world, before his goodness is visible in the sus- 
taining and preserving it. It was by this name of Power and Almighty that 
he was known in the first ages of the world, not by his name Jehovah : 
Exod. vi. 3, ' And I appeared unto Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, by the name 
of God Almighty ; but by my name Jehovah was I not known to them.' 
Not but that they were acquainted with the name, but did not experience the 
intent of the name, which signified his truth in the performance of his pro- 
mises. They knew him by that name as promising, but they knew him not 
by that name as performing. He would be known by his name Jehovah, 
true to his word, when he was about to efi"ect the deliverance from Egypt ; 
a type of the eternal redemption, wherein the truth of God, in performing of 
his first promise, is gloriously magnified. And hence it is that God is called 
Almighty more in the book of Job, than in all the Scripture besides, I think 
about thirty-two times, and Jehovah but once, which is Job xii. 9, unless in 
Job xxxviii., when God is introduced speaking himself, which is an argument 
of Job's living before the deliverance from Egypt, when God was known more 
by his works of creation, than by the performance of his promises, before 
the name Jehovah was formally published. Indeed, this attribute of his 
eternal power is the first thing visible and inteUigible upon the first glance of 
the eye upon the creatures, Kom. i. 20. Bring a man out of the cave where 
he hath been nursed, without seeing anything out of the confines of it, and 
and let him lift up his eyes to the heavens, and take a prospect of that glo- 
rious body the sun, then cast them down to the earth, and behold the sur- 
face of it with its green clothing, the first notion which will start up in his 
mind from that spring of wonders is that of power, which he will first adore 
with a religious astonishment. The wisdom of God in them is not so pre- 
sently apparent, till after a more exquisite consideration of his works, and 
knowledge of the properties of their natures, the conveniency of their situa- 
tions, and the usefulness of their functions, and the order wherein they are 
linked together for the good of the universe. 

(2.) By this creative power God is often distinguished from all the idols 
and false gods in the world ; and by this title he sets forth himself w^hen he 
would act any great and wonderful work in the world. ' He is great above all 
gods ;' for ' he hath done whatsoever he pleased in heaven and in earth,' 
Ps. exxxv. 5, 6. Upon this is founded all the worship he challengeth in the 
world, as his pecuUar glory: Rev. iv. 11, 'Thou art worthy, Lord, to 
receive glory, honour, and power : for thou hast created all things ;' and 
Eev. X. 6. 'I have made the earth, and created man upon it : I, even my 
hands, have stretched out the heavens, and all their host have I commanded,' 
Isa. xlv. 12. What is the issue ? Ver. 16, * They shall be ashamed and con- 
founded, all of them, that are makers of idols.' And the weakness of idols 
is expressed by this title : * The gods that have not made the heavens and 
♦ Mercer, p. 7, col. 1, 2. 

Job XXVI. 14.] god"s power. 127 

the earth,' Jer. x. 11. ' The portion of Jacob is not like them : for he is 
the former of all things,' ver. 16. 

What is not that God able to do, that hath created so great a world ? 
How doth the power of God appear in creation ? 

[1.] In making the world of nothing. When we say the world was made 
of nothing, we mean, that there was no matter existent for God to work 
upon, but what he raised himself in the first act of creation. In this regard, 
the power of God in creation surmounts his power in providence. Creation 
supposeth nothing, providence supposeth something in being. Creation inti- 
mates a creature making, providence speaks a thing already made, and capable 
of government, and in government. God uses second causes to bring about 
his purposes. 

First, The world was made of nothing. The earth, which is described as 
the first matter, ' without any form' or ornament, Gen. i. 1, 2, without any 
distinction or figures, was of God's forming in the bulk, before he did adorn 
it with his pencil.* God in the beginning creating the heaven and the earth, 
includes two things : first, that those were created in the beginning of time, 
and before all other things ; secondly, that God begun the creation of the 
world from those things. Therefore, before the heavens and the earth there 
was nothing absolutely created, and therefore no matter in being before 
an act of creation past upon it. It could not be eternal, because nothing 
can be eternal but God ; it must therefore have a beginning. If it had a 
beginning from itself, then it was before it was. If it acted in the making 
itself before it was made, then it had a being before it had a being ; for that 
which is nothing can act nothing. The action of anything supposeth the 
existence of the thing which acts. It being made, it was not before it was 
made ; for to be made is to be brought into being. It was made then by 
another, and that maker is God. It is necessary that the first original of 
things was from nothing. When we see one thing to arise from another, 
we must suppose an original of the first of each kind : as when we see a tree 
spring up from a seed, we know that seed came out of the bowels of another 
tree ; it had a parent, and it had a matter ; we must come to some Jirst, or 
else we run into an endless maze. We must come to some first tree, some 
first seed that had no cause of the same kind, no matter of it, but was mere 
nothing. Creation doth suppose a production from nothing ; because, 
if you suppose a thing without any real or actual existence, it is not 
capable of any other production than from nothing. Nothing must be 
supposed before the world, or we must suppose it eternal, and that is to 
deny it to be a creature, and make it God.f The creation of spiritual sub- 
stances, such as angels and souls, evince this ; those things that are purely 
spiritual, and consist not of matter, cannot pretend to any original from mat- 
ter, and therefore they rose up from nothing. If spiritual things arose from 
nothing, much more may corporeal, because they are of a lower nature than 
spiritual. And he that can create a higher nature of nothing, can create an 
inferior nature of nothing. As bodily things are more imperfect than 
spiritual, so their creation may be supposed easier than that of spiritual. 
There was as little need of any matter to be wrought to his hands, to con- 
trive into this visible fabric, as there was to erect such an excellent order as 
the glorious cherubims. 

Secondly, This creation of things from nothing speaks an infinite power. 

The distance between nothing and being hath been alway counted so great, 

that nothing but an infinite power can make such distances meet together ; 

either for nothing to pass into being, or being to return to nothing. To 

* Suarez, vol. iii. p. 33. t Ibid., vol. ill. p. 6. 

128 chahnock's works. [Job XX^VT!. 14. 

have a thing arise from nothing, was so difficult a text to those that were 
ignorant of the Scripture, that they knew not how to fathom it ; and therefore 
laid it down as a certain rule, that of nothing, nothing is made, which is true 
of a created power, but not of an uncreated and almighty power. A greater 
distance cannot be imagined than that which is between nothing and some- 
thing ; that which hath no being, and that which hath ; and a greater power 
cannot be imagined than that which brings something out of nothing. We 
know not how to conceive a nothing, and afterwards a being from that 
nothing ; but we must remain swallowed up in admiration of the cause that 
gives it being, and acknowledge it to be without any bounds and measures 
of greatness and power. ^= The further anything is from being, the more 
immense must that power be which brings it into being. It is not conceiv- 
able that the power of all the angels in one can give being to the smallest 
spire of grass. To imagine, therefore, so small a thing as a bee, a fly, a 
grain of corn, or an atom of dust, to be made of nothing, would stupify any 
creature in the consideration of it ; much more to behold the heavens with 
all the troop of stars, the earth with all its embroidery, and the sea with all 
her inhabitants of fish ; and man, the noblest creature of all, to arise out of 
the womb of mere emptiness. Indeed, God had not acted as an almighty 
Creator if he had stood in need of any materials but of his own framing. It 
had been as much as his deity was worth, if he had not had all within the 
compass of his own power that was necessary to operation ; if he must have 
been beholden to something without himself, and above himself, for matter 
to work upon. Had there been such a necessity, we could not have imagined 
him to be omnipotent, and consequently not God. 

Thirdhj, In this the power of God exceeds the power of all natural and 
rational agents. Nature, or the order of second causes, hath a vast power. 
The sun generates flies and other insects ; but of some matter, the slime of 
the earth or a dunghill. The sun and the earth bring forth harvests of corn, 
but from seed first sown in the earth : fruits are brought forth, but from the 
sap of the plant. Were there no seed or plants in the earth, the power of 
the earth would be idle, and the influence of the sun insignificant ; whatso- 
ever strength either of them had in their nature must be useless without mat- 
ter to work upon. All the united strength of nature cannot produce the least 
thing out of nothing. It may multiply and increase things, by the power- 
ful blessing God gave it at the first erecting of the world, but it cannot create. 
The word which signifies creation, used in Gen. i. 1, is not ascribed to any 
second cause, but only to God ; a word in that sense is incommunicable to 
anything else, as the action it signifies. 

Eational creatures can produce admirable pieces of art from small things, 
yet still out of matter created to their hands ; excellent garments may be 
woven, but from the entrails of a small silk-worm ; delightful and medicinal 
spirits and essences may be extracted by ingenious chemists, but out of the 
bodies of plants and minerals. No picture can be drawn without colours ; 
no statue engraven without stone ; no building erected without timber, 
stones, and other materials ; nor can any man raise a thought without some 
matter framed to his hands, or cast into him. Matter is by nature formed 
to the hands of all artificers ; they bestow a new figure upon it, by the help 
of instruments, and the product of their own wit and skill, but they create 
not the least particle of matter ; when they want it, they must be supplied, 
or else stand still, as well as nature ; for none of them, or all together, can 
make the least mite or atom ; and when they have wrought all that they 
can, they will not want some to find a flaw and defect in their work. God, 
* Amyrald, Morale, torn. i. p. 252. 

Job XXVI. 14.] god's power. 129 

as a creator, hath the only prerogative to draw what he pleases from nothing, 
without any defect, without any imperfection. He can raise what matter 
he please, ennoble it with what form he pleases. Of nothing, nothing can 
be made by any created agent ; but the omnipotent architect of the world 
is not under the same necessity, nor is limited to the same rule, and tied by 
so short a tether as created nature, or an ingenious yet feeble artificer. 

[2. J It appears in raising such variety of creatures from this barren womb 
of nothing, or from the matter which he first commanded to appear out of 
nothing. Had there been any pre-existent matter, yet the bringing forth such 
varieties and diversities of excellent creatures, some with life, some with 
sense, and others with reason superadded to the rest, and those out of indis- 
posed and undigested matter, would argue an infinite power resident in the 
first author of this variegated fabric. From this matter he formed that glo- 
rious sun, which every day displays its glory, scatters its beams, clears the 
air, ripens our fruits, and maintains the propagation of creatures in the 
world. From this matter he lighted those torches which he set in the heaven 
to qualify the darkness of the night. From this he compacted those bodies 
of light, which though they seem to us as little sparks, as if they were the 
glow-worms of heaven, yet some of them exceed in greatness this globe of 
the earth on which we live ; and thehighest of them hath so quick a motion, 
that some tell us they run in the space of every hour forty-two milUons of 
leagues. From the same matter he drew the earth on which we walk ; from 
thence he extracted the flowers to adorn it, the hills to secure the valleys, 
and the rocks to fortify it against the inundations of the sea. And on this 
dull and sluggish element he bestowed so great a fruitfulness to maintain, 
feed, and multiply so many seeds of different kinds, and conferred upon those 
little bodies of seeds a power to multiply their kinds, in conjunction with the 
fruitfulness of the earth, to many thousands. From this rude matter, the 
slime or dust of the earth, he kneaded the body of man, and wrought so 
curious a fabric, fit to entertain a soul of a heavenly extraction, formed by 
the breath of God, Gen. ii. 7. He brought light out of thick darkness, and 
living creatures, fish and fowl, out of inanimate waters, Gen. i. 20, and gave 
a power of spontaneous motion to things arising from that matter which had 
no living motion. To convert one thing into another is an evidence of infi- 
nite power, as well as creating things of nothing ; for the distance between 
life and not life is next to that which is between being and not being. God 
first forms matter out of nothing, and then draws upon and from this indis- 
posed chaos many excellent portraitures. Neither earth nor sea were capable 
of producing living creatures, without an infinite power working upon it, and 
bringing into it such variety and multitude of forms, and this is called by 
some mediate creation ; as the producing the chaos, which was without form 
and void, is called immediate creation. Is not the power of the potter 
admirable in forming out of tempered clay such varieties of neat and curious 
vessels, that, after they are fashioned, and passed the furnace, look as if they 
were not of any kin to the matter they are formed of? And is it not the 
same with the glass-maker, that from a little melted jelly of sand and ashes, 
or the dust of flint, can blow up so pure a body as glass, and in such 
varieties of shapes ? And is not the power of God more admirable, because 
infinite in speaking out so beautiful a world out of nothing, and such 
varieties of living creatures from matter utterly indisposed in its own nature 
form such forms ? 

[3. J And this conducts to a third thing, wherein the power of God appears, 
in that he did all this with the greatest ease and facility. 

First, Without instruments. As God made the world without the advice, 


130 ' chaenock's works. [Job XXVI. 14. 

so without the assistance of any other. ' He stretched forth the heavens 
alone, and spread abroad the earth by himself,' Isa. xliv. 24. He had no 
engine but his word, no pattern or model but himself. What need can he 
have of instruments, that is able to create what instruments he pleases ? 
Where there is no resistance in the object, where no need of preparation or 
instrumental advantage in the agent, there the actu^^l determination of the 
will is sufficient to a reproduction. What instrument need we to the think- 
ing of a thought or an act of our will ? Men indeed cannot act anything 
without tools ; the best artificer must be beholden to something else for his 
noblest works of art. The carpenter cannot work without his rule, and 
axe, and saw, and other instruments. The watchmaker cannot act without 
his file and pliers. But in creation there is nothing necessary to God's 
bringing forth a world but a simple act of his will, which is both the prin- 
cipal cause and instrumental. He had no scafi'olds to rear it, no engines to 
polish it, no hammers or mattocks to clod and work it together. It is a 
miserable error to measure the actions of an infinite cause by the imperfect 
model of a finite, since by his own power and outstretched arm he made 
the heaven and the earth, Jer. xxxii. 17. What excellency would God have 
in his work above others, if he needed instruments, as feeble men do ?* 
Every artificer is counted more admirable that can frame curious works 
with the less matter, fewer tools and assistances. God uses instruments in 
his works of providence, not for necessity, but for the display of his wisdom 
in the management of them ; yet those instruments were originally framed 
by him without instruments. Indeed, some of the Jews thought the angels 
were the instruments of God in creatirig man, and that those words. Gen. 
i. 26, * Let us make man in our own image,' were spoken to angels. But 
certainly the Scripture, which denies God any counsellor in the model of 
creation, Isa. xl. 12-14, doth not join any instrument with him in the ope- 
ration, which is everywhere ascribed to himself without created assistance, 
Isa. xlv. 18. It was not to angels God spake in that afi'air ; if so, man was 
made after the image of angels, if they were companions with God in that 
work ; but it' is everywhere said that man was made after the image of 
God, Gen. i. 27. Again, the image wherein man was created was that of 
dominion over the lower creatures, as appears ver. 26, which we find not 
conferred upon angels ; and it is not likely that Moses should introduce the 
angels as God's privy council, of whose creation he had not mentioned one 
syllable. * Let us make man ' rather signifies the Trinity, and not spoken 
in a royal style, as some think. Which of the Jewish kings writ in the 
style we ? That was the custom of later times ; and we must not measure 
the language of Scripture by the style of Europe, of a far later date than the 
penning the history of the creation. If angels were his counsellors in the 
creation of the material world, what instrument had he in the creation of 
angels ? If his own wisdom were the director, and his own will the pro- 
ducer of the one, why should we not think that he acted by his sole power 
in the other ? It is concluded by most, that the power of creation cannot 
be derived to any creature, it being a work of omnipotency. The drawing 
something out from nothing cannot be communicated, without a communica- 
tion of the Deity itself. The educing things from nothing exceeds the 
capacity of any creature, and the creature is of too feeble a nature to be 
elevated to so high a degree. It is very unreasonable to think that God 
needed any such aid. If an instrument were necessary for God to create 
the world, then he could not do it without that instrument. If he could 
not, he were not then all-sufficient in himself, if he depended upon anything 
* Gassend. 

Job XXVI. 14.] god's power. 131 

without himself for the production or consummation of his works. And it 
might be inquired how that instrument came into being. If it begun to be, 
and there was a time when it was not, it must have its being from the power 
of God ; and then, why could not God as well create all things without an 
instrument, as create that instrument without an instrument ? For there 
was no more power necessary to a producing the whole without instruments, 
than to produce one creature without an instrument. 

No creature can in its own nature be an instrument of creation. If any 
such instrument were used by God, it must be elevated in a miraculous and 
supernatural way ; and what is so an instrument, is in effect no instrument ; 
for it works nothing by its own nature, but from an elevation of a superior 
nature, and beyond its own nature. All the power in the instrument is 
truly the power of God, and not the power of the instrument. And there- 
fore what God doth by an instrument he could do as well without. If you 
should see one apply a straw to iron for the cutting of it, and effect it, you 
would not call the straw an instrument in that action, because there was 
nothing in the nature of the straw to do it. It was done wholly by some 
other force, which might have done it as well without the straw as with it. 
The narrative of the creation in Genesis removes any instrument from God. 
The plants which are preserved and propagated by the influence of the sun 
were created the day before the sun, viz., on the third day, whereas the 
light was collected into the body of the sun on the fourth day. Gen. i. 11, 16, 
to shew, that though the plants do instrumentally owe their yearly beauty 
and preservation to the sun, yet they did not in any manner owe their crea- 
tion to the instrumental heat and vigour of it. 

Secondly, God created the world by a word, by a simple act of his will. 
The whole creation is wrought by a word : ' God said. Let there be light ; ' 
and ' God said. Let there be a firmament,' Gen. i. ;3, 5, &c., throughout 
the whole chapter. Not that we should understand it of a sensible word, 
but to express the easiness of this operation of God, as easy as a word to 
man. We must understand it of a powerful order of his own will, which is 
expressed by the Psalmist in the nature of a command : Ps. xxxiii. 6, ' He 
spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast; ' and Ps. cxlviii. 5, 
' He commanded, and they were created.' At the same instant that he 
willed them to stand forth, they did stand forth. The efficacious com- 
mand of the Creator was the original of all things ; the insensibility of 
nothing obeyed the act of his will. Creation is therefore entitled a calHng : 
Rom. iv. 17, ' He calls those things which are not as if they were.' To 
create is no more with God than to call ; and what he calls presents itself 
before him in the same posture that he calls it. He did with more ease 
make a world than we can form a thought. It is the same ease to him to 
create worlds as to decree them. There needs no more than a resolve to 
have things wrought at such a time, and they will be, according to his plea- 
sure. This will is his power. 'Let there be light' is the precept of his 
will, and ' there was light ' is the effect of his precept. By a word was the 
matter of the heavens and the earth framed ; by a word things separate 
themselves from the rude mass into then: proper forms ; by a word light 
associates itself into one body and forms a sun ; by a word are the heavens, 
as it were, bespangled with stars, and the earth dressed with flowers ; by a 
word is the world both ceiled and floored. One act of his will formed the 
world and perfected its beauty. All the variety and several exploits of his 
power were not caused by distinct words or acts of power. God uttered not 
distinct words for distinct species, as, let there be an elephant, and let 
there be a lion; but as he produced those various creatures out of one 

132 chabnock's woeks. [Job XXVI. 14. 

matter, so by one word. By one single command, those varieties of crea- 
tures, with their clothing, ornaments, distinct notes, qualities, functions, 
were brought forth. By one word all the seeds of the earth, wdth their 
various virtues ; by one word, all the fish of the sea, and fowls of the air in 
their distinct natures, instincts, colours ; by one word all the beasts of the 
field, with their varieties, Gen. i. 11, 20, 24. Heaven and earth, spiritual and 
corporeal creatures, mortal and immortal, the greater and the less, visible 
and invisible, were formed with the same ease. A word made the least, and 
a word made the greatest.* It is as little difficulty to him to produce the 
highest angel as the lightest atom. It is enough for the existence of the 
stateliest cherubim for God only to will his being ; it was enough for the 
forming and fixing the sun to will the compacting of light into one body. 
The creation of the soul of man is expressed by inspiration. Gen. ii. 7, to 
shew that it is as easy with God to create a rational soul as for man to 
breathe. f Breathing is natural to man by a communication of God's good- 
ness ; and the creation of the soul is as easy to God by virtue of his 
almighty word. As there was no proportion between nothing and being, so 
there was as little proportion between a word and such glorious effects. A 
mere voice, coming from an omnipotent will, was capable to produce such 
varieties, which angels and men have seen in all ages of the world, and this 
without weariness. What labour is there in willing, what pain could there 
be in speaking a word ? Isa. xl. 28, ' The Creator of the ends of the earth 
is not weary.' And though he be said to rest after the creation, it is to be 
meant a rest from work, not a repose from weariness. So great is the power 
of God, that without any matter, without any instruments, he could create 
many worlds, and with the same ease as he made this. 

[4.] I might add also, the appearance of this power in the instantaneous 
production of things. The ending of his word was not only the beginning, but 
the perfection of everything he spake into being ; not several words to 
several parts and members, but one word, one breath of his mouth, one act 
of his will to the whole species of the creatures, and to every member of 
each individual. Heaven and earth were created in a moment, six days 
went to their disposal, and that comely order we obsei-ve in the world was 
the work of a week ; the matter was formed as soon as God had spoken the 
word, and in every part of the creation, as soon as God spake the word, 
* Let it be so,' the answer immediately is, ' It was so,' which notes the 
present standing up of the creature according to the act of his will. And 
therefore, J one observes, that Let there be Ught, and there ivas light, in the 
Hebrew are the same words, without any alteration of letter or point, only 
the conjunctive particle added, ■^^^i \'T"1 "I'lJiJ *'n\ Let there be light, and 
let there be light, to shew that the same instant of the speaking of the divine 
word was the appearance of the creature, so great was the authority of his will. 

2. We are to shew God's power in the government of the world. As 
God decreed from eternity the creation of things in time, so he decreed 
from eternity the particular ends of creatures, and their operations respect- 
ing those ends. Now as there was need of his power to execute his 
decree of creation, there is also need of his power to execute his decree 
about the manner of government. AU government is an act of the under- 
standing, will, and power.§ Prudence to design belongs to the understand- 
ing, the election of the means belongs to the will, and the accomplishment 
of the whole is an act of power. It is a hard matter to determine which is 
most necessary. Wisdom stands in as much need of power to perfect, as 
power doth of wisdom, to model and draw out a scheme ; though wisdom 
* August, t Theodoret. t Pears., p. 111. § Suarez., vol. i. lib. iii. cap x. 

Job XXYI. 14.] god's powee. 133 

directs, power must eflfect. Wisdom and power are distinct things among 
men. A poor man in a cottage may have more prudence to advise than a 
privy councillor, and a prince more power to act than wisdom to conduct. 
A pilot may direct, though he be lame, and cannot climb the masts and 
spread the sails. But God is wanting in nothing ; neither in wisdom to 
design, nor in will to determine, nor in power to accomplish. His wisdom 
is not feeble, nor his power foolish. A powerful wisdom could not act what 
it would, and a foolish power would act more than it should. The power 
expressed in his government is shadowed forth in the living creatures, 
which are God's instruments in it. It is said, Ezek. i. 10, ' Every one of 
them had four faces : ' that of a man to signify wisdom ; of a lion, eagle, the 
strongest among birds, to signify their corn-age and strength to perform their 

This power is evident in the natural, moral, gracious government. 

There is a natural providence, which consists in the preservation of all 
things, propagation of them by corruptions and generations, and in a co-opera- 
tion with them in their motions to attain their ends. 

Moral government is of the hearts and actions of men. 

Gracious government, as respecting the church. 
■ (1.) His power is evident in natural government. 

[1.] In preservation. God is the great Father of the world, to nourish 
it as well as create it.* Man and beast would perish if there were not 
herbs for their food, and herbs would wither and perish if the earth were not 
watered with fruitful showers. This some of the heathens acknowledged in 
their worshipping God under the image of an ox, a useful creature, by reason of 
its strength, to which we owe so much of our food in corn. Hence God is 
styled the ' preserver of man and beast,' Ps. xxxvi. 6. Hence the Jews 
called God j^lace, D")pQ, because he is the subsistence of all things. By the 
same word whereby he gave being to things, he gives to them continuance 
and duration in being to such a term of time. As they were created by his 
word, they are supported by his word, Heb. i. 3. The same powerful /af, 
Gen. i. 11, ' Let the earth bring forth grass,' when the plants peeped upon 
manf out of nothing, is expressed every spring, when they begin to lift up 
their heads from their naked roots and winter graves. The resurrection of 
light every morning, the reviving the pleasure of all things to the eye, the 
watering the valleys from the mountain springs, the curbing the natural 
appetite of the waters from covering the earth, every draught that the beasts 
drink, every lodging the fowls have, every bit of food for the sustenance of 
man and beast, is ascribed to the ' opening of his hand,' the diffusing of his 
power, Ps. civ. 27, &c., as much as the first creation of things, and endowing 
them with their particular nature ; whence the plants which are so serviceable 
are called, ver. 16, the ' trees of the Lord,' of Jehovah, that hath only being 
and power in himself. The whole psalm is but the description of his preserving, 
as the first of Genesis is of his creating power. It is by this power angels 
have so many thousand years remained in the power of understanding and 
willing. By this power things distant in their natures ^have been joined 
together, a spiritual soul and a dusty body knit in a marriage knot ; by 
this power the heavenly bodies have for so many ages rolled in their spheres, 
and the tumultuous elements have persisted in their order; by this hath the 
matter of the world been to this day continued, and as capable of entertain- 
ing forms as it was at the first creation. What an amazing sight would it 
be to see a man hold a pillar of the exchange upon one of his fingers ! 
What is this to the power of God, who ' holds the waters in the hollow of 
* Daille in 1 Cor. x. p. 102. t Qu. ' tho earth ' ?— Ed 

134 charnock's works. [Job XXVI. 14. 

his hands, metes out the heaven •with a span, and weighs the mountains in 
scales, and the hills in a balance' ? Isa. xl. 12. 

The preserving the earth from the violence of the sea is a plain instance 
of this power.* How is that raging element kept pent withing those lists 
where he first lodged it, continuing its course in its channel without over- 
flowing the earth, and dashing in pieces the lower part of the creation ! 
The natural situation of the water is to be above the earth, because it is 
lighter, and to be immediately under the air, because it is heavier than that 
thinner element. Who restrains this natural quality of it, but that God 
that first formed it ? The word of command at first, ' Hitherto shalt thou 
go, and no further,' keeps those waters linked together in their den, that 
they may not ravage the earth, but be useful to the inhabitants of it. And 
when once it finds a gap to enter, what power of earth can hinder its passage ? 
How fruitless sometimes is all the art of man to send it to its proper channel, 
when once it hath spread its mighty waves over some countries, and trampled 
part of the inhabited earth under its feet ! It hath triumphed in its victory, 
and withstood all the power of man to conquer its force. It is only the 
power of God that doth bridle it from spreading itself over the whole earth. 
And that his power might be more manifest, he hath set but a weak and 
small bank against it. Though he hath bounded it in some places by mighty 
rocks, which lift up their heads above it, yet in most places by feeble sand. 
How often is it seen in every stormy motion, when the waves boil high, and 
roll furiously, as if they would swallow up all the neighbouring houses upon 
the shore; when they come to touch those sandy limits they bow their heads, 
fall flat, and sink into the lap whence they were raised, and seem to foam 
with anger that they can march no further, but must spit themselves at so 
weak an obstacle ! Can the sand be thought to be the cause of this ? The 
weakness of it gives no footing to such a thought. Who can apprehend 
that an enraged army should retire upon the opposition of a straw in an 
infant's hand? Is it the nature of the water? Its retirement is against 
the natural quality of it ; pour but a little upon the ground, and you always 
see it spread itself. No cause can be rendered in nature ; it is a standing 
monument of the power of God in the preservation of the world, and ought 
to be more taken notice of by us in this island, surrounded with it, than by 
some other countries in the world. 

First, We find nothing hath power to preserve itself. Doth not every 
creature upon earth require the assistance of some other for its maintenance? 
' Can the rush grow up without mire ; can the flag grow up without water ? ' 
Job viii. 11. Can man or beast maintain itself without grain from the 
bowels of the earth ? Would not every man tumble into the grave without 
the aid of other creatures to nourish him ? Whence do these creatures 
receive that virtue of supplying him nourishment, but from the sun and 
earth, and whence do they derive that virtue, but from the Creator of all 
things ? And should he but slack his hand, how soon would they and all 
their qualities perish, and the lines of the world fall in pieces, and dash one 
another into their first chaos and confusion ! All creatures indeed have an 
appetite to preserve themselves, they have some knowledge of the outward 
means for their preservation, so have irrational animals a natural instinct, 
as well as men have some skill to avoid things that are hurtful, and apply 
things that are helpful. But what thing in the world can preserve itself by 
an inward influx into its own being ? All things want such a power without 
GoA's Jiat, ' Let it be so.' Nothing but is destitute of such a power for its 
own preservation, as much as it is of a power for its own creation. Were 
* Daille, Melange, part ii. p. 457, &c. 

Job XXVI. 14.] god's power. 185 

there any true power for such a work, what need of so many external helps 
from things of an inferior nature to that which is preserved by them ? 

: No created thing hath a power to preserve any decayed being. Who can 
lay claim to such a virtue as to recall a withering flower to its former 
beauty, to raise the head of a drooping plant, or put life into a gasping 
worm when it is expiring, or put impaired vitals into their former posture ? 
Not a man upon earth, nor an angel in heaven, can pretend to such a virtue; 
they may be spectators, but not assisters, and are in this case physicians of 
no value. 

Secondly, It is therefore the same power preserves things, which at first 
created them. The creature doth as much depend upon God in the first 
instant of its being for its preservation, as it did, when it was nothing, 
for its production and creation into being. As the continuance of a thought 
of our mind depends upon the power of our mind, as well as the first 
framing of that thought.* There is as little difference between creating 
and preserving power, as there is between the power of mine eye to begin 
an act of vision and continue that act of vision, as to cast my eye upon an 
object, and continue it upon that object. As the first act is caused by the 
eye, so the duration *of that act is preserved by the eye; shut the eye, and 
the act of vision perishes ; divert the eye from that object, and that act of 
vision is exchanged for another. And therefore the preservation of things 
is commonly called a continual- creation. And certainly it is no less, if we 
understand it of a preservation by an inward influence into the being of 
things. It is one and the same action invariably continued, and obtaining 
its force every moment. f The same action whereby he created them of 
nothing, and which every moment hath a virtue to produce a thing out of 
nothing, if it were not yet extant in the world, it remains the same without 
any diminution throughout the whole time wherein anything doth remain 
in the world. For all things would return to nothing if God did not keep 
them up in the elevation and state to which he at first raised them by bis 
creative power : Acts xvii. 28, ' In him we live and have our being ;' by 
him, or by the same power whence we derived our being, are our lives 
maintained. As it was his almighty power whereby we were after we had 
been nothing, so it is the same power whereby we now are after he hath 
made us something. 

Certainly all things have no less a dependence on God than light upon the 
sun, which vanisheth and hides its head upon the withdrawing of the sun. 
And should God suspend that powerful word whereby he erected the frame 
of the world, it would sink down to what it was before he commanded it to 
stand up. There needs no new act of power to reduce things to nothing, 
but the cessation of that omnipotent influx. When the appointed time set 
them for their being comes to a period, they faint and bend down their 
heads to their dissolution ; they return to their elements, and perish : Ps. 
civ. 29, ' Thou hidest thy face, and they are troubled : thou takest away 
their breath, they die, and return to their dust.' That which was 
nothing cannot remain on this side nothing, but by the same power that 
first called it out of nothing. As when God withdrew his concurring power 
from the fire, its quality ceased to act upon the three children, so if he 
withdraws his sustaining power from the creature, its nature will cease to be. 
[2.] It appears in propagation. That powerful word, ' Increase and mul- 
tiply,' Gen. i. 22, 23, pronounced at the first creation, hath spread itself 
over every part of the world, every animal in the world, in the formation cf 
every one of them. From two of a kind, how great a number of individuals 
* Lessius, de Perfect. Divin. p. 69. t Lessius, de Sum. Bon. p. 580-582. 

136 charnock's works. [Job XXVI. 14. 

and single creatures have been multiplied to cover the face of the earth in 
their continued successions ! What a world of plants spring up from the 
vfomh of a dry earth, moistened by the influence of a cloud, and hatched by 
the beams of the sun ! How admirable an instance of his propagating 
power is it, that from a little seed a massy root should strike into the 
bowels of the earth, a tall body and thick branches, with leaves and flowers 
of various colours, should break through the surface of the earth, and mount 
up towards heaven, when in the seed you neither smell the scent, nor see 
any firmness of a tree, nor behold any of those colours which you view in 
the flowers that the years produce, a power not to be imitated by any crea- 
ture ! How astonishing is it that a small seed, whereof many will not 
amount to the weight of a grain, should spread itself into leaves, bark, fruit 
of a vast weight, and multiply itself into millions of seeds ! What power is 
that, that from one man and woman hath multiplied families, and from 
families stocked the world with people ! Consider the living creatures, as 
formed in the womb of their several kinds, every one is a wonder of power. 
The psalmist instanceth in the forming and propagation of man : Ps. 
cxxxix. 14, * I am fearfully and wonderfully made : .marvellous are thy 
works.' The forming of the parts distinctly in the womb, and bringing 
forth into the world every particular member, is a roll of wonders, of power. 
That so fine a structure as the body of man should be polished ' in the lower 
parts of the earth,' as he calls the womb, ver. 15, in so short a time, with 
members of a various form and usefulness, each labouring in their several 
functions ! Can any man give an exact account of the manner ' how the 
bones do grow in the womb' ? Eccles. xi. 5. It is unknown to the father, 
and no less hid from the mother, and the wisest men cannot search out the 
depths of it. It is one of the secret works of an omnipotent power ; secret 
in the manner, though open in the efiect. So that we must ascribe it to 
God, as Job doth: * Thine hands have made me, and fashioned me together 
round about,' Job x. 8 ; thy hands, which formed heaven, have formed 
every part, every member, and wrought me like a mighty workman. The 
heavens are said to be the work of God's hands, and man is here said to be 
no less. The forming and propagation of man from that earthly matter is 
no less a wonder of power than the structure of the world from a rude and 
indisposed matter. A heathen philosopher descants elegantly upon it : ' Dost 
thou understand (my son) the forming of man in the womb ? Who erected 
that noble fabric ; who carved the eyes, the crystal windows of light, and 
the conductors of the body ; who bored the nostrils and ears, those loop- 
holes of scents and sounds; who stretched out and knit the sinews and 
ligaments for the fastening of every member ; who cast the hollow veins, 
the channels of blood ; set and strengthened the bones, the pillars and 
rafters of the body ; who digged the pores, the sinks to expel the filth ; 
who made the heart, the repository of the soul, and formed the lungs like a 
pipe ? What mother, what father, wrought these things ? No, none but 
the almighty God, who made all things according to his pleasure. It is he 
who pi'opagates this noble piece from a pile of dust. Who is born by his 
own advice ; who gives stature, features, sense, wit, strength, speech, but 

It is no less a wonder that a little infant can live so long in a dark sink, 
in the midst of filth without breathing ; and the eduction of it out of the 
womb is no less a wonder than the forming, increase, nourishment of it in 
that cell ; a wonder that the life of the infant is not the death of the 
mother, or the life of the mother the death of the infant. This little crea- 
* Trismegist. in Serm. Greek in the Temple, p. 57. 

Job XXVI. 14. J god's power. 137 

ture, when it springs up from such small beginnings by the power of God, 
grows up to be one of the lords of the world, to have dominion over the 
creatures, and propagates its kind in the same manner. AU this is un- 
accountable without having recourse to the power of God in the government 
of the creatures. 

And to add to this wonder, consider also what multitudes of formations 
and births there are at one time all over the world, in every part of which 
the finger of God is at work ; and it will speak an unwearied power. It is 
admirable in one man, more in a town of men ; still more in a greater and 
larger kingdom, a vaster world. There is a birth for every hour in this 
city, were but one hundred and sixty-eight born in a week, though the 
weekly bills mention more. What is this city to three kingdoms, what 
three kingdoms to a populous world ? Eleven* thousand and eighty will 
make one for every minute in the week ; what is this to the weekly propa- 
gation in all the nations of the universe, besides the generation of all the 
living creatures in that space, which are the 'works of God's fingers' as 
well as man ? What will be the result of this but the notion of an uncon- 
ceivable, unwearied almightiness, alway active, alway operating ? 

[3.] It appears in the motions of all creatures. All things ' live and 
move in him,' Acts xvii. 28, by the same power that creatures have their 
beings, they have their motions. They have not only a being by his power- 
ful command, but they have their minutely motion by his powerful concur- 
rence. Nothing can act without the almighty influx of God, no more than 
it can exist without the creative word of God. It is true indeed the order- 
ing of all motions to his holy ends is an act of wisdom, but the motion itself 
whereby those ends are attained is a work of his power. 

First, God as the first cause hath an influence into the motions of all 
second causes. As all the wheels in a clock are moved in their difierent 
motions by the force and strength of the principal and primary wheel, if 
there be any defect in that, or if that stand still, all the rest languish and 
stand still the same moment. All creatures are his instruments, his 
engines, and have no spirit but what he gives and what he assists. What- 
soever nature works, God works in nature ; nature is the instrument, God 
is the supporter, director, mover of nature ; that what the prophet saith 
in another case may be the language of universal nature, ' Lord, thou 
hast wrought all our works in us,' Isa. xxvi. 12. They are our works sub- 
jectively, efficiently, as second causes; GocVs wovks originally, concurrently. 
The sun moved not in the valley of Ajalon for the space of many hours in 
the time of Joshua, chap. x. 13; nor did the fire exercise its consuming 
quality upon the three children in Nebuchadnezzar's furnace, Dan. iii. 25. 
He withdrew not his supporting power from their being, for then they had 
vanished ; but his influencing power from their qualities, whereby their 
motion ceased, till he returned his influential concui-rence to them ; which 
evidenceth, that without a perpetual derivation of divine power the sun 
could not run one stride or inch of its race, nor the fire devour one grain of 
light chafi" or an inch of straw. Nothing without his sustaining power can 
continue in being, nothing without his co-working power can exercise one 
mite of those qualities it is possessed of. All creatures are wound up by him, 
and his hand is constantly upon them, to keep them in perpetual motion. 

Secondly, Consider the variety of motions in a single creature. How 

many motions are there in the vital parts of a man, or in any other animal 

which a man knows not, and is unable to number ? The renewed motion 

of the lungs, the systoles and diastoles of the heart, the contractions and 

♦ 'Ten.'— Ed. 

138 ' chaknock's works. [Job XXVI. 14. 

dilatations of the heart, whereby it spouts out and takes in blood, the power 
of concoction in the stomach, the motion of the blood in the veins, &c., all 
which were not only settled by the powerful hand of God, but are upheld 
by the same, preserved and influenced in every distinct motion by that power 
that stamped them with that nature. To every one of those there is not 
only the sustaining power of God holding up their natures, but the motive 
power of Gcd concurring to every motion ; for, if we move in him as well 
as we live in him, then every particle of our motion is exercised by his 
concurring power, as well as every moment of our life supported by his 
preserving power. What an infinite variety of motions is there in the whole 
world, in universal nature, to all which God concurs, all which he conducts, 
even the motions of the meanest as well as the greatest creatures, which 
demonstrate the indefatigable power of the governor. It is an infinite power 
which doth act in so many varieties, whereby the soul forms every thought, 
the tongue speaks every word, the body exerts every action. What an in- 
finite power is that which presides over the birth of all things, concurs 
with the motion of the sap in the tree, rivers on the earth, clouds in the 
air, every drop of rain, fleece of snow, crack of thunder ? Not the least 
motion in the world, but is under an actual influence of this almighty mover. 

And lest any should scruple the concurrence of God to so many varieties 
of the creatures' motion as a thing utterly inconceivable, let them consider the 
sun, a natural image and shadow of the perfections of God. Doth not the 
power of that finite creature extend itself to various objects at the same 
moment of time ? How many inse2ts doth it animate, as flies, &c., at the 
same moment throughout the world ! How many several plants doth it 
erect at its appearance in the spring, whose roots lay mourning in the earth 
all the foregoing winter ! What multitudes of spires of grass, and nobler 
flowers, doth it midwife in the same hour ! It warms the air, melts the 
blood, cherishes living creatures of various kinds in distinct places, without 
tiring ; and shall the God of this sun be less than his creature ? 

Thirdly, And since I speak of the sun, consider the power of God in the 
motion of it. The vastness of the sun is computed to be at the least 166 
times bigger than the earth,* and its distance from the earth some tell us to 
be about four miUions of miles,t whence it follows, that it is whirled about 
the world with that swiftness, that in the space of an hour it runs a million 
of miles, which is as much as if it should move round about the surface of 
the earth fifty times in one hour, which vastness exceeds the swiftness of a 
bullet shot out of a cannon, which is computed to fly not above three miles 
in a minute, so that the sun runs further in one hour's space, than a bullet 
can in five thousand if it were kept in motion ; so that if it were near the 
earth, the swiftness of its motion would shatter the whole frame of the 
world, and dash it in pieces : so that the psalmist may well say : ' It runs a 
race like a strong man,' Ps. xix. 5. What an incomprehensible power is 
that which hath communicated such a strength and swiftness to the sun, 
and doth daily influence its motion, especially since after all those years of 
its motion, wherein one would think it should have spent itself, we behold 
it every day as vigorous as Adam did in paradise, without limping, without 
shattering itself, or losing any thing of its natural spirits in its unwearied 
motion. How great must that power be, which hath kept this great body 
so entire, and thus swiftly moves it every day ! 

Is it not now an argument of omnipotency to keep all the strings of nature 

* A Lapide, in i. cap. Gen. 16. Lessius, de perfect, divin. p. 90, 91. Lessius, de 
Providen. p. 633. Voss. de Idol, lib. ii. cap. ii. 
t In reality nearly 96,000,000.— Ed. 

Job XXYI. 14.] god's power. 139 

in tune ; to wind them up to a due pitch for the harmony he intended by 
them ; to keep things that are contrary from that confusion they would 
naturally fall into ; to prevent those jarrings which would naturally result 
from their various and snarling qualities ; to preserve every being in its 
true nature ; to propagate every kind of creature ; order all the operations, 
even the meanest of them, when there are such innumerable varieties ? 

But let us consider, that this power of preserving things in their station 
and motion, and the renewing of them, is more stupendous than that which 
we commonly call miraculous. 

We call those miracles which are wrought out of the track of nature, and 
contrary to the usual stream and current of it, which men wonder at, because 
they seldom see them and hear of them, as things rarely brought forth in the 
world, when, the truth is, there is more of power expressed in the ordinary 
station and motion of natural causes, than in those extraordinary exertings of 
power. Is not more power signalised in that whirling motion of the sun every 
hour for so many ages, than in the suspending of its motion one day, as it was 
in the days of Joshua ? That fire should continually ravage and consume, 
and greedily swallow up every thing that is offered to it, seems to be the 
effect of as admirable a power as the stopping of its appetite a few moments, 
as in the case of the three children. Is not the rising of some small seeds from 
the ground, with a multiplication of their numerous posterity, an effect of 
as great a power as our Saviour's feeding many thousands with a few loaves 
by a secret augmentation of them ?* Is not the chemical producing so 
pleasant and delicious a fruit as the grape from a dry earth, insipid rain, and 
a sour vine, as admirable a token of divine power as our Saviour's turn- 
ing water into wine ? Is not the cure of diseases by the application of a 
simple inconsiderable weed, or a slight infusion, as wonderful in itself as the 
cure of it by a powerful word ? What if it be naturally designed to heal ; 
what is that nature, who gave that nature, who maintains that nature, who 
conducts it, co-operates with it ? Doth it work of itself, and by its own 
strength ? Why not then equally in all, in one as well as another ? Miracles 
indeed affect more, because they testify the immediate operation of God 
without the concurrence of second causes ; not that there is more of the 
power of God shining in them than in the other. 

(2.) This power is evident in moral government. 

[1.] In the restraint of the malicious nature of the devil. Since Satan 
hath the power of an angel and the malice of a devil, what safety would there 
be for our persons from destruction, what security for our goods from rifling 
by this invincible, potent, and envious spirit, if his power were not restrained 
and his malice curbed by one more mighty than himself? How much doth 
he envy God the glory of his creation, and man the use and benefit of it? 
How desirous would he be in regard of his passion, how able in regard of 
his strength and subtilty, to overthrow or infect all worship but what was 
directed to himself ; to manage all things according to his lusts, turn all 
things topsy-turvy, plague the world, burn cities, houses, plunder us of the 
supports of nature, waste kingdoms, &c., if he were not held in a chain as 
a ravenous lion, or a furious wild horse, by the creator and governor of the 
world ? What remedy could be used by man against the activity of this 
unseen and swift spirit ? The world could not subsist under his malice : 
he would practise the same things upon all, as he did upon Job, when he 
had got leave from his governor ; turn the swords of men into one another's 
bowels ; send fire from heaven upon the fruits of the earth, and the cattle 
intended for the use of man ; raise winds to shake and tear our houses upon 
* Faucher, sur Act. vol, ii. p. 47. 

140 chaknock's works. [Job XXVI. 14. 

our heads ; daub our bodies with scabs and boils, and let all the humours 
in our blood loose upon us. He that envied Adam in paradise, doth envy 
us the pleasure of enjoying its outworks ; if we were not destroyed by him, 
we should live in a continued vexation by spectres and apparitions, affright- 
ing sounds and noise, as some think the Egyptians did in that three days' 
darkness. He would be alway ' winnowing ' us, as he desired to winnow 
Peter, Luke xxii. 31. But God overmasters his strength, that he cannot 
move a hair's-breadth beyond his tether ; not only he is unable to touch an 
upright Job, but to lay his fingers upon one of the unbeUeving Gadarenes' 
forbidden and filthy swine without special licence, Mat. viii. 31. When 
he is cast out of one place, he 'walks through dry places seeking rest,' 
Luke ii. 24, new objects for his malicious designs, ' but finding none,' till 
God lets loose the reins upon him for a new employment. Though Satan's 
power be great, yet God suff'ers him not to tempt as much as his diabolical 
appetite would, but as much as divine wisdom thinks fit, and the divine 
power tempers the other's active malice and gives the creature victory, where 
the enemy intended spoil and captivity. How much stronger is God than 
all the legions of hell, as he that holds a strong man from effecting his pur- 
pose testifies more ability than his adversary ! Luke xi. 2. How doth he 
lock him up for a thousand years in a pound which he cannot leap over, 
Rev. XX. 2 ; and this restraint is wrought partly by blinding the devil in his 
designs, partly by denying him concourse to his motion, as he hindered 
the active quality of the fire upon the three children, by withdrawing his 
power, which was necessary to the motion of it ; and his power is as necessary 
for the motion of the devil as for that of any other creature. Sometimes 
he makes him to confesss him against his own interest, as Apollo's oracle 
confessed.! And though, when the devil was cast out of the possessed 
person, he publicly owned Christ to be ' the holy one of God,' Mark i. 24, 
to render him suspected by the people of having commerce with the unclean 
spirits, yet this he could not do without the leave and permission of God, 
that the power of Christ in stopping his mouth and imposing silence upon 
him might be evidenced, and that it reaches to the gates of hell as well as to 
the quieting of winds and waves. This is a part of the strength as well as 
the wisdom of God, that ' the deceived and the deceiver are his,' Job xii. 
16 : wisdom to defeat, and power to over-rule his most malicious designs 
to his own glory. 

[2. J In the restraint of the natural corruption of men. Since the impetus 
of original corruptions in the blood conveyed down from Adam to the veins 
of all his posterity, and universally diffused in all mankind, what wreck and 
havoc would it make in the world, if it were not suppressed by this divine 
power, which presides over the hearts of men ! Man is so wretched by 
nature, that nothing but what is vile and pernicious can drop from him. 
Man ' drinks iniquity like water,' Job xv. 16, being by nature abominable 
and filthy. He greedily swallows all matter for iniquity, everything suitable 
to the mire and poison in his nature, and would sprout it out with all fierce- 
ness and insolence. God himself gives us the description of man's nature, 
Gen. vi. 5, that he hath not one good imagination at any time. And the 
apostle from the psalmist dilates and comments upon it, Rom. iii. 10, &c. : 
' There is none righteous, no not one ; their mouth is full of cursing and 
bitterness, their feet are swift to shed blood,' &c. This corruption is equal 
to all, natural to all ; it is not more poisonous or more fierce in one man 
than in another. The root of all men is the same ; all the branches there- 
fore do equally possess the villanous nature of the root. No child of Adam 
t Cseteros deos aerios esse, &c. — Grot. Verit. rel. lib. iv. 

Job XXYI. 14.] god's power. 141 

can by natural descent be better than Adam. How fruitful would this 
loathsome lake be in all kind of steams ! What unbridled licentiousness 
and headstrong fury would triumph in the world, if the power of God did 
not interpose itself to lock down the flood-gates of it ? What rooting up 
of human society would there be ; how would the world be drenched in 
blood, the number of malefactors be greater than that of apprehenders and 
punishers ! How would the prints of natural laws be razed out of the heart, 
if God should leave human nature to itself ! Who can read the first chapter 
to the Romans, verses 24-29, without acknowledging this truth, where there is 
a catalogue of those villanies which followed upon God's pulling up the 
sluices and letting the malignity of their inward corruption have its natural 
course ? If God did not hold back the fury of man, his garden would be 
over-run, his vine rooted up, the inclinations of men would hurry them to 
the worst of wickedness. How great is that power that curbs, bridles, or 
changes as many headstrong horses at once and every minute, as there are 
sons of Adam upon the earth ! ' The floods lift up their waves ; the Lord 
on high is mightier than the noise of many waters, yea, than the mighty 
waves of the sea,' Psal. xciii. 3, 4, that doth hush and pen in the turbulent 
passions of men. 

[3.] In the ordering and framing the hearts of men to his own ends. 
That must be an omnipotent hand that grasps and contains the hearts of 
all men, the heart of the meanest person as well as of the most towering 
angel, and turns them as he pleases, and makes them, sometime ignorantly, 
sometime knowingly, concur to the accomplishment of his own purposes. 
When the hearts of men are so numerous, their thoughts so various and 
diflerent from one another, yet he hath a key to those millions of hearts, and 
with infinite power,'guided by as infinite wisdom, he draws them into what 
channels he pleases for the gaining his own ends. Though the Jews had 
embrued their hands in the blood of our Saviour, and their rage was yet 
reeking hot against his followers, God bridled their fury in the church's 
infancy till it had got some strength, and cast a terror upon them by the 
wonders wrought by the apostles : Acts ii. 43, * And fear came upon every 
soul, and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.' Was there 
not the same reason in the nature of the works our Saviour wrought, to 
point them to the finger of God and calm their rage ? Yet did not the 
power of God work upon their passions in those miracles, nor stop the 
impetuousness of the corruption resident in their hearts. Yet now those 
who had the boldness to attack the Son of God and nail him to the cross, 
are firighted at the appearance of twelve unarmed apostles, as the sea 
seems to be afraid when it approacheth the bounds of the feeble sand. 
How did God bend the hearts of the Egyptians to the Israelites, and turn 
them to that point as to lend their most costly vessels, their precious 
jewels and rich garments, to supply those whom they had just before tyran- 
nically loaded with chains ! Exod. iii. 21, 22. When a great part of 
an army came upon Jehoshaphat to despatch him into another world, how 
doth God in a trice touch their hearts, and move them by a secret instinct 
at once to ' depart from him !' 1 Chron. xviii. 31, as if you should see a 
numerous sight of birds in a moment turn wing another way by a sudden 
and joint consent. When he gave Saul a kingdom, he gave him a spirit fit 
for government, and * gave him another heart,' 1 Sam. x. 9, and brought 
the people to submit to his yoke, who a little before wandered about the 
land upon no nobler employment than the seeking of asses. It is no small 
remark of the power of God to make a number of strong and discontented 
persons, and desirous enough of liberty, to bend their necks under the yoke 

142 charnock's works. [Job XXVI. 14. 

of government, and submit to the authority of one, and that of their own 
nature, often weaker and unwiser than the most of them, and many times 
an oppressor and invader of their rights, Upon this account David calls 
God his fortress, tower, shield, Ps. cxliv. 2, all terms of strength in 
subduing the people under him. It is the mighty hand of God that links 
princes and people together in the bands of government. The same hand 
that assuageth the waves of the sea, suppresseth the tumults of the people. 

(3.) It appears in his gracious and judicial government. 

[l.J In his gracious government. In the deliverance of his church : he 
is the ' strength of Israel,' 1 Sam. xv. 29, and hath protected his little flock 
in the midst of wolves, and maintained their standing when the strongest 
kingdoms have sunk, and the best jointed states have been broken in pieces ; 
when judgments have ravaged countries and torn up the mighty, as a tem- 
pestuous wind hath often done the tallest trees, which seemed to threaten 
heaven with their tops, and dare the storm with the depth of their roots, 
when yet the vine and rose-bushes have stood firm, and been seen in their 
beauty next morning. The state of the church hath outlived the most 
flourishing monarchies, when there hath been a mighty knot of adversaries 
against her ; when the bulls of Bashan have pushed her, and the whole tribe 
of the dragon have sharpened their weapons and edged their malice ; when 
the voice was strong, and the hopes high to raze her foundation even with 
the ground ; when hell hath roared ; when the wit of the world hath con- 
trived, and the strength of the world hath attempted her ruin ; when decrees 
have been passed against her, and the powers of the world armed for the 
execution of them ; when her friends have drooped and skulked in corners ; 
when there was no eye to pity, and no hand to assist, help hath come from 
heaven ; her enemies have been defeated, kings have brought gifts to her 
and reared her ; tears have been wiped ofi" her cheeks, and her very enemies, 
by an unseen power, have been forced to court her, whom before they would 
have devoured quick. The devil and his armies have sneaked into their 
den, and the church hath triumphed when she hath been upon the brink of 
the grave. Thus did God send a mighty angel to be the executioner of Sen- 
nacherib's army, and the protector of Jerusalem, who run his sword into the 
hearts of eighty thousand, when they were ready to swallow up his beloved 
city, 2 Kings xix. 35. 

When the knife was at the throats of the Jews in Shushan, by a powerful 
hand it was turned into the hearts of their enemies, Esther viii. With 
what outstretched arm were the Israelites freed from the Egyptian yoke ? 
Deut. iv. 34. When Pharaoh had mustered a great army to pursue them, 
assisted with six hundred chariots of war, the Ked Sea obstructed their pas- 
sage before, and an enraged enemy trod on their rear ; when the fearful 
Israehtes despaired of deliverance, and the insolent Egyptian assured himself 
of his revenge, God stretches out his irresistible arm to defeat the enemy 
and assist his people ; he strikes down the wolves, and preserves the flock. 
God restrained the Egyptian enmity against the Israelites till they were at 
the brink of the Red Sea, and then lets them follow their humour and pur- 
sue the fugitives, that his power might more gloriously shine forth in the 
deUverance of the one and the destruction of the other. God might have 
brought Israel out of Egypt in the time of those kings that had remembered 
the good service of Joseph to their country, but he leaves them till the reign 
of a cruel tyrant, sufi'ers them to be slaves, that they might by his sole power 
be conquerors, which had had no appearance had there been a wilUng dis- 
mission of them at the first summons : Exod. ix. 16, 'In very deed, for this 
cause have I raised thee up, for to shew my power, and that my name might 

Job XXYI. 14.] god's power. 143 

be declared throughout all the earth.' I have permitted thee to rise up 
against my people, and keep them in captivity, that thou mightest be an 
occasion for the manifestation of my power in their rescue ; and whilst thou 
art obstinate to enslave them, I will stretch out my arm to deliver them, and 
make my name famous among the Gentiles, in the wreck of thee and thy 
host in the Red Sea. The deliverance of the church hath not been in one 
age or in one part of the world, but God hath signalized his power in all 
kingdoms where she hath had a footing. As he hath guided her in all places 
by one rule, animated her by one spirit, so he hath pi'otected her by the 
same aim of power. 

When the Roman emperors banded all their force against her for about 
three hundred years, they were further from effecting her ruin at the end 
than when they first attempted it : the church grew under their sword, and 
was hatched under the wings of the Roman eagle, which were spread to 
destroy her. The ark was elevated by the deluge, and the waters of the 
devil, poured out to drown her, did but slime the earth for a new increase of 
her. She hath sometime been beaten down, and, like Lazarus, hath seemed 
to He in the grave for some days, that the power of God might be more 
visible in her sudden resurrection, and lifting up her head above the throne 
of her persecutors. 

[2,] In his judicial proceedings. The deluge was no small testimony of 
his power, in opening the cisterns of heaven, and pulling up the sluices of 
the sea. He doth but call for the waters of the sea, and they ' pour them- 
selves upon the face of the earth,' Amos ix. 6. In forty days' time, the 
waters overtopped the highest mountains fifteen cubits, Gen, vii. 17, 19, 20 ; 
and by the same power he afterwards reduced the sea to its proper channel, 
as a roaring lion into its den. A shower of fire from heaven upon Sodom 
and the cities of the plain, was a signal display of his power, either in 
creating it on the sudden for the execution of his righteous sentence, or 
sending down the element of fire, contrary to its nature (which affects ascent), 
for the punishment of rebels against the light of nature. 

How often hath he ruined the most flourishing monarchies, led princes 
away spoiled, and overthrown the mighty, which Job makes an argument 
of his strength. Job xii. 13, 14. Troops of unknown people, the Goths and 
Vandals, broke the Romans, a warlike people, and hurled dow^n all before 
them. They could not have had the thought to succeed in such an attempt, 
unless God had given them strength and motion for the executing his judi- 
cial vengeance upon the people of his wrath. 

How did he evidence his power by daubing the throne of Pharaoh, and 
his chamber of presence, as well as the houses of his subjects, with the slime 
of frogs ; turning their waters into blood, and their dust into biting 
lice, Exod. vii. 20, viii. 3 ; raising his militia of locusts against them ; 
causing a three days' darkness without stopping the motion of the sun ; 
taking off their first-born, the excellency of their strength, in a night, by the 
stroke of the angel's sword ! He takes off the chariot wheels of Pharaoh, 
and presents him with a destruction where he expected a victory ; brings 
those waves over the heads of him and his host, which stood firm as marble 
walls for the safety of his people. The sea is made to swallow them up, 
that durst not by the order of their governor touch the Israelites. It only 
sprinkled the one as a type of baptism, and drowned the other as an image 
of hell. Thus he made it both a deliverer and a revenger, the instrument 
of an offensive and defensive war. ' He brings princes to nothing, and 
makes the judges of the earth as vanity,' Isa. xl. 23, 24. Great monarchs 
have by this power been hurled from their thrones, and their sceptres (like 

144 chaenock's wokks. [Job XXYI. 14. 

Venice glasses) broken before their faces, and they been advanced that 
have had the least hopes of grandeur. He hath plucked up cedars by the 
roots, lopped off the branches, and set a shrub to grow up in the place ; dis- 
solved rocks, and established bubbles : Luke i. 52, ' He hath shewed strength 
with his arm : he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their 
hearts. He hath put down the mighty from their seat, and exalted them of 
low degree.' 

And these things he doth magnify his power in. 

First, By ordering the nature of creatures as he pleases ; by restraining 
their force, or guiding their motions. The restraint of the destructive quali- 
ties of the creatures argues as great a power as the change of their nature, 
yea, and a greater. The qualities of creatures may be changed by art and 
composition, as in the preparing of medicines ; but what but a divine power 
could restrain the operation of the fire from the three children, while it re- 
tained its heat and burning quality in Nebuchadnezzar's furnace ? The 
operation was curbed while its nature was preserved. All creatures are 
called his host, because he marshals and ranks them as an army to serve his 
purposes : the whole scheme of nature is ready to favour men when God 
orders it, and ready to punish men when God commissions it. He gave the 
Red Sea but a check, and it obeyed his voice : Ps. cvi. 9, ' He rebuked the 
Red Sea also, and it was dried up ;' the motion of it ceased, and the waters 
of it were ranged as defensive walls, to secure the march of his people ; and, 
at the motion of the hand of Moses, the servant of the Lord, the sea re- 
covered its violence, and the walls that were framed came tumbling down 
upon the Egyptians' heads, Exod. xiv. 27. The Creator of nature is not 
led by the necessity of nature ; he that settled the order of nature can 
change or restrain the order of nature according to his sovereign pleasure. 
The most necessary and useful creatures he can use as instruments of his 
vengeance. Water is necessary to cleanse, and by that he can deface a 
world ; fire is necessary to warm, and by that he can burn a Sodom. From 
the water he formed the fowl, Gen. i. 21, and by that he dissolves them in 
the deluge ; fire or heat is necessary to the generation of creatures, and by 
that he ruins the cities of the plain. He orders all as he pleases, to per- 
form every tittle and 2»(nctilio of his purpose. The sea observed him so 
exactly that it drowned not one Israelite, nor saved one Egyptian : Ps. 
cvi. 11, ' There was not one of them left.' And to perfect the Israehtes' 
deliverance, he followed them with testimonies of his power above the 
strength of nature : when they wanted drink, he orders Moses to strike a 
rock, and the rock spouts a river, and a channel is formed for it to attend 
them in their journey ; when they wanted bread, he dressed manna for them in 
the heavens, and sent it to their tables in the desert ; when he would de- 
clare his strength, he calls to the heavens to pour down righteousness, and 
to the earth to bring forth salvation, Isa. xlv. 8. Though God had created 
righteousness or deliverance for the Jews in Babylon, yet he calls to the 
heavens and the earth to be assistant to the design of Cyrus, whom he had 
raised for that purpose, as he speaks in the beginning of the chapter, ver. 
1-4. As God created man for a supernatural end, and all creatures for 
man as their immediate end, so he makes them, according to opportunities, 
subservient to that supernatural end of man, for which he created them. He 
that spans the heavens with his fist can shoot all creatures, like an arrow, 
to hit what mark he pleases ; he that spread the heavens and the earth by a 
word, and can, by a word, fold them up more easily than a man can a gar- 
ment, Heb. i. 12, can order the streams of nature ; cannot he work without 
nature as well as with it, beyond nature, contrary to nature, that can (as it 

Job XXVI. 14.] god's power. 145 

were) fillip nature with his finger into that nothing whence he drew it? 
Who can cast down the sun from his throne, clap the distinguished parts of 
the world together, and make them march in the same order to their con- 
fusion as they did in their creation ; who can jumble the whole frame to- 
gether, and by a word dissolve the pillars of the world, and make the fabric 
lie in a ruinous heap. 

Secondly, In eftecting his purposes by small means ; in making use of 
the meanest creatures. As the power of God is seen in the creation of the 
smallest creatures, and assembling so many perfections in the little body of 
an insect, as an ant or spider, so his power is not less magnified in the use 
he makes of them. As he magnifies his wisdom by using ignorant instru- 
ments, so he exalts his power by employing weak instruments in his service. 
The meanness and imperfection of the matters sets off" the excellency of the 
workman, so the weakness of the instrument is a foil to the power of the 
principal agent. When God hath efiected things by means in the Scripture, 
he hath usually brought about his purposes by weak instruments. 

Moses, a fugitive from Egypt, and Aaron, a captive in it, are the instru- 
ments of the Israelites' deliveranee. By the motion of Moses his rod, he 
works wonders in the court of Pharaoh, and summons up his judgments 
against him. He brought down Pharaoh's stomach for a while by a squad- 
ron of lice and locusts, wherein divine power was more seen than if Moses 
had brought him to his own articles by a multitude of warhke troops. The fall 
of the walls of Jericho, by the sound of ram's horns. Josh. vi. 20, was a more 
glorious character of God's power, than if Joshua had battered it down with 
an hundred of warlike engines. Thus the gi-eat army of the Midianites, 
which lay as grasshoppers upon the ground, were routed by Gideon at the 
head of three hundred men ; and Goliah, a giant, laid level with the gi'ound 
by David, a stripling, by the force of a sling ; a thousand Philistines de- 
spatched out of the world by the jaw-bone of an ass in the hand of Samson. 
He can master a stout nation by an army of locusts, and render the teeth of 
those little insects as destructive as the teeth, yea the strongest teeth, the 
cheek-teeth of a great lion, Joel i. 6, 7. The thunderbolt, which produceth 
sometimes dreadful efiects, is compacted of little atoms which fly in the air, 
small vapours drawn up by the sun, and mixed with other sulphurous matter 
and putrefying juice. Nothing is so weak, but his strength can make victori- 
ous ; nothing so small, but by his power he can accompUsh his great ends 
by it ; nothing so vile, but his might can conduct to his glory ; and no 
nation so mighty, but he can waste and enfeeble by the meanest creatures. 
God is great in power in the greatest things, and not little in the smallest ; 
his power in the minutest creatures, which he uses for his service, surmounts 
the force of our understanding. 

3. The power of God appears in redemption. As our Saviour is called 
the wisdom of God, so he is called the power of God, 1 Cor. i. 24. The 
arm of power was lifted up as high as the designs of wisdom were laid deep. 
As this way of redemption could not be contrived but by an infinite wisdom, 
so it could not be accomplished but by an infinite power ; none but God 
could shape such a design, and none but God could efiect it. The divine 
power in temporal deliverances and freedom from the slavery of human op- 
pressors veils to that which glitters in redemption, whereby the devil is 
defeated in his designs, stripped of his spoils, and yoked in his strength ; 
the power of God in creation requires not those degrees of admiration, as in 
redemption. In creation, the world was erected from nothing ; as there was 
nothing to act, so there was nothing to oppose ; no victorious devil was in 
that to be subdued, no thundering law to be silenced, no death to be con- 


146 charnock's works. [Job XXVI. 14. 

quered, no transgression to be pardoned and rooted out, no hell to be shut, 
no ignominious death upon the cross to be suffered. It had been in the nature 
of the thing an easier thing to divine power to have created a new world, 
than repaired a broken and purified a polluted one. This is the most ad- 
mirable work that ever God brought forth in the world, greater than all the 
marks of his power in the first creation. 

And this will appear, 

(1.) In the person redeeming. 

(2.) In the publication and propagation of the doctrine of redemption. 

(3.) In the application of redemption. 

(1.) In the person redeeming. 

[1.] First, In his conception. 

First, He was conceived by the Holy Ghost in the womb of the virgin : 
Luke i. 35, • The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the 
Highest shall overshadow thee ;' which act is expressed to be the effect of 
the infinite power of God, and it expresses the supernatural manner of the 
forming the humanity of our Saviour, and signifies not the divine nature of 
Christ issuing itself into the womb of the virgin ; for the angel refers it to 
the manner of the operation of the Holy Ghost in the producing the human 
nature of Christ, and not to the nature assuming that humanity into union 
with itself. The Holy Ghost, or the third person in the Trinity, over- 
shadowed the virgin, and by a creative act framed the humanity of Christ, 
and united it to the divinity. It is therefore expressed by a word of 
the same import with that used Gen. i. 2, ' The Spirit moved upon 
the face of the waters ;' which signifies (as it were) a brooding upon the 
chaos, shadowing it with his wings, as hens sit upon their eggs to form 
them and hatch them into animals ; or else it is an allusion to the cloud 
■which covered the tent of the congregation, when the glory of the Lord 
filled the tabernacle, Exod. xl. 34. It was not such a creative act as we 
call immediate, which is a production out of nothing ; but a mediate crea- 
tion, such as God's bringing things into form out of the first matter, which 
had nothing but an obediential or passive disposition to whatsoever stamp 
the powerful wisdom of God should imprint upon it. So the substance of 
the virgin had no active, but only a passive disposition to this work. The 
matter of the body was earthy, the substance of the virgin ; the forming of 
it was heavenly, the Holy Ghost working upon that matter. And therefore 
when it is said, Mat. i. 18, that ' she was found with child of the Holy 
Ghost,' it is to be understood of the efficacy of the Holy Ghost, not of the 
substance of the Holy Ghost. The matter was natural, but the manner of 
conceiving was in a supernatural way, above the methods of nature. In 
reference to the active principle, the Redeemer is called in the prophecy, 
Isa. iv. 2, ' the Branch of the Lord,' in regard of the divine hand that 
planted him ; in respect to the passive principle, * the Fruit of the earth,' 
in regard of the womb that bare him, and therefore said to be ' made of a 
woman,' Gal. iv. 4. That part of the flesh of the virgin whereof the human 
nature of Christ was made, was refined and purified from corruption by the 
overshadowing of the Holy Ghost, as a skilful workman separates the dross 
from the gold. Our Saviour is therefore called ' that holy thing,' Luke 
i. 35, though born of the virgin. He was necessarily some way to descend 
from Adam. God indeed might have created his body out of nothing, or 
have formed it (as he did Adam's) out of the dust of the ground ; but had 
he been thus extraordinarily formed, and not propagated from Adam, though 
he had been a man like one of us, yet he would not have been of kin to us, 
because it would not have been a nature derived from Adam, the common 

Job XXVI. 14.] god's power. 147 

parent of us all. It was therefore necessary to an affinity with us, not only 
that he should have the same human nature, but that it should flow from 
the same principle, and be propagated to him.* But now, by this way of 
producing the humanity of Christ of the substance of the virgin, he was in 
Adam (say some) corporeally, but not seminally; of the substance of Adam, 
or a daughter of Adam, but not of the seed of Adam. And so he is of the 
same nature that had sinned, and so what he did and suffered may be im- 
puted to us, which, had he been created as Adam, could not be claimed in 
a legal and judicial way. 

Secondly, It was not convenient he should be born in the common order 
of nature, of father and mother, for whosoever is so born is polluted : * A 
clean thing cannot be brought out of an unclean,' Job xiv. 4. And our 
Saviour had been incapable of being a redeemer had he been tainted with 
the least spot of our nature, but would have stood in need of redemption 
himself. Besides, it had been inconsistent with the holiness of the divine 
nature td have assumed a tainted and defiled body. He that was the foun- 
tain of blessedness to all nations, was not to be subject to the curse of the 
law for himself, which he would have been had be been conceived in an 
ordinary way. He that was to overturn the devil's empire, was not to be 
any way captive under the devil's power, as a creature under the curse; nor 
could he be able to break the serpent's head had he been tainted with the 
serpent's breath. 

Again, supposing that almighty God, by his divine power, had so ordered 
the matter, and so perfectly sanctified an earthly father and mother from all 
original spot, that the human nature might have been transmitted immacu- 
late to him, as well as the Holy Ghost did purge that part of the flesh of 
the virgin of which the body of Christ was made ; yet it was not convenient 
that that person that was ' God blessed for ever,' as well as man, partaking 
of our nature, should have a conception in the same manner as ours, but 
diflerent, and in some measure conformable to the infinite dignity of his 
person, which could not have been had not a supernatural power and a 
divine person been concerned as an active principle in it. Besides, such a 
birth had not been agreeable to the first promise, which calls him ' the seed 
of the woman,' Gen. i. 15, not of the man, and so the veracity of God had 
sufiered some detriment. The ' seed of the woman' only is set in opposition 
to the ' seed of the serpent.' 

Thirdhj, By this manner of conception the holiness of his nature is 
secured, and his fitness for his office is assured to us. It is now a pure 
and unpolluted humanity that is the temple and tabernacle of the divinity. 
The fulness of the Godhead dwells in him bodily, and dwells in him holily; 
his humanity is supernaturalised and elevated by the activity of the Holy 
Ghost, hatching the flesh of the virgin into man, as the chaos into a world. 
Though we read of some ' sanctified from the womb,' it was not a pure and 
perfect holiness ; it was like the light of fire mixed with smoke, an infused 
hoHness accompanied with a natural taint ; but the holiness of the Redeemer 
by his conception is like the light of the sun, pure and without spot, the 
Spirit of holiness supplying the place of a father in a way of creation. 

His fitness for his office is also assured to us ; for being born of the virgin, 
one of our nature, but conceived by the Spirit, a divine person, the guilt of 
our sins may be imputed to him because of our nature, without the slain of 
sin inherent in him ; because of his supernatural conception he is capable, 
as one of kin to us, to bear our curse, without being touched by our taint. 
By this means our sinful nature is assumed without sin in that nature which 
* Amyrald, in Symbol, p. 103, &c. 

148 charnock's works. [Job XXVI. 14. 

was assumed by him. Flesh he hath, but not ' sinful flesh,' Rom. viii. 3 ; 
real flesh, but not really sinful, only by way of imputation. 

Nothing but the power of God is evident in this whole work. By the 
ordinary laws and course of nature a virgin could not bear a son, nothing 
but a supernatural and almighty grace could intervene to make so holy and 
perfect a conjunction. The generation of others, in an ordinary way, is by 
male and female ; but the virgin is overshadowed by the Spirit, and power 
of the Highest.* Man only is the product of natural generation ; this which 
is born of the virgin is the holy thing, the Son of God. In other genera- 
tions a rational soul is only united to a material body ; but in this, the divine 
nature is united with the human in one person by an indissoluble union. 

[2.j The second act of power in the person redeeming is the union of the 
two natures, the divine and human. The designing indeed of this was an act 
of wisdom, but the accomplishing it was an act of power. 

First, There is in this redeeming person a union of two natures. He is 
God and man in one person : Heb. i. 8, 9, * Thy throne, God, is for ever 
and ever. God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness,' 
&c. The Son is called God, having a throne for ever and ever, and the 
unction speaks him man ; the Godhead cannot be anointed, nor hath any 
fellows. Humanity and divinity are ascribed to him, Rom. i. 3, 4. He 
was * of the seed of David according to the flesh, and declared to be the 
Son of God by his resurrection from the dead.' The divinity and humanity 
are both prophetically joined : Zech. xii. 10, ' I will pour out my Spirit,' — 
the pouring forth the Spirit is an act only of divine grace and power, — ' and 
they shall look upon me whom they have pierced ;' the same person pours 
forth the Spirit as God and is pierced as man. ' The Word was made flesh,' 
John i. 14 ; Word from eternity was made flesh in time, Word and flesh in 
one person ; a great God and a little infant. 

Secondly, The terms of this union were infinitely distant. What greater 
distance can there be than between the Deity and humanity, between the 
Creator and a creature ? Can you imagine the distance between eternity 
and time, infinite power and miserable infirmity, an immortal Spirit and 
dying flesh, the highest being and nothing ? Yet these are espoused. A 
God of unmixed blessedness is linked personally with a man of perpetual 
sorrows, life incapable to die joined to a body in that economy incapable to 
live without dying first, infinite purity and a reputed sinner, eternal blessed- 
ness with a cursed nature, almightiness and weakness, omniscience and 
ignorance, immutability and changeableness, incomprehensibleness and 
comprehensibility, that which cannot be comprehended and that which can 
be comprehended, that which is entirely independent and that which is 
totally dependent, the Creator forming all things and the creature made 
met together to a personal union, the Word made flesh, John i. 14, the 
eternal Son the seed of Abraham, Heb. ii. 16. What more miraculous 
than for God to become man, and man to become God ! That a person 
possessed of all the perfections of the Godhead should inherit all the imper- 
fections of the manhood in one person, sin only excepted ; a holiness 
incapable of sinning to be made sin ; God blessed for ever taking the pro- 
perties of human nature, and human nature admitted to a union with the 
properties of the Creator ; the fulness of the Deity and the emptiness of man 
united together. Col. ii. 9, not by a shining of the Deity upon the humanity, 
as the light of the sun upon the earth, but by an inhabitation or indwelling 
of the Deity in the humanity : was there not need of an infinite power to 
bring together terms so far asunder, to elevate the humanity to be capable 
* Amyraut, sur Timole, p. 292. 

Job XXVI. 14.] god's power. 149 

of, and disposed for, a conjunction with the Deity ? If a clod of earth should 
be advanced to, and united with, the body of the sun, such an advance would 
evidence itself to be a work of almighty power ; the clod hath nothing in its 
own nature to render it so glorious, no power to climb up to so high a dignity. 
How little would such a union be to that we are speaking of ! Nothing less 
than an incomprehensible power could effect what an incomprehensible wisdom 
did project in this affair. 

Thirdly, Especially since the union is so strait. It is not such a union 
as is between a man and his house he dwells in, whence he goes out and to 
which he returns, without any alteration of himself or his house ; nor such 
a union as is between a man and his garment, which both communicate and 
receive warmth from one another ; nor such as is between an artificer and 
his instrument wherewith he works ; nor such a union as one friend hath 
with another. All these are distant things, not one in nature, but have 
distinct substances. Two friends, though united by love, are distinct per- 
sons ; a man and his clothes, an artificer and his instruments, have distinct 
substances ; but the humanity of Christ hath no substance but in the person 
of Christ. 

The straitness of this union is expressed, and may be somewhat conceived 
by the union of fire with iron.* Fire pierceth through all the parts of iron, 
it unites itself with every particle, bestows a light, heat, purity upon all of 
it ; you cannot distinguish the iron from the fire, or the fire from the iron ; 
yet they are distinct natures. So the Deity is united to the whole humanity, 
seasons it, and bestows an excellency upon it, yet the natures still remain 
distinct. And as, during that union of fire with iron, the iron is incapable of 
rust or blackness, so is the humanity incapable of sin. And as the opera- 
tion of fire is attributed to the red hot iron (as the iron may be said to heat, 
burn, and the fire may be said to cut and pierce), yet the imperfections of 
the iron do not affect the fire ; so in this mystery, those things which belong 
to the divinity are ascribed to the humanity, and those things which belong 
to the humanity are ascribed to the divinity, in regard of the person in 
whom those natures are united ; yet the imperfections of the humanity do 
not hurt the divinity. The divinity of Christ is as really united with the 
humanity as the soul with the body. The person was one, though the 
natures were two ; so united, that the sufferings of the human nature were 
the sufferings of that person, and the dignity of the divine was imputed to 
the human by reason of that unity of both in one person. Hence the blood 
of the human nature is said to be the blood of God, Acts xx. 28. All things 
ascribed to the Son of God may be ascribed to this man, and the things 
ascribed to this man may be ascribed to the Son of God, as this man is the 
Son of God eternal, almighty. f And it may be said God suffered, was 
crucified, &c. ; for the person of Christ is but one, most simple ; the person 
suffered, that was God and man united, making one person. 

Fourthly, And though the union be so strait, yet without confusion of the 
natures, or change of them into one another. The two natures of Christ are 
not mixed, ^ as liquors that incorporate with one another when they are 
poured into a vessel ; the divine nature is not turned into the human, nor 
the human into the divine ; one nature doth not swallow up another and 
make a third nature distinct from each of them. The Deity is not turned 
into the humanity, as air (which is next to a spirit) may be thickened and 
turned into water, and water may be rarefied into air by the power of heat 
boiling it. The Deity cannot be changed, because the nature of it is to be 
* Lessius de Perf. Divin., lib. xii. cap. iv. p. 104. 
t Ibid., p. 103, 104. X Ibid., p. 103, 104 ; Arayrald, Irenic, p. 23A. 

150 chaknock's works. [Job XXVI. 14. 

unchangeable. It would not be deity if it were mortal and capable of suffer- 
ing. The humanity is not changed into the deity, for then Christ could not 
have been a sufferer. If the humanity had been swallowed up into the deity, 
it had lost its own distinct nature, and put on the nature of the Deity, and 
consequently been incapable of suffering. Finite can never by any mixture 
be changed into infinite, nor infinite into finite. 

This union in this regard may be resembled to the union of light and air, 
which are strictly joined ; for the light passes through all parts of the air, 
but they are not confounded, but remain in their distinct essences as before 
the union, without the least confusion with one another. The divine nature 
remains as it was before the union, entire in itself, only the divine person 
assumes another nature to himself.* The human nature remains as it would 
have done had it existed separately from the Aoyoc,, except that then it would 
have had a proper subsistence by itself, which now it borrows from its union 
with the Aoyog, or Word, but that doth not belong to the constitution of its 

Now let us consider what a wonder of power is all this. The knitting a noble 
soul to a body of clay was not so great an exploit of almightiness as the espous- 
ing infinite and finite together. Man is further distant from God than man 
from nothing. What a wonder is it that two natures infinitely distant should 
be more intimately united than anything in the world, and yet without any con- 
fusion ! That the same person should have both a glory and a grief; an infinite 
joy in the Deity, and an unexpressible sorrow in the humanity; that a God upon 
a throne should be an infant in a cradle ; the thundering Creator be a weeping 
babe and a suffering man, are such expressions of mighty power, as well as 
condescending love, that they astonish men upon earth, and angels in heaven. 

[3.] Power was evident in the progress of his life. In the miracles he 
wrought, how often did he expel malicious and powerful devils from their 
habitations, hurl them from their thrones, and make them fall from heaven 
like lightning. How many wonders were wrought by his bare word or a 
single touch : sight restored to the blind, and hearing to the deaf, palsied 
members restored to the exercise of their functions, a dismiss given to many 
deplorable maladies, impure leprosies chased from the persons they had in- 
fected, and bodies beginning to putrefy raised from the grave. But the 
mightiest argument of power was his patience : that he who was in his 
divine nature elevated above the world should so long continue upon a dung- 
hill, ' endure the contradiction of sinners against himself,' be patiently sub- 
ject to the reproaches and indignities of men, without displaying that justice 
which was essential to the Deity, and in especial manner daily merited by 
their provoking crimes. The patience of man under great affronts is a 
greater argument of power than the brawniness of his arm. A strength 
employed in the revenge of every injury signifies a greater infirmity in the 
soul than there can be ability in the body. 

[4.j Divine power was apparent in his resurrection. The unlocking the 
belly of the whale for the deliverance of Jonas, the rescue of Daniel from 
the den of lions, and the restraining the fire from burning the three children, 
were signal declarations of his power, and types of the resurrection of our 
Saviour. But what are those to that which was represented by them? 
That was a power over natural causes, a curbing of beasts and restraining 
of elements ; but in the resurrection of Christ, God exercised a power over 
himself, and quenched the flames of his own wrath, hotter than millions of 
Nebuchadnezzar's furnaces ; unlocked the prison doors, wherein the curses 
of the law had lodged our Saviour stronger than the belly and ribs of a 
* Amyrald, Irenic, p. 282= 

Job XXYI. 14.] god's power. 151 

leviathan. In the rescue of Daniel and Jonas, God overpowered beasts, and 
in this tore up the strength of the old serpent, and plucked the sceptre from 
the hand of the enemy of mankind. The work of resurrection, indeed, con- 
sidered in itself, requires the efficacy of an almighty power. Neither man 
nor angel can create new dispositions in a dead body, to render it capable of 
lodging a spiritual soul, nor can they restore a dislodged soul by their own 
power to such a body. The restoring a dead body to life requires an infinite 
power, as well as the creation of the world. But there was in the resurrec- 
tion of Christ something more difficult than this. While he lay in the grave 
he was under the curse of the law, under the execution of that dreadful 
sentence, 'Thou shalt die the death.' His resurrection was not only the 
re-tying the marriage knot between his soul and body, or the roUing the 
stone from the grave, but a taking off an infinite weight, the sin of mankind, 
which lay upon him. So vast a weight could not be removed without the 
strength of an almighty arm. It is therefore ascribed not to an ordinary 
operation, but an operation with power, Rom. i. 4, and such a power 
wherein the glory of the Father did appear : Rom. vi. 4, ' Raised up from 
the dead by the glory of the Father;' that is, the glorious power of Grod. 
As the eternal generation is stupendous, so is his resurrection, which is 
called a new begetting of him. Acts xiii. 33. It is a wonder of power that 
the divine and human nature should be joined, and no less wonder that his 
person should surmount and rise up from the curse of God under which he 
lay. The apostle therefore adds one expression to another, and heaps up a 
variety, signifying thereby that one was not enough to represent it : Eph. 
i. 19, 'Exceeding greatness of power,' and 'working of mighty power, which 
he wrought in Christ when he raised him from the dead.' It was an hyj^er- 
bole of power, the excellency of the mightiness of his strength; the loftiness 
of the expressions seems to come short of the apprehension he had of it in 
his soul. 

(2.) Secondly, This power appears in the publication and propagation of 
the doctrine of redemption. 

The divine power will appear, if you consider, 

[1.] The nature of the doctrine. • 

[2.] The instruments employed in it. 

[3.] The means they used to propagate it. 

[4.] The success they had. 

[1.] The nature of the doctrine. 

First, It was contrary to the common received reason of the world. The 
philosophers, the masters of knowledge among the Gentiles, had maxims of 
a difi"erent stamp from it. Though they agreed in the being of a God, yet 
their notions of his nature were confused and embroiled with many errors ; 
the unity of God was not commonly assented unto ; they had multiplied 
deities according to the fancies they had received from some of a more 
elevated wit and refined brain than others. Though they had some notion 
of mediators, yet they placed in those seats their pubHc benefactors ; men 
that had been useful to the world, or their particular countries, in imparting 
to them some profitable invention. To discard those was to charge them- 
selves with ingratitude to them, from whom they had received signal benefits, 
and to whose mediation, conduct, or protection they ascribed all the success 
they had been blessed with in their several provinces, and to charge them- 
selves with folly, for rendering an honour and worship to them so long. 
Could the doctrine of a crucified Mediator, whom they had never seen, that 
had conquered no country for them, never enlarged their territories, brought 

152 charnock's works. [Job XXVI. 14. 

to light no new profitable invention for the increase of their earthly welfare, 
as the rest had done, be thought sufficient to balance so many of their 
reputed heroes ? How ignorant were they in the foundations of the true 
religion ! The belief of a providence was staggering ; nor had they a 
true prospect of the nature of virtue and vice ; yet they had a fond opinion 
of the strength of their own reason, and the maxims that had been handed 
down to them by their predecessors, which Paul entitles, a ' science falsely 
so called,' 1 Tim. vi. 20, either meant of the philosophers or the Gnostics. 
They presumed that they were able to measure all things by their own 
reason ; whence, when the apostle came to preach the doctrine of the gospel 
at Athens, the great school of reason in that age, they gave him no better a 
title than that of a * babbler, 'f Acts xvii. 18, and openly mocked him, ver. 32, 
I'TTs^fioXoyog, a seed-gatherer, one that hath no more brain or sense than a 
fellow that gathers up seeds that are spilt in a market, or one that hath a 
vain and empty sound without sense or reason, like a foolish mountebank ; 
so slightly did those rationalists of the world think of the wisdom of heaven. 
That the Son of God should veil himself in a mortal body, and sufier a dis- 
graceful death in it, were things above the ken of reason. 

Besides, the world had a general disesteem of the religion of the Jews, 
and were prejudiced against anything that came from them. Whence the 
Eomans, that used to incorporate the gods of other conquered nations in 
their capitol, never moved to have the God of Israel worshipped among 
them. Again, they might argue against it with much fleshly reason. Here 
is a crucified God preached by a company of mean and ignorant persons ; 
what reason can we have to entertain this doctrine, since the Jews, who (as 
they tell us) had the prophecies of him, did not acknowledge him? Surely, 
had there been such predictions, they would not have crucified, but crowned 
their king, and expected from him the conquest of the earth under their power ! 
What reason have we to entertain him, whom his own nation (among whom 
he lived, with whom he conversed) so unanimously, by the vote of the rulers 
as well as the rout, rejected ? It was impossible to conquer minds possessed 
with so many errors, and applauding themselves in their own reason, and 
to render them capable of receiving revealed truths without the influence of 
a divine power. 

Secondly, It was contrary to the customs of the world. The strength of 
custom in most men surmounts the strength of reason, and men commonly 
are so wedded to it, that they will be sooner divorced from anything than 
the modes and patterns received from their ancestors. The endeavouring 
to change customs of an ancient standing hath begotten tumults and furious 
mutinies among nations, though the change would have been much for their 

This doctrine struck at the root of the religion of the world, and the cere- 
monies wherein they had been educated from their infancy, delivered to them 
from their ancestors, confirmed by the customary observance of many ages, 
rooted in their minds, and established by their laws. Acts xviii. 13, ' This 
fellow persuadeth us to worship God contrary to the law,' against customs, 
to which they ascribed the happiness of their states, and the prosperity of 
their people ; and would put in the place of this religion they would abolish, 
a new one instituted by a man whom the Jews had condemned, and put to 
death upon a cross as an impostor, blasphemer, and seditious person. 

It was a doctrine that would change the customs of the Jews, who were 
entrusted with the oracles of God. It would bury for ever their ceremonial 
rites, delivered to them by Moses from that God who had with a mighty 
hand brought them out of Egypt, consecrated their law with thunders and 

Job XXYI. 14.] god's power. 153 

lightnings from mount Sinai at the time of its publication, backed it with 
severe sanctions, confirmed it by many miracles, both in the wilderness and 
their Canaan, and had continued it for so many hundred years. They could 
not but remember how they had been ravaged by other nations, and judg- 
ments sent upon them when they neglected and slighted it, and with what 
great success they were followed when they valued and observed it, and how 
they had abhorred the author of this new religion, who had spoken slightly 
of their traditions, till they put him to death with infamy. Was it an easy 
matter to divorce them from that worship, upon which were entailed (as 
they imagined) their peace, plenty, and glory, things of the dearest regard 
with mankind ? The Jews were no less devoted to their ceremonial tradi- 
tions, than the heathen were to their vain superstitions. 

This doctrine of the gospel was of that nature, that the state of religion 
all over the earth must be overturned by it ; the wisdom of the Greeks must 
veil to it, the idolatry of the people must stoop to it, and the profane customs 
of men must moulder under the weight of it. Was it an easy(matter for the 
pride of nature to deny a customary wisdom, to entertain a new doctrine 
against the authority of their ancestors, to inscribe folly upon that which 
hath made them admired by the rest of the world ? Nothing can be of 
greater esteem with men than the credit of their lawgivers and founders, the 
religion of their fathers, and prosperity of themselves ; hence the minds of 
men were sharpened against it. The Greeks, the wisest nation, slighted it 
as foolish ; the Jews, the religious nation, stumbled at it, as contrary to 
the received interpretations of ancient prophecies, and carnal conceits of an 
earthly glory. The dimmest eye may behold the difficulty to change 
custom, a second nature ; it is as hard as to change a wolf into a lamb, to level 
a mountain, stop the course of the sun, or change the inhabitants of Africa 
into the colour of Europe. Custom dips men in as durable a dye as nature. 
The difiiculties of carrying it on against the divine religion of the Jew, and 
rooted customs of the Gentiles, were unconquerable by any but an almighty 
power. And in this the power of God hath appeared wonderfully. 

Thirdly, It was contrary to the sensuality of the world, and the lust of 
the flesh. How much the Gentiles were overgrown with base and unworthy 
lusts at the time of the publication of the gospel, needs no other memento 
than the apostle's discourse, Rom. i. As there was no error but prevailed 
upon their minds, so there was no brutish affection but was wedded to their 
hearts. The doctrine proposed to them was not easy ; it flattered not the 
sense, but checked the stream of nature. It thundered down those three 
great engines whereby the devil had subdued the world to himself, ' the lust 
of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life.' Not only the most 
sordid affections of the flesh, but the more refined gratifications of the 
mind ; it stripped nature both of devil and man, of what was commonly 
esteemed great and virtuous. That which was the root of their fame, and 
satisfaction of their ambition, was struck at by this axe of the gospel. The 
first article of it ordered them to deny themselves, not to presume upon 
their own worth ; to lay their understandings and wills at the foot of the 
cross, and resign them up to one newly crucified at Jerusalem. Honours 
and wealth were to be despised, flesh to be tamed, the cross to be borne, 
enemies to be loved, revenge not to be satisfied, blood to be spilled, and 
torments to be endured for the honour of one they never saw nor ever before 
heard of, who was preached with the circumstances of a shameful death, 
enough to afiright them from the entertainment ; and the report of a resur- 
rection and glorious ascension were things never heard of by them before, 
and unknown in the world, that would not easily enter into the belief of 

154 chaenock's works. [Job XXVI. 14. 

men. The cross, disgrace, self-denial, were only discoursed of in order to 
the attainment of an invisihle world, and an unseen reward, which none of 
their predecessors ever returned to acqanint them with ; a patient death, 
contrary to the pride of nature, was published as the way to happiness and 
a blessed immortality. The dearest lusts were to be pierced to death for 
the honour of this new lord. Other religions brought wealth and honour ; 
this struck them off from such expectations, and presented them with no 
promise of anything in this life but a prospect of misery, except those 
inward consolations to which before they had been utter strangers, and had 
never experimented. It made them to depend not upon themselves, but 
upon the sole grace of God. It decried all natural, all moral idolatry, things 
as dear to men as the apple of their eyes. It despoiled them of whatsoever 
the mind, will, and affections of men naturally lay claim to and glory in. 
It pulled self up by the roots, unmanned carnal man, and debased the prin- 
ciple of honour and self-satisfaction, which the world counted at that time 
noble and brave. In a word, it took them off from themselves, to act like 
creatures of God's framing, to know no more than he would admit them, 
and do no more than he did command them. How difficult must it needs 
be to reduce men, that placed all their happiness in the pleasures of this life, 
from their pompous idolatry and brutish affections, to this mortifying religion. 
What might the world say ? Here is a doctrine will render us a company 
of puling animals. Farewell generosity, bravery, sense of honour, courage, 
in enlarging the bounds of our country, for an ardent charity to the bitterest 
of our enemies. Here is a religion will rust our swords, canker our arms, 
dis-spirit what we have hitherto called virtue, and annihilate what hath been 
esteemed worthy and comely among mankind. Must we change conquest 
for suffering, the increase of our reputation for self-denial, the natural 
sentiment of self-preservation for affecting a dreadful death ? How im- 
possible was it that a crucified Lord and a crucifying doctrine should be 
received in the world, without the mighty operation of a divine power upon 
the hearts of men ! And in this also the almighty power of God did notably 
shine forth. 

[2. J Divine power appeared in the instruments employed for the publish- 
ing and propagating the gospel ; who were. 

First, Mean and worthless in themselves ; not noble and dignified with 
an earthly grandeur, but of a low condition, meanly bred ; so far from any 
splendid estates, that they possessed nothing but their nets, without any 
credit and reputation in the world, without comeliness and strength, as unfit 
to subdue the world by preaching, as an army of hares were to conquer it 
by war. Not learned doctors, bred up at the feet of the famous rabbins at 
Jerusalem, whom Paul calls ' the princes of the world,' 1 Cor. ii. 8, nor 
nursed up in the school of Athens, under the philosophers and orators of the 
time ; not the wise men of Greece, but the fishermen of Galilee, naturally 
skilled in no language but their own, and no more exact in that than those 
of the same condition in any other nation ; ignorant of everything but the 
language of their lakes and their fishing trade, except Paul, called some time 
after the rest to that employment ; and after the descent of the Spirit, they 
were ignorant and unlearned in everything but the doctrine they were com- 
manded to publish, for the council before whom they were summoned 
proved them to be so, which increased their wonder at them, Acts iv. 13. 
Had it been published by a voice from heaven that twelve poor men, taken 
out of boats and creeks, without any help of learning, should conquer the 
world to the cross, it might have been thought an illusion against all the 
reason of men ; yet we know it was undertaken and accomplished by them. 

Job XX YI. 14.] god's powee. 155 

They published this doctrine in Jerusalem, and quickly spread it over the 
greatest part of the world. Folly outwitted wisdom, and weakness over- 
powered strength. The conquest of the east by Alexander was not so 
admirable as the enterprise of these poor men. He attempted his conquest 
with the hands of a warlike nation, though indeed but a small number of 
thirty thousand against multitudes, many hundred thousands of the enemies, 
yet an effeminate enemy ; a people inured to slaughter and victory attacked 
great numbers, but enfeebled by luxury and voluptuousness. Besides, 
he was bred up to such 'enterprises, had a learned education under the 
best philosopher, and a military education under the best commander, and 
a natural courage to animate him. These instruments had no such 
advantage from nature ; the heavenly ' treasure was placed in those earthen 
vessels,' as Gideon's lamps in empty pitchers, Judges vii. 16 ; ' that the 
excellency ' or hyjierhole, ' of the power might be of God,' 2 Cor. iv. 7, and 
the strength of his arm be displayed in the infirmity of the instruments. 
They were destitute of earthly wisdom, and therefore despised by the Jews 
and derided by the Gentiles ; the publishers were accounted madmen, and 
the embracers fools. Had they been men of known natural endowments, 
the power of God had been veiled under the gifts of the creature. 

Secondly, Therefore a divine power suddenly spirited them, and fitted 
them for so great a work. Instead of ignorance they had the knowledge of 
the tongues, and they that were scarce well skilled in their own dialect, were 
instructed on the sudden to speak the most floui-ishing languages of the 
world, and discourse to the people of several nations the 'gi-eat things of 
God,' Acts ii. 11. Though they were not enriched with any worldly wealth, 
and possessed nothing, yet they were so sustained that they wanted nothing 
in any place where they came ; a table was spread for them in the midst of 
their bitterest enemies. Their fearfulness was turned into courage, and they 
that a few days before skulked in corners for fear of the Jews, John xx. 19, 
speak boldly in the name of that Jesus, whom they had seen put to death by the 
power of the rulers and the fury of the people ; they reproach them with 
the murder of their master, and outbrave that great people in the midst of 
their temple, with the glory of that person they had so lately crucified. Acts 
ii. 23, iii. 13. Peter, that was not long before qualmed at the presence of 
a maid, was not daunted at the presence of the council, that had their hands 
yet reeking with the blood of his master, but being filled with the Holy 
Ghost, seems to dare the power of the priests and Jewish governors, and is 
as confident in the council chamber as he had been cowardly in the high 
priest's hall. Acts iv. 9, &c., the efficacy of grace triumphing over the fear- 
fulness of nature. Whence should this ardour and zeal to propagate a 
doctrine that had already borne the scars of the people's fury be, but from a 
mighty power which changed those hares into lions, and stripped them of 
their natural cowardice to clothe them with a divine courage, making them 
in a moment both wise and magnanimous, alienating them from any consul- 
tations with flesh and blood ? As soon as ever the Holy Ghost came upon 
them * as a mighty rushing wind,' they move up and down for the interest 
of God, as fish after a great clap of thunder are roused, and move more 
nimbly on the top of the water ; therefore, that which did so fit them for 
this undertaking is called by the title of ' power from on high,' Luke xxiv. 49. 

[3.] The divine power appears in the means whereby it was propagated. 

First, By means different from the methods of the world. Not by force 
of arms, as some religions have taken root in the world. Mahomet's horse 
hath trampled upon the heads of men, to imprint an Alcoran in their brains, 
and robbed men of their goods to plant their religion. But the apostles 

156 charnock's works. [Job XXVI. 14. 

bore not this doctrine through the world upon the points of their swords ; 
they presented a bodily death where they would bestow an immortal life ; 
they employed not troops of men in a warlike posture, which had been 
possible for them after the gospel was once spread ; they had no ambition 
to subdue men unto themselves, but to God ; they coveted not the posses- 
sions of others ; designed not to enrich themselves ; invaded not the rights 
of princes, nor the liberties and properties of the people ; they rifled them 
not of their estates, nor scared them into this religion by a fear of losing 
their worldly happiness. The arguments they used would naturally drive 
them from an entertainment of this doctrine, rather than allure them to be 
proselytes to it. Their design was to change their hearts, not their govern- 
ment ; to wean them from the love of the world to a love of a Redeemer ; 
to remove that which would ruin their souls. It was not to enslave them, 
but ransom them ; they had a ' warfare,' but not with ' carnal weapons,' 
but such as were ' mighty through God for the pulling down of strongholds,' 
2 Cor. X. 4 ; they used no weapons but the doctrine they preached. Others 
that have not gained conquests by the edge of the sword and the stratagems 
of war, have extended their opinions to others by the strength of human 
reason and the insinuations of eloquence. But the apostles had as little 
flourish in their tongues as edge upon their swords ; their preaching was 
' not with the enticing words of man's wisdom,' 1 Cor. ii. 4 ; their presence 
was mean, and their discourses without varnish ; their doctrine was plain, 
a crucified Christ, a doctrine unlaced, ungarnished, untoothsome to the 
world ; but they had the demonstration of the Spirit, and a mighty power 
for their companion in the work. The doctrine they preached, viz., the 
death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ, are called the * powers,' not of 
this world, but ' of the world to come,' Heb. vi. 5. No less than a super- 
natural power could conduct them in this attempt, with such weak methods 
in human appearance. 

Secondly, Against all the force, power, and wit of the world. The divi- 
sions in the eastern empire, and the feeble and consuming state of the 
western, contributed to Mahomet's success.* But never was Rome in a 
more flourishing condition ; learning, eloquence, wisdom, strength, were at 
the highest pitch. Never was there a more diligent watch against any 
innovations ; never was that state governed by more severe and suspicious 
princes than at the time when Tiberius and Nero held the reins. No time 
seemed to be more unfit for the entrance of a new doctrine, than that age 
wherein it begun' to be first published ; never did any religion meet with 
that opposition from men. Idolatry hath been often settled without any 
contest : but this hath sufi'ered the same fate with the institutor of it, and 
endured the contradictions of sinners against itself. And those that pub- 
lished it were not only without any worldly prop, but exposed themselves to 
the hatred and fury, to the racks and tortures, of the strongest powers on 
earth. It never set foot in any place, but the country was in an uproar, 
Acts xix. 28 ; swords were drawn to destroy it ; laws made to suppress it ; 
prisons provided for the professors of it ; fires kindled to consume them, 
and executioners had a perpetual employment to stifle the progress of it. 

Rome in the conquest of countries changed not the religion, rites, and 
modes of their worship. They altered their civil government, but left them 
to the liberty of their religion, and many times joined with them in the 
worship of their peculiar gods ; and sometimes imitated them at Rome, in- 
stead of abolishing them in the cities they had subdued. But all their 
councils were assembled, and their force was banded ' against the Lord and 
* Daille, Serm. xv. p. 57. 

Job XXVI. 14. J god's power. 157 

against bis Christ,' and that city that kindly received all manner of super- 
stitions, hated this doctrine with an irreconcileable hatred. It met with 
reproaches from the wise, and fury from the potentates ; it was derided by 
the one as the greatest folly, and persecuted by the other as contrary to 
God and mankind ; the one were afraid to lose their esteems by the doctrine, 
and the other to lose their authority by a sedition they thought a change of 
religion would introduce. The Romans, that had been conquerors of the 
earth, feared intestine commotions, and the falling asunder the links of 
their empire. Scarce any of their first emperors but had their swords dyed 
red in the blood of the Christians. The flesh with all its lusts, the world 
with all its flatteries, the statesmen with all their craft, and the mighty with 
all their strength, joined together to extirpate it. Though many members 
were taken off by the fires, yet the church not only lived, but flourished in 
the furnace. Converts were made by the death of martyrs, and the flames 
which consumed their bodies, were the occasion of firing men's hearts with 
a zeal for the profession of it. Instead of being extinguished, the doctrine 
shone more bright, and multiplied under the sickles that were employed to 
cut it down. God ordered every circumstance so, both in the persons that 
published it, the means whereby, and the time when, that nothing but his 
power might appear in it, without anything to dim and darken it. 

[4.j The divine power was conspicuous in the great success it had under 
all these difficulties. Multitudes were prophesied of to embrace it ; whence 
the prophet Isaiah, after the prophecy of the death of Christ, Isa. liii., calls 
upon the church to ' enlarge her tents, and lengthen out her cords' to re- 
ceive those multitudes of children that should call her mother, Isa. liv. 2, 3, 
for she should ' break forth on the right hand and on the left, and her seed 
should inherit the Gentiles.' The idolaters and persecutors should lift their 
names in the muster-roll of the church. 

Presently after the descent of the Holy Ghost from heaven upon the 
apostles, you find the hearts of three thousand melted by a plain declaration 
of this doctrine, who were a little before so far from having a favourable 
thought of it, that some of them at least, if not all, had expressed their rage 
against it, in voting for the condemning and crucifying the author of it. Acts 
ii. 41, 42. But in a moment they were so altered, that they breathe out 
affections instead of fury ; neither the respect they had to their rulers, nor 
the honour they bore to their priests, nor the derisions of the people, nor 
the threatening of punishment, could stop them from owning it in the face 
of multitudes of discouragements. How wonderful is it that they should so 
soon, and by such small means, pay a reverence to the servants, who had 
none for the master ! that they should hear them with patience, without the 
same clamour against them as against Christ, Crucify them, crucify them ! 
but that their hearts should so suddenly be inflamed with devotion to him 
dead, whom they so much abhorred when living. It had gained footing not 
in a corner of the world, but in the most famous cities ; in Jerusalem, where 
Christ had been crucified ; in Antioch, where the name of Christians first 
began ; in Corinth, a place of ingenious arts ; and Ephesus, the seat of a 
noted idol. In less than twenty years there was never a province of the 
Roman empire, and scarce any part of the known world, but was stored with 
the professors of it. Rome, that was the metropolis of the idolatrous world, 
had multitudes of them sprinkled in every corner, whose ' faith was spoken 
of throughout the world,' Rom. i. 8. The court of Nero, that monster of 
mankind, and the cruellest and sordidest tyrant that ever breathed, was not 
empty of sincere votaries to it ; there were ' saints in Caesar's house,' while 
Paul was under Nero's chain, Philip, iv. And it maintained its standing, 

158 chaenock's woeks. [Job XXVI. 14. 

and flourished in spite of all the force of hell 250 years before any sovereign 
prince espoused it. 

The potentates of the earth had conquered the lands of men, and subdued 
their bodies ; these vanquished hearts and wills, and brought the most be- 
loved thoughts under the yoke of Christ. So much did this doctrine over- 
master the consciences of its followers, that they rejoiced more at their yoke 
than others at their hberty, and counted it more a glory to die for the 
honour of it, than to live in the profession of it. Thus did our Saviour 
reign and gather subjects in the midst of his enemies ; in which respect, in 
the first discovery of the gospel, he is described as a mighty conqueror, Rev. 
vi. 2, and still conquering in the greatness of his strength. 

How great a testimony of his power is it, that from so small a cloud 
should rise so glorious a sun, that should chase before it the darkness and 
power of hell, triumph over the idolatry, superstition and profaneness of 
the world ! This plain doctrine vanquished the obstinacy of the Jews, 
baffled the understanding of the Greeks, humbled the pride of the grandees, 
threw the devil not only out of bodies but hearts, tore up the foundation 
of his empire, and planted the cross where the devil had for many ages 
before established his standard. How much more than a human force is 
illustrious in this whole conduct ! Nothing in any age of the world can 
parallel it, it being so much against the methods of nature, the disposition 
of the world, and (considering the resistance against it) seems to surmount 
even the work of creation. Never were there in any profession such multi- 
tudes, not of bedlams, but men of sobriety, acuteness, and wisdom, that ex- 
posed themselves to the fury of the flames, and challenged death in the most 
terrifying shapes for the honour of this doctrine. 

To conclude ; this should be often meditated upon to form our under- 
standings to a full assent to the gospel, and the truth of it ; the want of 
which consideration of power, and the customariness of an education in the 
outward profession of it, is the ground of all the profaneness under it, and 
apostasy from it, the disesteem of the truth it declares, and the neglect of 
the duties it enjoins. The more we have a prospect and sense of the im- 
pressions of divine power in it, the more we shall have a reverence of the 
divine precepts. 

(3.) The third thing is, the power of God appears in the application of 
redemption, as well as in the person redeeming, and the pubhcation and pro- 
pagation of the doctrine of redemption. 

[1.] In the planting grace. 

[2.] In the pardon of sin. 

[3.] In the preserving grace. 

[1.] In the planting grace. There is no expression which the Spirit of 
God hath thought fit in Scripture to resemble this work to, but argues the 
exerting of a divine power for the eff'ecting of it. When it is expressed by 
liaht, it is as much as the power of God in creating the sun ; when hj re- 
generation, it is as much as the power of God in forming an infant, and 
fashioning all the parts of a man ; when it is called resurrection, it is as 
much as the rearing of the body again out of putrefied matter ; when it is 
called creation, it is as much as erecting a comely world out of mere nothing, 
or an inform and uncomely mass. As we could not contrive the death of 
Christ for our redemption, so we cannot form our souls to the acceptation 
of it ; the infinite efiicacy of grace is as necessary for the one, as the infinite 
wisdom of God was for laying the platform of the other. 

It is by his power we have whatsoever pertains to godliness as well as 

Job XXVI. 14.] god's power, 159 

life, 2 Peter i. 3. He puts his fingers upon the handle of the lock, and 
turns the heart to what point he pleases ; the action whereby he performs 
this is expressed by a word of force : Col. i. 13, siivsaro, ' He hath snatched 
us fi-om the power of darkness ;' the action whereby it is performed mani- 
fests it. In reference to this power, it is called creation, which is a produc- 
tion from nothing ; and conversion is a production from something more 
uncapable of that state, than mere nothing is of being. There is a greater 
distance between the terms of sin and righteousness, corruption and grace, 
than between the terms of nothing and being ; the greater the distance is, 
the more power is required to the producing anything. As in miracles, 
the miracle is the greater where the change is the greater ; and the change 
is the greater where the distance is the greater. As it was a more signal 
mark of power to change a dead man to life, than to change a sick man to 
health, so that the change here being from a term of a greater distance, is 
more powerful than the creation of heaven and earth. Therefore, whereas 
creation is said to be wrought by his hands, and the heavens by his fingers, 
or his word, conversion is said to be wrought by his arm, Isa. liii. 1. In 
creation we had an earthly, by conversion a heavenly state ; in creation, 
nothing is changed into something ; in conversion, hell is transformed into 
heaven, which is more than the turning nothing into a glorious angel. In 
that thanksgiving of our Saviour for the revelation of the knowledge of him- 
self to babes, the simple of the world, he gives the title to his Father, of 
' Lord of heaven and earth,' Mat. xi. 25, intimating it to be an act of his 
creative and preserving power ; that power whereby he formed heaven and 
earth, hath preserved the standing and governed the motions of all creatures 
from the beginning of the world. 

It is resembled to the most magnificent act of divine power that God ever 
put forth, viz., that in the resurrection of our Saviour, Eph. i. 19, wherein 
there was more than an ordinary impression of might. It is not so small a 
power as that whereby we speak with tongues, or whereby Christ opened 
the mouths of the dumb and the ears of the deaf, or unloosed the cords of 
death from a person. It is not that power whereby our Saviour wrought 
those stupendous miracles when he was in the world ; but that power which 
wrought a miracle that amazed the most knowing angels as well as ignorant 
man, the taking off" the weight of the sin of the world from our Saviour, 
and advancing him in his human nature to rule over the angelical host, 
making him head of principalities and powers ; as much as to say, as great 
as all that power which is displayed in our redemption, from the first founda- 
tion to the last line in the superstructure. It is therefore often set forth 
with an emphasis, as * excellency of power,' 2 Cor. iv. 7, and glorious power, 
2 Peter, i. 3. ' To glory and virtue,' we translate it ; but it is din ho^rn, 
' through glory and virtue,' that is, by a glorious virtue or strength. 

The instrument whereby it is wrought is dignified with the title of power. 
The gospel, which God useth in this great affair, is called ' the power of 
God to salvation,' Rom. i. 16, and the ' rod of his strength,' Ps. ex. 2. 
And the day of the gospel's appearance in the heart is emphatically called, 
' the day of power,' verse 8, wherein he brings down strongholds and 
towering imaginations. And therefore the angel Gabriel, which name signi- 
fies the power of God, was always sent upon those messages which concerned 
the gospel, as to Daniel, Zacharias, Mary.* The gospel is the power of 
God in a way of instrumentality, but the almightiness of God is the principle 
in a way of efiiciency. The gospel is the sceptre of Christ, but the power 
of Christ is the mover of that sceptre. The gospel is not as a bare word 
* Grotius in Luke i. 19. 

160 charnock's works. [Job XXVI. 14. 

spoken, and proposing the thing, but as backed with a higher efficacy of 
grace ; as the sword doth instrumeutally cut, but the arm that wields it gives 
the blow, and makes it successful in the stroke. But this gospel is the power 
of God, because he edgeth this by his own power, to surmount all resistance, 
and vanquish the greatest malice of that man he designs to work upon. 

The power of God is conspicuous. 

First, In turning the heart of man against the strength of the inclinations 
of nature. In the forming of man of the dust of the ground, as the matter 
contributed nothing to the action whereby God formed it, so it had no 
principle of resistance contrary to the design of God. But in converting 
the heart, there is not only wanting a principle of assistance from him in 
this work, but the whole strength of corrupt nature is alarmed to combat 
against the power of his grace. When the gospel is presented, the under- 
standing is not only ignorant of it, but the will perverse against it ; the one 
doth not relish, and the other not esteem the excellency of the object. The 
carnal wisdom in the mind contrives against it, and the rebellious will puts 
the orders in execution against the counsel of God, which requires the in- 
vincible power of God to enlighten the dark mind, to know what it slights ; 
and the fierce will, to embrace what it loathes. The stream of nature can- 
not be turned, but by a power above nature. It is not all the created power 
in heaven and earth can change a swine into a man, or a venomous toad 
into a holy and illustrious angel. Yet this work is not so great in some 
respect, as the stilling the fierceness of nature, the silencmg the swelling 
waves in the heart, and the casting out those brutish affections which are 
born and grow up with us. There would be no, or far less, resistance in a 
mere animal to be changed into a creature of a higher rank, than there is 
in a natural man to be turned into a serious Christian. 

There is in every natural man a stoutness of heart, a stiff-neck unwilling- 
ness to good, forwardness to evil. Infinite power quells this stoutness, 
demolisheth these strongholds, turns this wild ass in her course, and routs 
those armies of turbulent nature against the grace of God. To stop the 
floods of the sea is not such an act of power as to turn the tide of the heart. 
This power hath been employed upon every convert in the world. What 
would you say, then, if you knew all the channels in which it hath run since 
the days of Adam ? If the alteration of one rocky heart into a pool of water 
be a wonder of power, what then is the calming and sweetening by his word 
those ' one hundred forty-four thousand of the tribes of Israel,' and that 
numberless multitude of all nations and people that shall stand before the 
throne, Rev. vii. 9, which were all naturally so many raging seas ? Not one 
converted soul, from Adam to the last that shall be in the end of the world, 
but is a trophy of the divine conquest. None were pure volunteers, nor 
listed themselves in his service till he put forth his strong arm to draw them 
to him. No man's understanding but was chained with darkness, and fond 
of it ; no man but had corruption in his will, which was dearer to him than 
anything else which could be proposed for his true happiness. These 
things are most evident in Scripture and experience. 

Secondly, As it is wrought against the inclinations of nature, so against a 
multitude of corrupt habits rooted in the souls of men. A distemper in its 
first invasion may more easily be cured than when it becomes chronical and 
inveterate. The strength of a disease, or the complication of many, magni- 
fies the power of the physician and efficacy of the medicine that tames and 
expels it. What power is that which hath made men stoop, when natural 
habits have been grown giants by custom, when the putrefaction of nature 
hath engendered a multitude of worms, when the ulcers are many and de- 

Job XXVI. 14.] god's power. 161 

plorable, when many cords, wherewith God would have bound the sinner, 
have been broken, and (hke Samson) the wicked heart hath gloried in its 
strength, and grown more proud that it hath stood Uke a strong fort against 
those batteries under which others have fallen flat. 

Every proud thought, every evil habit captivated, serves for matter of 
triumph to the power of God, 2 Cor. x. 5. What resistance will a multi- 
tude of them make, when one of them is enough to hold the faculty under 
its dominion, 'and intercept its operations ! So many customary habits, so 
many old natures, so many different strengths added to nature, every one of 
them standing as a barricado against the way of grace ; all the errors the 
understanding is possessed with think the gospel folly, all the vices the will 
is filled with count it the fetter and band. Nothing so contrary to man as 
to be thought a fool ; nothing so contrary to man as to enter into slavery. 
It is no easy matter to plant the cross of Christ upon a heart guided by 
many principles against the truth of it, and biassed by a world of wickedness 
against the holiness of it. Nature renders a man too feeble and indisposed, 
and custom renders a man more weak and unwilling to change his hue, Jer. 
xiii. 23. To dispossess man, then, of his self-esteem and self-excellency, to 
make room for God in the heart where there was none but for sin, as dear to 
him as himself, to hurl down the pride of nature, to make stout imagina- 
tions stoop to the cross, to make desires of self-advancement sink under a 
zeal for the glorifying of God and an over-ruling design for his honour, is 
not to be ascribed to any but an outstretched arm wielding the sword of the 
Spirit. To have a heart full of the fear of God, that was just before fiUed 
with a contempt of him ; to have a sense of his power, an eye to his glory, 
admiring thoughts of his wisdom, a faith in his truth, that had lower 
thoughts of him and all his perfections than he had of a creature ; to have a 
hatred of his habitual lusts, that had brought him in much sensitive plea- 
sure ; to loathe them as much as he loved them, to cherish the duties he 
hated ; to live by faith in, and obedience to, the Redeemer, who was before 
80 heartily under the conduct of Satan and self; to chase the acts of sin 
from his members, and the pleasing thoughts of sin from his mind ; to make 
a stout wretch willingly fall down, crawl upon the ground, and adore that 
Saviour whom before he out-dared, is a triumphant act of infinite power that 
can ' subdue all things to itself,' and break those multitude of locks and 
bolts that were upon us. 

Thirdly, Against a multitude of temptations and interests. The tempta- 
tions rich men have in this world are so numerous and strong that the 
entrance of one of them into the kingdom of heaven, that is, the entertain- 
ment of the gospel, is made by our Saviour an impossible thing with men, 
and procurable only by the power of God, Luke xviii. 24-26. The divine 
strength only can separate the world from the heart, and the heart from the 
world. There must be an incomprehensible power to chase away the devil, 
that had so long so strong a footing in the affections, to render the soil he 
had sown with so many tares and weeds capable of good grain ; to make 
spirits that had found the sweetness of worldly prosperity, wrapped up all 
their happiness in it, and not only bent down, but (as it were) buried in 
earth and mud, to be loosened from those beloved cords, to disrelish the 
earth for a crucified Christ, I say this must be the effect of an almighty 

Fourthly, The manner of conversion shews no less the power of God. 
There is not only a resistible force used in it, but an agi'eeable sweetness! 
The power is so efficacious, that nothing can vanquish it, and so sweet, that 
none did ever complain of it. The almighty virtue displays itself invincibly, 

VOL. II. li 

162 charnock's works. [Job XX"\T!. 14. 

yet without constraint, compelling the will without offering violence to it, 
and making it cease to be will : not forcing it, but changing it ; not drag- 
ging it, but drawing it ; making it will where before it nilled ; removing the 
corrupt nature of the will without invading the created nature and rights of 
the faculty ; not working in us against the physical nature of the will, but 
♦working to will,' Phil. ii. 13. This work is therefore called creation, 
resurrection, to shew its irresistible power ; it is called illumination, per- 
suasion, drawing, to shew the suitableness of its efficacy to the nature of the 
human faculties. It is a drawing with cords, which testifies an invincible 
strength; but with 'cords of love,' which testifies a delightful conquest. It 
is hard to determine whether it be more powerful than sweet, or more sweet 
than powerful. It is no mean part of the power of God to twist together 
victory and pleasure ; to give a blow as delightful as strong, as pleasing to 
the sufferer as it is sharp to the sinner. 

[2.] The power of God in the application of redemption is evident in the 
pardoning a sinner. 

First, In the pardon itself. The power of God is made the ground of his 
patience ; or the reason why he is patient is because he would shew his 
power, Eom. ix. 22, It is a part of magnanimity to pass by injuries. As 
weaker stomachs cannot concoct the tougher food, so weak minds cannot 
digest the harder injuries. He that passes over a wrong is superior to his 
adversary that does it. When God speaks of his own name as merciful, he 
speaks first of himself as powerful: Exod. xxxiv. 6, The Lord, the Lord 
God, that is, the Lord, the strong Lord, Jehovah, the strong Jehovah. ' Let 
the power of my Lord be great,' saith Moses, when he prays for the forgive- 
ness of the people (Numb. xiv. 17, ■j-^\/u^/itu, be exalted ; Sept., HD, 
strength, &c.). The word Jigdal is written with a great joe/, or Sijod above 
the other letters. The power of God in pardoning is advanced beyond an 
ordinary strain, beyond the creative strength. In the creation, he had 
power over the creatures ; in this, power over himself. In creation, not 
himself, but the creatures, were the object of his power; in that, no attri- 
bute of his nature could article against his design. In the pardon of a 
sinner, after many overtures made to him and refused by him, God exer- 
ciseth a power over himself; for the sinner hath dishonoured God, pro- 
voked his justice, abused his goodness, done injury to all those attributes 
which are necessary to his relief. It was not so in creation ; nothing was in- 
capable of disobliging God itova. bringing it into being. The dust, which was 
the matter of Adam's body, needed only the extrinsic power of God to form 
it into a man, and inspire it with a living soul. It had not rendered itself 
obnoxious to divine justice, nor was capable to excite any disputes between 
his perfections; but after the entrance of sin, and the merit of death thereby, 
there was a resistance in justice to the free remission of man. God was to 
exercise a power over himself, to answer his justice and pardon the sinner, 
as well as a power over the creature to reduce the runaway rebel. Unless 
we have recourse to the infiniteness of God's power, the infiniteness of our 
guilt will weigh us down. We must consider not only that we have a mighty 
guilt to press us, but a mighty God to relieve us. In the same act of his 
being our righteousness, he is our strength : ' In the Lord have I righteous- 
ness and strength,' Isa. xlv. 24. 

Secondly, In the sense of pardon. When the soul hath been wounded 
with the sense of sin, and its iniquities have stared it in the face, the raising 
the soul from a despairing condition, and lifting it above those waters which 
terrified it, to cast the light of comfort as well as the light of grace into a 
heart covered with more than an Egj-ptian darkness, is an act of his infinite 

Job XXVI. 14.] god's power. 163 

and creating power: Isa. Ivii. 19, 'I create the fruit of the lips, peace.' 
Men may wear out their lips with numbering up the promises of grace and 
arguments of peace, but all will signify no more without a creative power 
than if all men and angels should call to that white upon the wall to shine 
as splendidly as the sun. God only can ' create Jerusalem,' and every child 
of Jerusalem ' a rejoicing,' Isa. Ixv. 18. A man is no more able to apply to 
himself any word of comfort under the sense of sin, than he is able to con- 
vert himself, and turn the proposals of the woi'd into gracious affections in 
his heart. To 'restore the joy of salvation' is in David's judgment an act 
of sovereign power, equal to that of ' creating a clean heart,' Ps. li. 10, 12. 
Alas ! it is a state like to that of death ; as infinite power can only raise 
from natural death, so from a spiritual death, also from a comfortless death: 
* In his favour there is life,' in the want of his favour there is death. The 
power of God hath so placed light in the sun, that all creatures in the world, 
all the torches upon earth kindled together, cannot make it day if that doth 
not rise ; so all the angels in heaven and men upon earth are not competent 
chirurgeons for a wounded spirit. The cure of our spiritual ulcers, and the 
pouring in balm, is an act of sovereign creative power. It is more visible 
in silencing a tempestuous conscience, than the power of our Saviour was in 
the stilling the stormy winds and the roaring waves. As none but infinite 
power can remove the guilt of sin, so none but infinite power can remove 
the despairing sense of it. 

[3.] This power is evident in the preserving grace. As the providence of 
God is a manifestation of his power in a continued creation, so the preserva- 
tion of grace is a manifestation of his power in a continued regeneration ; to 
keep a nation under the yoke is an act of the same power that subdued it. 
It is this that strengthens men in sufiering against the fury of hell. Col. 
i. 13 ; it is this that keeps them from falling against the force of hell, the 
Father's hand, John x. 29. His strength abates and moderates the violence 
of temptations ; his staff sustains his people under them ; his might defeats 
the power of Satan, and bruiseth him under a believer's feet. The counter- 
workings of indwelling corruption, the reluctances of the flesh against the 
breathings of the Spirit, the fallacy of the senses and the rovings of the mind, 
have ability quickly to stifle and extinguish grace, if it were not maintained 
by that powerful blast that first inbreathed it. No less power is seen in per- 
fecting it, than was in planting it, 2 Peter i. 3 ; no less in fulfilling the work 
of faith, than in ingrafting the word of faith, 2 Thess. i. 11. 

The apostle well understood the necessity and efficacy of it in the preser- 
vation of faith, as well as in the first infusion, when he expresses himself in 
those terms of a greatness or hyperbole of power, his ' mighty power,' or the 
' power of his might,' Eph. i. 19. The salvation he bestows, and the strength 
whereby he effects it, are joined together in the prophet's song : Isa. xii. 2, 
' The Lord is my strength and my salvation ; ' and, indeed, God doth more 
magnify his power in continuing a believer in the world, a weak and half- 
rigged vessel in the midst of so many sands whereon it might spHt, so 
many rocks whereon it might dash, so many corruptions within, and so 
many temptations without, than if he did immediately transport him into 
heaven, and clothe him with a perfectly sanctified nature. 

To conclude ; what is there, then, in the world, which is destitute of notices 
of divine power ? Every creature affords us the lesson, all acts of divine 
government are the marks of it. Look into the word, and the manner of 
its propagation instructs us in it ; your changed natures, your pardoned 
guilt, your shining comfort, your quelled corruptions, the standing of your 
staggering graces, are sufficient to preserve a sense, and prevent a forgetful- 

1^4 charnock's works. [Job XXVI. H. 

ness of this great attribute, so necessary for our support, and conducing so 
much to your comfort. 

IV. Uses. 

1. Of information and instruction. 

(1.) If incomprehensible and infinite power belongs to the nature of God, 
then Jesus Christ hath a divine nature, because the acts of power proper 
to God are ascribed to him. This perfection of omnipotence doth unques- 
tionably pertain to the Deity, and is an incommunicable property, and the 
same with the essence of God; he therefore to whom this attribute is 
ascribed is essentially God. 

This is challenged by Christ in conjunction with eternity : Eev. i. 8, * I 
AVQ. Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which 
is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty ; ' this the Lord 
Christ speaks of himself. He who was equal with God proclaims himself 
by the essential title of the Godhead, part of which he repeats again, ver. 11. 
And this is the person which * walks in the midst of the seven golden candle- 
sticks ;' the person that ' was dead and now lives,' ver. 17, 18, which can- 
not possibly be meant of the Father, the first person, who can never come 
under that denomination of having been dead. Being therefore adorned 
with the same title, he hath the same Deity ; and though his omnipotence 
be only positively asserted, ver. 8, yet his eternity being asserted, ver. 11, 17, 
it inferreth his immense power ; for he that is eternal, without limits of 
time, must needs be conceived powerful, without any dash of infirmity. 

Again, when he is said to be ' a child born,' and ' a Son given,' in the 
same breath he is called ' the mighty God,' Isa. ix. 6. It is introduced as 
a ground of comfort to the church, to preserve their hopes in the accomplish- 
ment of the promises made to them before. They should not imagine him 
to have only the infirmity of man, though he was veiled in the appearance 
of a man ; no, they should look through the disguise of his flesh to the 
might of his Godhead. The attribute of mighty is added to the title God, 
because the consideration of power is most capable to sustain the drooping 
church in such a condition, and to prop up her hopes ; it is upon this 
account he saith of himself, that ' whatsoever things the Father doth, those 
also doth the Son likewise,' John v. 19. In creation of heaven, earth, sea, 
and the preservation of all creatures, the Son works with the same will, 
wisdom, virtue, power, as the Father works ; not as two may concur in an 
action in a difierent manner, as an agent and an instrument, a carpenter 
and his tools ; but in the same manner of operation, o/xolug, which we trans- 
late likewise, which doth not express so well the emphasis of the word. 
There is no diversity of action between us ; what the I'ather doth, that I do 
by the same power, with the same easiness in every respect ; there is the 
same creative, productive, conservative power in both of us ; and that not 
in one work that is done ad extra, but in all, in whatsoever the Father doth. 
* In the same manner ; ' not by a delegated, but natural and essential power, 
by one undivided operation and manner of working. 

[l.J The creation, which is a work of omnipotence, is more than once 
ascribed to him. This he doth own himself ; the creation of the earth, and 
of man upon it ; the stretching out the heavens by his hands, and the form- 
ing of all the host of them by his command, Isa. xlv. 12. He is not only 
the Creator of Israel, the church, ver. 12, but of the whole world, and every 
creature on the face of the earth, and in the glories of the heavens ; which 
is repeated also, ver. 18, where, in this act of creation, he is called God 
himself, and speaks of himself in the term Jehovah; and swears by himself, 

Job XXVI. 14.] god's power. 165 

ver. 23. What doth he swear ? ' That unto me every knee shall bow, and 
every tongue shall swear.' Is this Christ ? Yes, if the apostle may be be- 
lieved, who applies it to him, Rom. xiv. 11, to prove the appearance of all 
men before the judgment- seat of Christ, whom the prophet calls, ver. 15, a 
* God that hides himself,' and so he was a hidden God when obscured in our 
fleshy infirmities. He was in conjunction with the Father when the sea re- 
ceived his decree, and the foundations of the earth were appointed, not as a 
spectator, but as an artificer, for so the word in Prov. viii. 30 signifies, as 
one brought up with him ; it signifies also, ' a cunning workman,' Cant, 
vii. 1. He was the east, or the sm??, from whence sprang all the light of 
life and being to the creature ; so the word Dip, ver. 22, which is translated 
' before his works of old,' is rendered by some, and signifies the east as well 
as before ; but if it notes only his existence before, it is enough to prove his 

The Scripture doth not only allow him an existence before the world, but 
exalts him as the cause of the world. A thing may precede another, that is 
not the cause of that which follows ; a precedency in age doth not entitle 
one brother or thing the cause of another ; but our Saviour is not only 
ancienter than the world, but is the Creator of the world : Heb. i. 10, 11, 
Who ' laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the works of 
his hands.' So great an elogy cannot be given to one destitute of omnipo- 
tence, since the distance between being and not being is so vast a gulf that 
cannot be surmounted and stepped over, but by an infinite power. He is ' the 
first and the last,' that * called the generations from the beginning,' Isa. 
xli. 4, and had an almighty voice to call them out of nothing ; in which 
regard he is called 'the everlasting Father,' Isa. ix. 6, as being the efficient 
of creation ; as God is called the Father of the rain, or as father is taken 
for the inventor of an art ; as Jubal, the first framer and inventor of music, 
is called ' the father of such as handle the harp,' Gen, iv. 21. And that 
person is said to ' make the sea, and form the dry land by his hands,' Ps. 
xcv. 5, 6, against whom we are exhorted not to * harden our hearts,' ver, 8, 
which is applied to Christ by his apostle, Heb. iii, 8 ; in the 15th verse he is 
called ' a great king, and ' a great God, our maker.' The places wherein 
the creation is attributed to Christ, those that are the antagonists of his 
deity would evade by understanding them of the new or evangeUcal, not of 
the first, old, and material creation ; but what appearance is there for such 
a sense ? Consider, 

First, That of Heb. i. 10, 11. It is spoken of that earth and heavens 
which were in the beginning of time ; it is that earth that shall perish, that 
heaven that shall be folded up, that creation that shall grow old towards a 
decay ; that is, only the visible and material creation. The spiritual shall 
endure for ever ; it grows not old to decay, but grows up to a perfection ; 
it sprouts up to its happiness, not to its detriment. The same person 
creates that shall destroy, and the same world is created by him that shall 
be destroyed by him, as well as it subsisted by virtue of his omnipotency. 

Secondly, Can that also, Heb. i. 2, ' By whom also he made the worlds,' 
speaking of Christ, bear the same plea ? It was the same person by whom 
' God spake to us in these last times,' the same person which he hath ' con- 
stituted heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds.' And the 
particle also intimates it to be a distinct act from his speaking or prophetical 
office, whereby he restored and new created the world, as well as the right- 
ful foundation God had to make him heir of all things. It refers, likewise, 
not to the time of Christ's speaking upon earth, but to something past, and 
something diff'erent from the publication of the gospel ; it is not doth rnake, 

166 charnock's woeks. [Job XXVI. 14. 

■which had been more likely if the apostle had meant only the new creation, 
but hath made, IS.'Trolrjaiv, referring to time long since past, something done 
before his appearance upon earth as a prophet. * By whom also he made 
the worlds,' or ' ages,' all things subjected to or measured by time, which 
must be meant, according to the Jewish phrase, of this material visible world; 
so they entitled God in their liturgy, the ' Lord of ages,' that is, the Lord of 
the world, and all ages and revolutions of the world, from the creation to 
the last period of time. If anything were in being before this frame of 
lieaven and earth, and within the compass of time, it received being and 
dui-ation from the Son of God. The apostle would give an argument to 
prove the equity of making him heir of all things as mediator, because he 
was the framer of all things as God. He may well be the heir or Lord of 
angels as well as men, who created angels as well as men. All things were 
justly under his power as mediator, since they derived their existence from 
him as creator. But, 

Thirdly, What evasion can there be for that Col. i. 16, * By him were all 
things created that are in heaven, and that are in earth, whether they be 
thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers; all things were created 
by him and for him ' ? He is said to be the creator of material and visible 
things, as well as spiritual and invisible ; of things in heaven, which needed 
no restoration, as well as things on earth, which were polluted by sin, and 
stood in need of a new creation. How could the angels belong to the new 
creation, who had never put oflf the honour and purity of the first ? Since 
they never divested themselves of their original integrity, they could not be 
re-invested with that which they never lost. Besides, suppose the holy 
angels be one way or other reduced as parts of the new creation, as being 
under the mediatory government of our Saviour, as their head, and in regard 
of their confirmation by him in that happy state, in what manner shall the 
devils be ranked among new creatures ? They are called principalities and 
powers as well as the angels, and may come under the title of things 
invisible. That they are called principalities and powers is plain : Eph. 
vi. 12, *'For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principali- 
ties and powers, the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual 
wickedness in high places.' Good angels are not there meant, for what war 
have believers with them, or they with believers ? They are the guardians 
of them, since Christ hath taken away the enmity between our Lord and 
theirs, in whose quarrel they were engaged against us. And since the 
apostle, speaking of all things created by him, expresseth it so, that it cannot 
be conceived he should except anything, how come the finally impenitent 
and unbelievers, which are things in earth, and visible, to be listed here in 
the roll of new creatures ? None of these can be called new creatures, 
because they are subjected to the government of Christ, no more than the 
earth and sea, and the animals in it, are made new creatures, because they 
are all under the dominion of Christ and his providential government. 
Again, the apostle manifestly makes the creation he here speaks of to be the 
material, and not the new creation ; for that he speaks of afterwards as a 
distinct act of our Lord Jesus under the title of ' reconciliation,' Col. i. 20, 21, 
which was the restoration of the world, and the satisfying for that curse that 
lay upon it. His intent is here to shew, that not an angel in heaven, nor a 
creature upon earth, but was placed in their several degrees of excellency by 
the power of the Son of God, who, after that act of creation and the entrance 
of sin, was the reconciler of the world through the blood of his cross. 

Fourthly, There is another place as clear : John i. 3, * All things were 
made by him, and without him was nothing made that was made.' The 

Job XXVI. 14.J god's poweb. 167 

creation is here ascribed to him : affirmatively, ' All things were made by 
him ; ' negatively, • There was nothing made without him ;' and the words 
are emphatical, oudi h, not one tJwig, excepting nothing, including invisible 
things, as well as things conspicuous to sense only, mentioned in the story 
of the creation, Gen. i. ; not only the entire mass, but the distinct parcels, 
the smallest worm and the highest angel, owe their original to him. And if 
not one thing, then the matter was not created to his bands ; and his 
work consisted not only in the forming things from that matter. If that 
one thing of matter were excepted, a chief thing were excepted; if not 
one thing were excepted, then he created something of nothing, because 
spirits, as angels and souls, are not made of any pre-existing or fore- 
created matter. How could the evangelist phrase it more extensively and 
comprehensively ? This is a character of omnipotency ; to create the 
world, and everything in it, of nothing, requires an infinite virtue and 
power. If all things were created by him, they were not created by 
him as man, because himself, as man, was not in being before the creation ; 
if all things were made by him, then himself was not made, himself was not 
created ; and to be existent without being made, without being created, is to 
be unboundedly omnipotent. And if we understand it of the new creation, 
as they do that will not allow him an existence in his deity before his 
humanity, it cannot be true of that ; for how could he regenerate Abraham, 
make Simeon and Anna new creatures, who ' waited for the salvation of 
Israel,' and form John Baptist, and fill him with the Holy Ghost, even from 
the womb, Luke i. 15 (who belonged to the new creation, and was to pre- 
pare the way) if Christ had not a being before him 9 The evangelist alludes 
to, and explains the history of, the creation in the beginning, and acquaints 
us what was meant by God said, so often, viz., the eternal Word, and 
describes him in his creative power, manifested in the framing the world, 
before he describes him in his incarnation, when he came to lay the founda- 
tion of the restoration of the world : John i. 14, ' The Word was made flesh ;' 
this Word who was with God, who was God, who made all things, and gave 
being to the most glorious angels and the meanest creature without excep- 
tion, this Word, in time, was made flesh. 

Fifthly, The creation of things mentioned in these Scriptures cannot be 
attributed to him as an instrument. As if when it is said, God created all 
thingsiby him, and by him made the worlds, we were to understand the 
Father" to be the agent, and the Son to be a tool in his Father's hand, as an 
axe in the hand of a carpenter, or a file in the hand of a smith, or a servant 
acting by command as the organ of his master. The preposition 2)er, or dia, 
doth not alway signify an instrumental cause. When it is said, that the 
apostle gave the Thessalonians a command ' by Jesus Christ,' 1 Thes. iv. 2, 
was Christ the instrument, and not the Lord of that command the apostle 
gave ? The immediate operation of Christ dwelling in the apostles, was 
that whereby they gave the commands to their disciples. When we are 
called by God, 1 Cor. i. 9, is he the instrumental or principal cause of our 
efi"ectual vocation ? And can the will of God be the instrument of putting 
Paul into the apostleship, or the sovereign cause of investing him with that 
dignity, when he calls himself an apostle ' by the will of God ' ? Eph. i. 3. 
And when all things are said to be through God, as well as of him, must he 
be counted the instrumental cause of his own creation, counsels, and judg- 
ments? Rom. xi. 36. When we ' mortify the deeds of the body through 
the Spirit,' Rom. viii. 13, or keep the ' treasure of the word by the Holy 
Ghost,' 2 Tim. i. 14, is the Holy Ghost of no more dignity in such acts 
than instrument? Nor doth the gaining a thing by a person make him a mere 

168 charkock's works. [Job XXVI. 14. 

instrument or inferior ; as when a man gains his right in the way of justice 
against his adversary by the magistrate, is the judge inferior to the sup- 
pliant ? If the Word were an instrument in creation, it must be a created 
or uncreated instrument ; if created, it could not be true what the evangelist 
saith, that * all things were made by him,' since himself, the principal thing, 
could not be made by himself ; if uncreated, he was God, and so acted by a 
divine omnipotency, which surmounts an instrumental cause. But indeed, 
an instrument is impossible in creation, since it is wrought only by an act 
of the divine will. Do we need any organ to an act of volition ? The efl&- 
cacious will of the Creator is the cause of the original of the body of the world, 
with its particular members and exact harmony ; it was formed by a word 
and established by a command, Ps. xxxiii. 9 ; the beauty of the creation 
stood up at the precept of his will. Nor was the Son a partial cause ; as 
when many are said to build a house, one works one part, and another 
frames another part. God created all things by the immediate operation of 
the Son, in the unity of essence, goodness, power, wisdom; not an extrinsic, 
but a connatural instrument. As the sun doth illustrate all things by his 
light, and quickens all things by his heat, so God created the worlds by 
Christ, as he was the brightness or splendour of his glorj^ the exact image 
of his person, which follows the declaration of his making the worlds by 
him, Heb. i. 3, 4, to shew that he acted not as an instrument, but one in 
essential conjunction with him, as light and brightness with the sun. But 
suppose he did make the world as a kind of instrument, he was then before 
the world, not bounded by time, and eternity cannot well be conceived 
belonging to a being without omnipotency ; he is the end as well as the 
author of the creatures. Col. i. 16, not only the principle which gave them 
being, but the sea into whose glory they run and dissolve themselves, which 
consists not with the meanness of an instrument. 

[2.] As creation, so preservation is ascribed to him : Col. i. 17, ' By him 
all things consist.' As he preceded all things in his eternity, so he establishes 
all things by his omnipotency, and fixes them in their several centres, that 
they sink not into that nothing from whence he fetched them. By him they 
flourish in their several beings, and observe the laws and orders he first 
appointed. That power of his which extracted them from insensible nothing, 
upholds them in their several beings with the same facility as he spake being 
into them, even ' by the word of his power,' Heb. i. 8, and by one creative 
continued voice called all generations from the beginning to the period of 
the world, Isa. xli. 4, and causes them to flourish in their several seasons. 
It is ' by him kings reign, and princes decree justice,' and all things are 
confined within the limits of government ; all which are acts of an infinite 

[3.] Eesurrection is also ascribed to him. The body crumbled to dust, 
and that dust blown to several quarters of the world, cannot be gathered in 
its distinct parts, and new formed for the entertainment of the soul, without 
the strength of an infinite arm. This he will do, and more ; change the vile- 
ness of an earthly body into the glory of an heavenly one ; a dusty flesh 
into a spiritual body, which is an argument of a power invincible, to which 
all things cannot but stoop ; for it is by such an operation, which testifies 
an ability to ' subdue all things to himself,' Phil. iii. 21, especially when 
he works it with the same ease as he did the creation, by the power of his 
voice : John v. 28, * All that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall 
come forth :' speaking them into a restored life from insensible dust, as he 
did into being from an empty nothing. The greatest acts of power are owned 
to belong to creation, preservation, resurrection. Omnipotence, therefore, 

Job XXVI. 14.j god's power. 169 

is his right ; and therefore a deity cannot be denied to him that inherits a 
perfection essential to none but God, and impossible to be entrusted in, or 
managed by, the hands of any creatures. 

And this is no mean comfort to those that believe in him. He is, in re- 
gard of his power, ' the horn of salvation ;' so Zacharias sings of him, Luke 
i. 69. Nor could there be any more mighty found out upon whom God 
could have laid our help, Ps. Ixxxix. 19. No reason, therefore, to doubt his 
ability to save to the utmost, who hath the power of creation, preservation, 
and resurrection in his hands. His promises must be accomplished, since 
nothing can resist him. He hath power to fulfil his word, and bring all 
things to a final issue, because he is almighty ; by his outstretched arm in 
the deliverance of his Israel from Egypt (for it was his arm, 1 Cor. x.), he 
shewed that he was able to deliver us from spiritual Egypt. The charge of 
mediator to expiate sin, vanquish hell, form a church, conduct and perfect 
it, are not to be effected by a person of less ability than infinite. Let this 
almightiness of his be the bottom, wherein to cast and fix the anchor of 
our hopes. 

2. Information. Hence may be inferred the deity of the Holy Ghost. 
Works of omnipotency are ascribed to the Spirit of God. By the motion 
of the wings of this Spirit, as a bird over her eggs, was that rude and un- 
shapen mass hatched into a comely world. Gen. i. 2 : so the word moved 
properly signifies. The stars, or perhaps the angels, are meant by the 
' garnishing of the heavens' in the verse before the text, were brought forth 
in their comeliness and dignity, as the ornaments of the upper world, by,this 
Spirit ; ' By his Spirit he hath garnished the heavens.' To this Spirit Job 
ascribes the formation both of the body and soul under the title of Almighty : 
Job xxxiii. 4, ' The Spirit of God hath made, and the breath of the 
Almighty hath given me life.' Resurrection, another work of omnipotency, 
is attributed to him, Rom. viii. 11. The conception of our Saviour in the 
womb ; the miracles that he wrought, were by the power of the Spirit in 
him. Power is a title belonging to him, and sometimes both are put 
together, 1 Thes. i. 5, and other places ; and that great power of changing 
the heart, and sanctifying a polluted nature, a work greater than creation, is 
frequently acknowledged in the Scripture to be the peculiar act of the Holy 
Ghost. The Father, Son, Spirit, are one principle in creation, resurrection, 
and all the works of omnipotence. 

3. Inference from the doctrine. The blessedness of God is hence evi- 
denced. If God be almighty, he can want nothing ; all want speaks weak- 
ness. If he doth what he will, he cannot be miserable ; all misery consists 
in those things which happen contrary to our will. There is nothing can 
hinder his happiness, because nothing can resist his powder. Since he is 
omnipotent, nothing can hurt him, nothing can strip him of what he hath, 
of what he is.* If he can do whatsoever he will, he cannot want anything 
that he wills. He is as happy, as great, as glorious, as he will ; for he hath 
a perfect Uberty of will to will, and a perfect power to attain what he will : 
his will cannot be restrained, nor his power mated. It would be a defect in 
blessedness to will what he were not able to do. Sorrow is the result of a 
want of power, with a presence of will. If he could will anything which he 
could not effect, he would be miserable, and no longer God ; he can do what- 
soever he pleases, and therefore can want nothing that pleases him.f He 
cannot be happy, the original of whose happiness is not in himself: nothing 
can be infinitely happy that is limited and bounded. 

4. Hence is a ground for the immutability of God. As he is incapable of 
* Sabunde, tit. 89. t ^^^^^ P^^t vi., med. 16, p. 531, 

170 chaknook's works. [Job XXVI. 14. 

changing his resolves, because of his infinite wisdom, so he is incapable of 
being forced to any change, because of his infinite power. Being almighty, 
he can be no more changed from power to weakness, than being all-wise, 
he can be changed from wisdom to folly, or being omniscient, from know- 
ledge to ignorance. He cannot be altered in his purposes because of his 
wisdom, nor in the manner and method of his actions because of his infinite 
strength. Men, indeed, when their designs are laid deepest, and their pur- 
poses stand firmest, yet are forced to stand still, or change the manner of 
the execution of their resolves, by reason of some outward accidents that 
obstruct them in their course ; for having not wisdom to foresee future hin- 
drances, they have not power to prevent them, or strength to remove them, 
when they unexpectedly interpose themselves between their desire and per- 
formance ; but no created power has strength enough to be a bar against 
God. By the same act of his will that he resolves a thing, be can pufi" away 
any impediments that seem to rise up against him. He that wants no means 
to effect his purposes, cannot be checked by anything that riseth up to stand 
in his way. Heaven, earth, sea, the deepest places, are too weak to resist 
his will, Ps. cxxxv. 6. The purity of the angels will not, and the devil's 
malice cannot, frustrate his will ; the one voluntarily obeys the beck of his 
hand, and the other are vanquished by the power of it. What can make 
him change his purposes, who (if he please) can dash the earth against the 
heavens in the twinkling of an eye, untying the world from its centre, clap 
the stars and elements together into one mass, and blow the whole creation 
of men and devils into nothing. Because he is almighty, therefore he is 

6. Hence is inferred the providence of God, and his government of the 
world. His power as well as his wisdom gives him a right to govern. 
Nothing can equal him, therefore nothing can share the command with him ; 
since all things are his works, it is fittest they should be under his order : he 
that frames a work is fittest to guide and govern it. God hath the most 
right to govern, because he hath knowledge to direct his power, and power 
to execute the results of his wisdom. He knows what is convenient to order, 
and hath strength to effect what he orders. As his power would be oppres- 
sive without goodness and wisdom ; so his goodness and wisdom would be 
fruitless without power. An artificer that hath lost his hands may direct, 
but cannot make an engine ; a pilot that hath lost his arms may advise the 
way of steerage, but cannot hold the helm ; something is wanting in him to 
be a complete governor ; but since both counsel and power are infinite in 
God, hence results an infinite right to govern, and an infinite fitness, because 
his will cannot be resisted, his power cannot be enfeebled or diminished ; 
he can quicken and increase the strength of all means as he pleases. He 
can hold all things in the world together, and preserve them in those func- 
tions wherein he settled them, and conduct them to those ends for which he 
designed them. 

Every artificer, the more excellent he is, and the more excellency of 
power appears in his work, is the more careful to maintain and cherish it. 
Those that deny providence do not only ravish from him the bowels of his 
goodness, but strip him of a main exercise of his power, and engender in 
men a suspicion of weariness and feebleness in him, as though his strength 
had been spent in making them, that none is left to guide them. They 
would make him headless in regard of his wisdom, and bowel-less in regard 
of his goodness, and armless in regard of his strength. If he did not, or 
were not able to preserve and provide for his creatures, his power in making 
them would be in a great part an invisible power ; if he did not preserve 

Job XXVI. 14.] god's power, 171 

what he made, and govern what he preserves, it would be a kind of strange 
and rude power, to make and suffer it to be dashed in pieces at the pleasure 
of others. If the power of God should relinquish the world, the life of 
things would be extinguished, the fabric would be confounded and fall 
into a deplorable chaos. That which is composed of so many various 
pieces could not maintain its union, if there was not a secret virtue binding 
them together, and maintaining those varieties of links. 

Well then, since God is not only so good that he cannot will anything 
but what is good, so wise that he cannot err or mistake, but also so able 
that he cannot be defeated or mated, he hath every way a full ability to 
govern the world, where those three are infinite. The right and fitness result- 
ing from thence is unquestionable ; and, indeed, to deny God this active part 
of his power, is to render him weak, foolish, cruel, or all. 

6. Here is a ground for the worship of God. Wisdom and power are 
the grounds of the respect we give to men ; they being both infinite in God, are 
the foundation of a solemn honour to be returned to him by his creatures. 
If a man make a curious engine, we honour him for his skill ; if another 
vanquish a vigorous enemy, we admire him for his strength ; and shall not 
the efficacy of God's power in creation, government, redemption, inflame us 
with a sense of the honour of his name and perfections! We admire 
those princes that have vast empires, numerous armies, that have a power 
to conquer their enemies, and preserve their own people in peace ; how much 
more ground have we to pay a mighty reverence to God, who, without trouble 
and weariness, made and manages this vast empire of the world by a word 
and beck ! What sensible thoughts have we of the noise of thunder, the 
power of the sun, the storms of the sea ! These things, that have no under- 
standing, have struck men with such a reverence that many have adored them 
as gods. What reverence and adoration doth this mighty power, joined with 
an infinite wisdom in God, demand at our hands ! 

All religion and worship stands especially upon two pillars, goodness and 
power in God ; if either of these were defective, all religion would faint 
away. We can expect no entertainment with him without goodness, nor 
any benefit from him without power. This God prefaceth to the command 
to worship him, the benefit his goodness had contei-red upon them, and the 
powerful manner of conveyance of it to them : 2 Kings xvii. 36, ' The Lord 
brought you up from the land of Egypt with great power and an outstretched 
arm ; him shall you fear, and him shall you worship, and to him shall you 
do sacrifice.' Because this attribute is a main foundation of prayer, the 
Lord's prayer is concluded with a doxology of it, ' For thine is the kingdom, 
the power, and the glory.' As he is rich, possessing all blessings, so he is 
powerful to confer all blessings on us, and make them efficacious to us. 
The Jews repeat many times in their prayers, some say an hundred times, 
D'?'iyn "n^Q, ' The king of the world ;' it is both an awe and an encourage- 
ment.* We could not without consideration of it pray in faith of success, 
nay, we could not pray at all, if his power were defective to help us, and 
his mercy too weak to relieve us. Who would solicit a lifeless, or lie a 
prostrate suppliant to a feeble arm ! Upon this ability of God our Saviour 
built his petitions : Heb. v. 7, ' He offered up strong cries unto him that 
was able to save him from death.' Abraham's faith hung upon the same 
string, Rom. iv. 21, and the captive church supplicates God to act ' ac- 
cording to the greatness of his power,' Ps. Ixxix. 11. In all our addresses, 
this is to be eyed and considered, God is able to help, to relieve, to 

* Capel in Tim. L 17. 

172 charnock's woeks. [Job XXVI. 14. 

ease me, let my misery be never so great, and my strength never so weak. 
' If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean,' was the consideration the leper had 
when he came to worship Christ, Mat. viii.'^2 ; he was clear in his power, 
and therefore worshipped him, though he was not equally clear in his will. All 
worship is shot wrong that is not directed to, and conducted by, the thoughts 
of this attribute whose assistance we need. When we beg the pardon of 
our sins, we should eye mercy and power ; when we beg his righting us in 
any case where we are unjustly oppressed, we do not eye righteousness 
without power ; when we plead the performance of his promise, we do not 
regard his faithfulness only without the prop of his power. As power ushers 
in all the attributes of God in their exercise aud manifestation in the world, 
so should it be the butt our eyes should be fixed upon in all our acts of wor- 
ship ; as without his power his other attributes would be useless, so without 
apprehensions of his power our prayers will be faithless and comfortless. The 
title in the Lord's prayer directs us to a prospect both of his goodness and 
power ; his goodness in the word Father, his greatness, excellency, and 
power in the word heaven. The heedless consideration of the infiniteness 
of this perfection roots up piety in the midst of us, and makes as so care- 
less in worship. Did we more think of that power that raised the world out 
of nothing, that orders all creatures by an act of his will, that performed so 
great an exploit as that of our redemption, whenmasterless sin had triumphed 
over the world, we should give God the honour and adoration which so great 
an excellency challengeth and deserves at our hands, though we ourselves 
had not been the work of his hands, or the monuments of his strength. How 
could any creature engross to itself that reverence from us which is due to 
the powerful Creator, of whom it comes infinitely short in strength as well 
as wisdom ! 

^ 7. From this we have a ground for the belief of the resurrection. God 
aims at the glory of his power, as well as the glory of any other attribute. 
Moses else would not have culled out this as the main argument in his 
pleading with God for the sheathing the sword, which he began to draw out 
against them in the wilderness : Num. xiv. 16, ' The nations will say. Be- 
cause the Lord was not able to bring these people into the land which he 
sware to them,' &c. As the finding out the particulars of the dust of our 
bodies discovers the vastness of his knowledge, so to raise them will mani- 
fest the glory of his power as much as creation. Bodies that have mouldered 
away into multitudes of atoms, been resolved into the elements, passed 
through varieties of changes, been sometimes the matter to lodge the form 
of a plant, or been turned into the substance of a fish or fowl, or vapoured 
up into a cloud, and been part of that matter which hath compacted a 
thunder-bolt ; disposed of in places far distant, scattered by the winds, 
swallowed and concocted by beasts : for these to be called out from their 
different places of abode to meet in one body, and be restored to their former 
consistency in a marriage union, ' in the twinkling of an eye,' 1 Cor. xv. 52, 
it is a consideration that may justly amaze us, and our shallow understand- 
ings are too feeble to comprehend it. But is it not credible, since all the 
disputes against it may be silenced by reflections on infinite power, which 
nothing can oppose, for which nothing can be esteemed too difiicult to efiiect, 
which doth not imply a contradiction in itself? It was no less amazing to 
the blessed virgin to hear a message that she should conceive a son with- 
out knowing a man ; but she is quickly answered by the angel, with a No- 
thing is impossible to God, Luke i. 34, 87. The distinct parts of our bodies 
cannot be hid from his all-seeing eye, wherever they are lodged, and in all the 
changes they pass through, as was discovered when the omniscience of God 

Job XXYI. 14.] god's power. 173 

was handled ; shall, then, the collection of them together be too hard for his 
invincible power and strength, and the uniting all those parts into a body, 
with new dispositions to receive their several souls, be too big and bulky for 
that power which never yet was acquainted with any bar ? Was not the 
miracle of our Saviour's multiplying the loaves, suppose it had not been by 
a new creation, but a collection of grain from several parts, very near as 
stupendous as this ? Had any one of us been the only creature made just 
before the matter of the world, and beheld that inform chaos, covered with 
a thick darkness, mentioned Gen. i. 2, would not the report, that from this 
dark deep, next to nothing, should be raised such a multitude of comely 
creatures, with such innumerable varieties of members, voices, colours, 
motions, and such numbers of shining stars ; a bright sun, one uniform 
body of light from this darkness, that should, like a giant, rejoice to run a 
race for many thousand years together, without stop or weariness ; would 
not all these have seemed as incredible as the collection of scattered dust ? 
What was it that erected the ionumerable host of heaven, the glorious angels, 
and glittering stars, for aught we know more numerous than the bodies of 
men, but an act of the divine will ? And shall the power that wrought this, 
sink under the charge of gathering some dispersed atoms, and compacting 
them into a human body ? Can you tell how the dust of the ground was 
kneaded by God into the body of man, and changed into flesh, skin, hair, 
bones, sinews, veins, arteries, and blood, and fitted for so many several 
activities, when a human soul was breathed into it ? * Can you imagine how 
a rib, taken from Adam's side, a lifeless bone, was formed into head, 
hands, feet, eyes ? Why may not the matter of men which have been 
be restored, as well as that which was not be first erected? Is it harder to 
repair those things which were, than to create those things which were not ? 
Is there not the same artificer ? Hath any disease or sickness abated his 
power ? Is the Ancient of days grown feeble ? or shall the elements and 
other creatures, that alway yet obeyed his command, ruffle against his raising 
voice, and refuse to disgorge those remains of human bodies they have 
swallowed up in their several bowels ? Did the whole world, and all the 
parts of it, rise at his word ? and shall not some parts of the world, the dust 
of the dead, stand up out of the graves at the word of the same mighty 
efficacy ? Do we not annually see those marks of power which may stun 
our incredulity in this concern ? Do you see, in a small acorn or little seed, 
any such sights as a tree, with body, bark, branches, leaves, flowers, fruit ? 
Where can you find them ? Do you know the invisible corners where they 
lurk in that little body ? And yet these you afterwards view rising up from 
this little body, when sown in the ground, that you could not possibly have 
any prospect of when you rolled it in your hand, or opened its bowels. And 
why may not all the particulars of our bodies, however disposed as to their 
distinct natures invisibly to us, remain distinct, as well as if you mingle a 
thousand seeds together, they will come up in their distinct kinds, and pre- 
serve their distinct virtues ? 

Again, is not the making heaven and earth, the union of the divine and 
human nature, eternity and infirmity, to make a virgin conceive a son, bear 
the Creator, and bring forth the Redeemer, to form the blood of God of the 
flesh of a virgin, a greater work than the calling together and uniting the 
scattered parts of our bodies, which are all of one nature and matter ? And 
since the power of God is manifested in pardoning innumerable sins, is not 
the scattering our transgressions, as far as the east is from the west, as the 
expression is, Ps. ciii. 12, and casting such numbers into the depths of the 
* Lingend, to . iii. p. 779, 780. 

174 chabnock's works. [Job XXVI. 14. 

sea, whicli is God's power over himself, a greater argument of might than 
the recalling and repairing the atoms of our bodies from their various recep- 
tacles ? It is not hard for them to believe this of the resurrection, that have 
been sensible of the weight and force of their sins, and the power of God in 
pardoning and vanquishing that mighty resistance, which was made in their 
hearts against the power of his renewing and sanctifying grace. The con- 
sideration of the infinite power of God is a good ground of the belief of the 

' 8. Since the power of God is so great and incomprehensible, how strange 
is it that it should be contemned and abused by the creatures as it is ! The 
power of God is beaten down by some, outraged by others, blasphemed by 
many under their sufferings. The stripping God of the honour of his 
creation, and the glory of his preservation of the world, falls under this 
charge. Thus do they that deny his framing the world alone, or thought 
the first matter was not of God's creation ; and such as fancied an evil 
principle, the author of all evil, as God is the author of all good, and so 
exempt from the power of God that it could not be vanquished by him. 
These things have formerly found defenders in the world, but they are in 
themselves ridiculous and vain, and have no footing in common reason, and 
are not worthy of debate in a Christian auditory. 

In general, all idolatry in the world did arise from the want of a due 
notion of this infinite power. The heathen thought one God was not suffi- 
cient for the managing of all things in the world, and therefore they feigned 
several gods that had several charges : as Ceres presided over the fruits of 
the earth ; Esculapius over the cure of distempers ; Mercury for merchan- 
dise and trade ; Mars for war and battles ; Apollo and Minerva for learning 
and ingenious arts ; and Fortune for casual things. Whence doth the other 
sort of idolatry, the adoring our bags and gold, our dependencies on and 
trusting in creatures for help, arise, but from ignorance of God's power, or 
mean and slender apprehensions of it? 

First, There is a contempt of it. 

Secondly, An abuse of it. 

(1.) It is contemned in every sin, especially in obstinacy in sin. All sin 
whatsoever is built upon some false notion or monstrous conception of one 
or other of God's perfections, and in particular of this. It includes a secret 
and lurking imagination, that we are able to grapple with omnipotence, and 
enter the lists with almightiness ; what else can be judged of the apostle's 
expression, 1 Cor. x. 22, ' Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy ? are we 
stronger than he ? ' Do we think we have an arm too powerful for that 
justice we provoke, and can repel that vengeance we exasperate ? Do we 
think we are an even match for God, and are able to despoil him of his 
divinity ? To despise his will, violate his order, practise what he forbids 
with a severe threatening, and pawns his power to make it good, is to pre- 
tend to have an arm like God, and be able to thunder with a voice equal or 
superior to him, as the expression is. Job xl. 9. All security in sin is of 
this strain ; when men are not concerned at divine threatenings, nor 
staggered in their sinful race, they intimate that the declarations of divine 
power are but vain-glorious boastings, that God is not so strong and able as 
he reports himself to be ; and therefore they will venture it, and dare him 
to try whether the strength of his arm be as forcible as the words of his 
mouth are terrible in his threats. This is to believe themselves creators, not 
creatures. We magnify God's power in our wants, and debase it in our 
rebellions, as though omnipotence were only able to supply our necessities, 
and unable to revenge the injuries we offer him. 

Job XXVI. 14.] god's powee. 175 

' (2.) This power is contemned in distrust of God. All distrust is founded 
in a doubting of his truth, as if he would not be as good as his word ; or 
of his omniscience, as if he had not a memory to retain his word ; or.! of his 
power, as if he could not be as great as his word. We measure the infinite 
power of God by the short line of our understandings, as if infinite strength 
were bounded within the narrow compass of our finite reason, as if he could 
do no more than we were able to do. 

How soon did those Israelites lose the remembrance of God's out- 
stretched arm, when they uttered that atheistical speech, Ps. Ixxviii. 19, 
' Can God furnish a table in the wilderness ?' As if he that turned the dust 
of Egypt into lice for the punishment of their oppressors, could not turn the 
dust of the wilderness into corn for the support of their bodies ! As if he 
that had miraculously rebuked the Red Sea for their safety, could not pro- 
vide bread for their nourishment ! Though they had seen the Egyptians 
with lost lives in the morning, in the same place where their lives had been 
miraculously preserved in the evening, yet they disgrace that experimented 
power by opposing to it the stature of the Anakims, the strength of their 
cities, and the height of their walls. Numb. xiii. 82. And Numb. xiv. 3, 
* Wherefore hath the Lord brought us into this land to fall by the sword ?' 
as though the giants of Canaan were too strong for him, for whom they had 
seen the armies of Egypt too weak. How did they contract the almightiness 
of God into the littleness of a little man, as if he must needs sink under the 
sword of a Canaanite ! 

This distrust must arise either from a flat atheism, a denial of the being 
of God or his government of the world, or unworthy conceits of a weakness 
in him, that he had made creatures too hard for himself, that he were not 
strong enough to grapple with those mighty Anakims, and give them the 
possession of Canaan against so great a force. Distrust of him implies, 
either that he was alway destitute of power, or that his power is exhausted 
by his former works, or that it is limited and near a period ; it is to deny 
him to be the Creator that moulded heaven and earth. Why should we by 
distrust put a slight upon that power which he hath so often expressed, and 
which in the minutest works of his hands surmounts the force of the sharpest 
understanding ? 

(3.) It is contemned in too great a fear of man, which ariseth from a 
distrust of divine power. Fear of man is a crediting the might of man with 
a disrepute of the arm of God ; it takes away the glory of his might, and 
renders the creature stronger than God, and God more feeble than mortal, 
as if the arm of man were a rod of iron, and the arm of God a brittle reed. 
How often do men tremble at the threatenings and hectorings of ruffians, 
yet will stand as stakes against the precepts and threatenings of God ; as 
though he had less power to preserve us, than enemies had to destroy ! 
With what disdain doth God speak to men infected with this humour ! 
Isa. li. 12, 13, ' Who art thou, that art afraid of a man that shall die, and 
of the son of man, that shall be made as grass, and forgettest the Lord thy 
maker, that hath stretched forth the heavens, and laid the foundation of the 
earth, and hast feared continually every day, because of the fury of the 
oppressor ?' 

To fear man that is as grass, that cannot think a thought without a divine 
concourse, that cannot breathe but by a divine power, nor touch a hair 
without license first granted from heaven ; this is a forgetfulness, and con- 
sequently a slight, of that infinite power which hath been manifested in 
founding the earth and garnishing the heavens. All fear of man in the way 
of our duty, doth in some sort thrust out the remembrance and discredit 

176 charnock's works. [Job XXYI. 14. 

the great actions of the Creator, Would not a mighty prince think it a 
disparagement to him if his servant should decline his command for fear of one 
of his subjects ? And hath not the great God just cause to think himself 
disgraced by us, when we deny him obedience for fear of a creature, as 
though he had but an infant ability, too feeble to bear us out in duty, and 
incapable to balance the strength of an arm of flesh ! 

(4.) It is'contemned by trusting in ourselves, in means, in man, more than 
in God. When in any distress we will try every creature-refuge before we 
have recourse to God, and when we apply ourselves to him, we do it with 
such slight and perfunctory frames, and with so much despondency, as if we 
despaired either of his ability or will to help us, and implore him with cooler 
affections than we solicit creatures ; or, when in a disease we depend upon 
the virtue of the medicine, the ability of the physician, and reflect not upon 
that power that endued the medicine with that virtue, and supports the 
quality in it, and concurs to the operation of it ; when we depend upon the 
activity of the means, as if they had power originally in themselves, and not 
derivatively, and do not eye the power of God animating and assisting them. 
We cannot expect relief from anything with a neglect of God, but we render it 
in our thoughts more powerful than God ; we acknowledge a greater fulness 
in a shallow stream, than in an eternal spring ; we do in effect depose the 
true God, and create to ourselves a new one ; we assert by such a kind of act- 
ing the creature, if not superior, yet equal with God and independent on 
him. When we trust in our own strength without begging his assistance, or 
boast of our own strength without acknowledging his concurrence, as the 
Assyrian, — ' By the strength of my hand have I done this, I have put down 
the inhabitants like a valiant man,' Isa. x. 13, — it is as if ' the axe should 
boast itself against him that hews therewith,' and thinks itself more mighty 
than the arm that wields it, verse 15, when we trust in others more than in 
God. Thus God upbraids those by the prophet that sought help from 
Egypt, telling them, Isa. xxxi. 3, ' The Egyptians were men, and not gods,' 
intimating that, by their dependence on them, they rendered them gods and 
not men, and advanced them from the state of creatures to that of almighty 
deities. It is to set a pile of dust, a heap of ashes, above him that created 
and preserves the world. To trust in a creature, is to make it as infinite 
as God, to do that which is impossible in itself to be done. God him- 
self cannot make a creature infinite, for that were to make him God. 

It is also contemned when we ascribe what we receive to the power 
of instruments, and not to the power of God. Men, in whatsoever they do 
for us, are but the tools whereby the Creator works. Is it not a disgrace 
to the limner to admire his pencil and not himself; to the artificer to admire 
his file and engines, and not his power 1 It is ' not I,' saith Paul, that 
labour, ' but the grace,' the efiicacious grace, * of God which is in me.' What- 
soever good we do is from him, not from ourselves ; to ascribe it to our- 
selves, or to instruments, is to overlook and contemn his power. 

(5.) Unbelief of the gospel is a contempt and disowning divine power. 
This perfection hath been discovered in the conception of Christ, the union 
of the two natures, his resurrection from the grave, the restoration of the 
world, and the conversion of men, more than in the creation of the world ; 
then what a disgrace is unbelief to all that power, that so severely punished 
the Jews for the rejecting the gospel, turned so many nations from their 
beloved superstitions, humbled the power of princes and the wisdom of 
philosophers, chased devils from their temples by the weakness of fishermen, 
planted the standard of the gospel against the common notions and inveterate 
customs of the world ! What a disgrace is unbelief to this power, which 

Job XXVI. 14.] god's poweb. 177 

hath preserved Christianity from being extinguished by the force of men and 
devils, and kept it flourishing in the midst of sword, fire, and executioners ; 
that hath made the simplicity of the gospel overpower the eloquence of 
orators, and multiplied it from the ashes of martyrs, when it was destitute 
of all human assistances ! Not heartily to believe and embrace that doctrine 
which hath been attended with such marks of power, is a high reflection 
upon this divine perfection, so highly manifested in the first publication, pro- 
pagation, and preservation of it. 

The power of God is abused as well as contemned ; 

(1.) When we make use of it to justify contradictions. The doctrine of 
transubstantiation is an abuse of this power. When the maintainers of it 
cannot answer the absurdities alleged against it, they have recourse to the 
power of God. It implies a contradiction, that the same body should be on 
earth and in heaven at the same instant of time ; that it should be at the 
right hand of God, and in the mouth and stomach of a man ; that it should 
be a body of flesh, and yet bread to the eye and to the taste ; that it should 
be visible and invisible, a glorious body, and yet gnawn by the teeth of a 
creature ; that it should be multiplied in a thousand places, and yet an entire 
body in every one, where there is no member to be seen, no flesh to be 
tasted ; that it should be above us in the highest heavens, and yet within 
us in our lower bowels. Such contradictions as these are an abuse of the 
power of God. 

Again, we abuse this power, when we believe every idle story that is reported, 
because God is able to make it so if he pleased. We may as well believe 
iEsop's fables to be true, that birds spake and beasts reasoned, because the 
power of God can enable such creatures to such acts. God's power is not 
the rule of our belief of a thing, without the exercise of it in matter of fact, and 
the declaration of it upon sufficient evidence. 

(2.) The power of God is abused, by presuming on it, without using the 
means he hath appointed. When men sit with folded arms, and make a 
confidence in his power a glorious title to their idleness and disobedience, 
they would have his strength do all, and his precept should move them to 
do nothing ; this is a trust of his power against his command, a pretended 
glorifying his power with a slight of his sovereignty. Though God be 
almighty, yet for the most part he exerciseth his might in giving life and 
success to second causes and lawful endeavours. When we stay in the 
mouth of danger, without any call ordering us to continue, and against a 
door of providence opened for our rescue, and sanctuary ourselves in the 
power of God without any promise, without any providence conducting us, 
this is not to glorify the divine might, but to neglect it, in neglecting the 
means which his power afi"ords to us for our escape ; to condemn it to our 
humours, to work miracles for us according to our wills, and against his 
own.* God could have sent a worm to be Herod's executioner, when he 
sought the life of our Saviour, or employed an angel from heaven to have 
tied his hands or stopped his breath, and not put Joseph upon a flight to Egypt 
with our Saviour ; yet had it not been an abuse of the power of God, for 
Joseph to have neglected the precept, and slighted the means God gave him 
for the preserving his own life and that of the child's ! Christ himself, when 
the Jews consulted to destroy him, presumed not upon the power of God to 
secure him, but used ordinary means for his preservation, by walking no 
more openly, but retiring himself into a city near the wilderness till the hour 
was come, and the call of his Father manifest, John xi. 53, 54. A rash* 
running upon danger, though for the truth itself, is a presuming upon, and 
* Harwood, p 13. 


178 chaenock's woeks. [Job XXVI. 14. 

consequently an abuse of, this power ; a proud challenging it to serve our 
turns against the authority of his will, and the force of his precept ; a not 
resting in his ordinate power, but demanding his absolute power to pleasure 
our follies and presumption, concluding and expecting more from it than 
what is authorised by his will. 

9. Instruction. If infinite power be a peculiar property of God, how 
miserable will all wicked rebels be under this power of God ! Men may 
break his laws, but not impair his arm ; they may slight his word, but can- 
not resist his power. If he swear that he will sweep a place with the besom 
of destruction, * As he hath thought, so shall it come to pass ; and as he hath 
purposed, so shall it stand,' Isa. xiv. 23, 24. Rebels against an earthly 
prince may exceed him in strength, and be more powerful than their sove- 
reign. None can equal God, much less exceed him. As none can exercise 
an act of hostility against him without his permissive will, so none can 
struggle from under his hand without his positive will. He hath an arm 
not to be moved, a hand not to be wrung aside. God is represented on his 
throne like a jasper stone. Rev. iv. 3, as one of invincible power when he 
comes to judge. The jasper is a stone which withstands the greatest force.* 
Though men resist the order of his laws, they cannot resist the sentence of 
their punishment, nor the execution of it. None can any more exempt 
themselves from the arm of his strength, than they can from the authority 
of his dominion. As they must bow to his sovereignty ; so they must sink 
under his force. A prisoner in this world may make his escape ; but a 
prisoner in the world to come cannot : Job. x. 7, ' There is none that can 
deliver out of thine hand.' There is ' none to deliver when he tears in pieces,' 
Ps. 1. 22. His strength is uncontrollable ; hence his throne is represented 
as a fiery flame, Dan. vii. 9. As a spark of fire hath power to kindle one 
thing after another, and increase till it consumes a forest, a city, swallow 
up all combustible matter, till it consumes a world, and many worlds, if they 
were in being. What power hath a tree to resist the fire, though it seems 
mighty when it out-braves the winds ? What man to this day hath been 
able to free himself from that chain of death God clapped upon him for his 
revolt ? And if he be too feeble to rescue himself from a temporal, much 
less from an eternal death- The devils have to this minute groaned under 
the pile of wrath, without any success in delivering themselves by all their 
strength, which much surmounts all the strength of mankind, nor have they 
any hopes to work their rescue to eternity. 

How foolish is every sinner ! Can we poor worms strut it out against 
infinite power ? We cannot resist the meanest creatures when God com- 
missions them, and puts a sword into their hands. They will not, no, not 
the worms, be startled at the glory of a king, when they have their Creator's 
warrant to be his executioners. Acts xii. 23. Who can withstand him, when 
he commands the waves and inundations of the sea to leap over the shore ; 
when he divides the ground in earthquakes, and makes it gape wide to 
swallow the inhabitants of it ; when the air is corrupted to breed pestilences ; 
when storms and showers, unseasonably falling, putrefy the fruits of the 
earth ? What created power can mend the matter, and with a prevailing voice 
say to him, What dost thou ? 

There are two attributes God will make glister in hell to the full, his 
wrath and his power : Rom. ix. 22, * What if God, willing to shew his wrath, 
and to make his power known, endured with much long-sufliering the vessels 
of wrath fitted for destruction ?' If it were mere wrath, and no power to 
second it, it were not so terrible ; but it is wrath and power, both are joined 
* Grot, in loc. 

Job XXVI. 14.] god's powee. 179 

together ; it is not only a sharp sword, but a powerful arm ; and not only 
that, for then it were well for the damned creature. To have many sharp 
blows, and from a strong arm, this may be without putting forth the highest 
strength a man hath ; but in this God makes it his design to make his power 
known and conspicuous. He takes the sword (as it were) in both hands, 
that he may shew the strength of his arm in striking the harder blow ; and 
therefore the apostle calls it, 2 Thes. i. 9, ' the glory of his power,' which 
puts a sting into this wrath ; and it is called. Rev. xix. 15, ' the fierceness 
of the wrath of the Almighty,' God will do it in such a manner, as to make 
men sensible of his almightiness in every stroke. How great must that 
vengance be, that is backed by all the strength of God ? When there will 
be a powerful wrath without a powerful compassion, when all this power 
shall be exercised in punishing, and not the least mite of it exercised in 
pitying, how irresistible will be the load of such a weighty hand ! How 
can the dust of the balance break the mighty bars, or get out of the lists of 
a powerful vengeance, or hope for any grain of comfort ! Oh that every 
obstinate sinner would think of this, and consider his unmeasurable boldness 
in thinking himself able to grapple with omnipotence ! What force can any 
have to resist the presence of him before whom rocks melt, and the heavens 
at length shall be shrivelled up as a parchment by the last fire ! As the 
light of God's face is too dazzling to be beheld by us, so the arm of his 
power is too mighty to be opposed by us. His almightiness is above the 
reach of our potsherd strength, as his infiniteness is above the capacity of 
our purbhnd understandings. God were not omnipotent, if his power could 
be rendered inefiectual by any. 

Use 2. A second use of this point, from the consideration of the infinite 
power of God, is of comfort. As omnipotence is an ocean that cannot be 
fathomed, so the comforts from it are streams that cannot be exhausted. 
What joy can be wanting to him that finds himself folded in the arms of 
omnipotence ! 

This perfection is made over to believers in the covenant, as well as any 
other attribute : ' I am the Lord your God ;' therefore^that power, which is 
as essential to the Godhead as any other perfection of his nature, is in the 
rights and extent of it assured unto you. Nay, we may not say, it is made 
over more than any other, because it is that which animates every other 
perfection, and is the spirit that gives them motion and appearance in the 
world. If God had expressed himself in particular, as, I am a true God, a 
wise God, a loving God, a righteous God, I am yours, what would all or 
any of those have signified, unless the other also had been implied, as, I am 
almighty God, I am your God ! In God's making over himself in any par- 
ticular attribute, this of his power is included in every one, without which 
all his other grants would be insignificant. It is a comfort that power is 
in the hand of God ; it can never be better placed, for he can never use his 
power to injure his confiding creature. If it were in our own hands, we might 
use it to injure ourselves. It is a power in the hand of an indulgent father, 
not a hard-hearted tyrant ; it is a just power. ' His right hand is full of 
righteousness,' Ps. xlviii. 10 ; because of his righteousness he can never use 
it ill, and because of his wisdom he can never use it unseasonably. Men 
that have strength often misplace the actings of it, because of their folly, 
and sometimes employ it to base ends, because of their wickedness. But 
this power in God is alway awakened by goodness and conducted by 
wisdom ; it is never exercised by self-will and passion, but according to the 
immutable rule of his own nature, which is righteousness. How comfortable 
is it to think that you have a God that can do what he pleases ; nothing so 

1.80 charnock's works. [Job XXVI. 14. 

difficult but he can effect, nothing so strong but he can over-rule ! You 
need not dread men, since you have one to restrain them ; nor fear devils, 
since you have one to chain them. No creature but is acted by this power ; 
no creature but must fall upon the withdrawing of this power. It was not 
all laid out in creation ; it is not weakened by his preservation of things ; 
he yet hath a fulness of power, and a residue of Spirit. For whom should 
that eternal arm of the Lord be displayed, and that incomprehensible thun- 
der of his power be shot out, but for those for whose sake and for whose 
comfort it is revealed in his word ? 
In particular, 

1. Here is comfort in all afflictions and distresses. Our evils can never 
be so great to oppress us as his power is great to deliver us. The same 
power that brought a world out of chaos, and constituted and hath hitherto 
preserved the regular motion of the stars, can bring order out of our confu- 
sions, and light out of our darkness. When our Saviour was in the greatest 
distress, and beheld the face of his Father frowning, while he was upon the 
cross, in his complaint to him he exerciseth faith upon his power : Mat. 
xxvii. 46, 'Eli, Eli; My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?' that 
is, ' My strong, my strong.' El is a name of power belonging to God ; he 
comforts himself in his power, while he complains of his frowns. Follow 
his pattern, and forget not that power that can scatter the clouds, as well as 
gather them together. The psalmist's support in his distress was in the 
creative power of God : Ps. cxxi. 2, ' My help comes from the Lord which 
made heaven and earth.' 

2. It is comfort in all strong and stirring corruptions and mighty tempta- 
tions. It is by this we may arm ourselves, and be ' strong in the power of 
his might,' Eph. vi. 10. By this we may conquer principalities and powers 
as dreadful as hell, but not so mighty as heaven ; by this we may triumph 
over lusts within, too strong for an arm of flesh ; by this the devils that 
have possessed us may be cast out, the battered walls of our souls may be 
repaired, and the sons of Anak laid flat. That power that brought light 
out of darkness, and over-mastered the deformity of the chaos, and set 
bounds to the ocean, and dried up the Red Sea by a rebuke, can quell the 
tumults in our spirits, and level spiritual Gohahs by his word. When the 
disciples heard that terrifying speech of our Saviour concerning rich men, 
that it was ' easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for 
a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God,' Mat. xix. 24, to entertain 
the gospel, which commanded self-denial ; and that, because of the allure- 
ments of the world, and the strong habits in their soul, Christ refers them 
to the power of God, ver. 26, who could expel those ill habits and plant 
good ones : ' With men this is impossible, but with God all things are pos- 
sible.' There is no resistance but he can surmount, no stronghold but he 
can demolish, no tower but he can level. 

8. It is comfort from hence that all promises shall be performed. Good- 
ness is sufficient to make a promise, but power is necessary to perform a 
promise. Men that are honest cannot often make good their words, because 
something may intervene that may shorten their ability, but nothing can 
disable God without diminishing his Godhead. He hath an infiuiteness of 
power to accomplish his word, as well as an infiuiteness of goodness to make 
and utter his word. That might whereby he ' made heaven and earth,' and 
his ' keeping truth for ever,' are joined together, Ps. cxlvi. 5, 6 ; his Father's 
faithfulness and his creative power are linked together. It is upon this basis 
the covenant, and every part of it, is established, and stands as firm as the 
almightiness of God, whereby he sprung up the earth and reared the 

Job XXYI. 14.] god's power. 181 

heavens : ' No power can resist his will,' Rom. ix. 19 ; * Who can disannul 
his purpose, and turn back his hand when it is stretched out ? ' Isa. xiv. 27. 
His word is unalterable, and his power is invincible. He could not deceive 
himself, for he knew his own strength when he promised ; no unexpected 
event can change his resolution, because nothing can happen without the 
compass of his foresight. No created strength can stop him in his action, 
because all creatures are ready to serve him at his command ; not the devils 
in hell, nor all the wicked men on earth, since he hath strength to restrain 
them, and an arm to punish them. What can be too hard for him that 
created heaven and earth ? Hence it was that when God promised anything 
anciently to his people, he used often the name of the * Almighty,' the 
' Lord that created heaven and earth,' as that which was an undeniable 
answer to any objection against anything that might be made against the 
greatness and stupendousness of any promise. By that name in all his works 
of grace was he known to them, Exod. vi. 3. When we are sure of his 
will, we need not question his strength, since he never over-engageth himself 
above his ability. He that could not be resisted by nothing in creation, nor 
vanquished by devils in redemption, can never want power to glorify his faith- 
fulness in his accomplishment of whatsoever he hath promised. 

4. From this infiniteness of power in God, we have ground of assurance 
for perseverance. Since conversion is resembled to the works of creation 
and resurrection, two great marks of his strength, he doth not surely employ 
himself in the first work of changing the heart, to let any created strength 
baffle that power which he began and intends to glorify. It was this might 
that struck ofi" the chain, and expelled that strong one that possessed you. 
What if you are too weak to keep him out of his lost possession, will God 
lose the glory of his first strength, by suffering his foiled adversary to make 
a re-entry, and regain his former usurpation ? His outstretched arm will 
not do less by his spiritual than it did by his national Israel ; it guarded 
them all the way to Canaan, and left them not to shift for themselves after 
he had struck off the fetters of Egypt, and buried their enemies in the Eed 
Sea, Deut. i. 31. This greatness of the Father above all our Saviour makes 
the ground of believers' continuance for ever against the blasts of hell and 
engines of the world : John x. 29, ' My Father is greater than all, and none 
is able to pluck them out of my Father's hands.' Our keeping is not in our 
own weak hands, but in the hands of him who is mighty to save. That 
power of God keeps us which intends our salvation. In all fears of falling 
away, shelter yourselves in the power of God : ' He shall be holden up,' 
saith the apostle, speaking concerning one weak in faith. And no other 
reason is rendered by him but this, ' for God is able to make him to stand,' 
Rom. xiv. 4. 

From this attribute of the infinite power of God, we have a ground of 
comfort in the lowest estate of the church. Let the state of the church be 
never so deplorable, the condition never so desperate, that power that created 
the world, and shall raise the bodies of men, can create a happy state for the 
church, and raise her from an overwhelming grave. Though the enemies 
trample upon her, they cannot upon the arm that holds her, which by the 
least motion of it can lift her up above the heads of her adversaries, and 
make them feel the thunder of that power that none can understand. ' By 
the blast of God they perish, and by the breath of his nostrils they are con- 
sumed,' Job iv. 9 ; they shall be ' scattered as chaff before the wind.' _ If 
once he ' draw his hand out of his bosom,' all must fly before him, or sink 
under him, Ps. Ixxiv. 11 ; and when there is none to help, his own arm sus- 
tains him, and brings salvation, and his fury doth uphold him, Isa. Ixiii. 5. 

182 charnock's works. [Job XXVI. 14. 

What if the church totter under the underminings of hell ! What if it hath a 
sad heart and wet eyes ! In what a little moment can he make the night 
turn into day, and make the Jews that were preparing for death in Shushan 
triumph over the necks of their enemies, and march in one hour with swords 
in their hands, that expected the last hour ropes about their necks ! Esth. 
ix. 1, 5. If Israel be pursued by Pharaoh, the sea shall open its arms to 
protect them ; if they be thirsty, a rock shall spout out water to refresh 
them ; if they be hungry, heaven shall be their granary for manna ; if Jeru- 
salem be besieged, and hath not force enough to encounter Sennacherib, an 
angel shall turn the camp into an Aceldama, a field of blood. His people 
shall not want deliverances, till God want a power of working miracles for 
their security. He is more jealous of his power than the church can be of 
her safety ; and if we should want other arguments to press him, we may 
implore him by virtue of his power ; for when there is nothing in the church 
as a motive to him to save it, there is enough in his own name, and the illus- 
tration of his power, Ps. cvi. 8. Who can grapple with the omnipotency of 
that God who is jealous of, and zealous for, the honour of it ? And there- 
fore God, for the most part, takes such opportunities to deliver, wherein his 
almightiness may be most conspicuous, and his counsels most admirable. 
He awakened not himself to deliver Israel till they were upon the brink of 
the Ked Sea ; nor to rescue the three children till they were in the fiery furnace ; 
nor Daniel till he was in the lion's den. It is in the weakness of his crea- 
ture that his strength is perfected ; not in a way of addition of perfectness 
to it, but in a way of manifestation of the perfection of it ; as it is the per- 
fection of the sun to shine and enlighten the world, not that the sun receives 
an increase of light by the darting of his beams, but discovers his glory to 
the admiration of men, and pleasure to the world. If it were not for such 
occasions, the world would not regard the mightiness of God, nor know what 
power were in him. It traverses the stage in its fulness and liveliness upon 
such occasions, when the enemies are strong, and their strength edged with 
an intense hatred, and but little time between the contrivance and execution. 
It is the great comfort that the lowest distresses of the church are a fit scene 
for the discovery of this attribute, and that the glory of God's omnipotence, 
and the church's security, are so straitly linked together. It is a promise 
that will never be forgotten by God, and ought never to be forgotten by us, 
that ' in this mountain, the hand of the Lord shall rest,' Isa. xxv. 10 ; that 
is, the power of the Lord shall abide ; * and Moab shall be trodden under 
him, even as straw is trodden down for the dunghill.' And the plagues of 
Babylon * shall come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine ; for strong 
is the Lord who judges her,' Kev. xviii. 8. 

Use 3. The third use is for exhortation. 

1. Meditate on this power of God, and press it often upon your minds. 
We conclude many things of God that we do not practically suck the comfort 
of, for want of deep thoughts of it, and frequent inspection into it. We 
believe God to be true, j^et distrust him ; we acknowledge him powerful, yet 
fear the motion of every straw. Many truths, though assented to in our 
understandings, are kept under hatches by corrupt afiections, and have not 
their due influence, because they are not brought forth into the open air of 
our souls by meditation. If we will but search our hearts, we shall find it 
is the power of God we often doubt of. When the heart of Ahaz and his 
subjects trembled at the combination of the Syrian and Israelitish kings 
against him, for want of a confidence in the power of God, God sends his 
prophet with commission to work a miraculous sign at his own choice, to 
rear up his fainting heart ; and when be refused to ask a sign out of diflfi- 

Job XXVI. 14.] god's power. 183 

dence of that almighty power, the prophet complains of it as an afifront to 
his master, Isa. vii. 12, 13. Moses, so great a friend of God, was overtaken 
with this kind of unbelief, after all the experiments of God's miraculous 
acts in Egypt ; the answer God gives him manifests this to be at the core : 
' Is the Lord's hand waxed short ?' Num. xi. 23. 

For want of actuated thoughts of this, we are many times turned from our 
known duty by the blast of a creature ; as though man had more power to 
dismay us than God hath to support us in his commanded way. The belief 
of God's power is one of the first steps to all religion ; without settled thoughts 
of it, we cannot pray lively and believingly, for the obtaining the mercies we 
want, or the averting the evils we fear ; we should not love him, unless we 
are persuaded he hath a power to bless us ; nor fear him, unless we are per- 
suaded of his power to punish us. The frequent thoughts of this would 
render our faith more stable, and our hopes more stedfast ; it would make 
us more feeble to sin, and more careful to obey. When the virgin staggered 
at the message of the angel, that she should bear a Son, he in his answer 
turns her to the creative power of God : Luke i. 85, ' The power of the 
Highest shall overshadow thee ;' which seems to be an allusion to the Spirit's 
moving upon the face of the deep, and bringing a comely world out of a con- 
fused mass. Is it harder for God to make a virgin conceive a Son by the 
power of his Spirit, than to make a world ? Why doth he reveal himself so 
often under the title of Almighty, and press it upon us, but that we should 
press it upon ourselves ? And shall we be forgetful of that, which everything 
about us, everything within us, is a mark of? How come we by the power 
of seeing and hearing, a faculty and act of understanding and will, but by 
this power framing us, this power assisting us ? What though the thunder 
of his power cannot be understood ; no more can any other perfection of his 
nature ; shall we therefore seldom think of it ? The sea cannot be fathomed, 
yet the merchant excuseth not himself from sailing upon the surface of it. 
We cannot glorify God without due consideration of this attribute ; for his 
power is his glory as much as any other, and called both by the name of 
' glory,' Rom. vi. 4, speaking of Christ's resurrection by the glory of the 
Father ; and also ' the riches of his glory,' Eph. iii. 16. Those that have 
strong temptations in their course, and over-pressiog corruptions in their 
hearts, have need to think of it out of interest, since nothing but this can 
relieve them. Those that have experimented the working of it in their new 
creation, are obliged to think of it out of gratitude. It was this mighty 
power over himself that gave rise to all that pardoning grace already con- 
ferred, or hereafter expected ; without it, our souls had been consumed, the 
world overturned : we could not have expected a happy heaven, but have lain 
yelling in an eternal hell, had not the power of his mercy exceeded that of 
his justice, and his infinite power executed what his infinite wisdom had con- 
trived for our redemption. How much also should we be raised in our admi- 
rations of God, and ravish ourselves in contemplating that might that can 
raise innumerable worlds in those infinite imaginary spaces without this 
globe of heaven and earth, and exceed inconceivably what be hath done in 
the creation of this ! 

2. From the pressing the consideration of this upon ourselves, let us be 
induced to trust God upon the account of his power. The main end of the 
revelation of his power to the patriarchs, and of the miraculous operations of 
it in Egypt, was to induce them to an entire reposing themselves in God ; 
and the psalmist doth scarce speak of the divine omnipotence without making 
this inference from it ; and scarce exhorts to a trust in God, but backs it 
with a consideration of his power in creation, it being the chief support of 

184 chajinock's works. [Job XXVI. 14. 

the soul : Ps. cxlvi. 5, 6, * Happy is he whose hope is in the Lord his God, 
which made heaven and earth, the sea and all that therein is.' That power 
is invincible that drew the world out of nothing : nothing can happen to us 
harder than the making the world without the concurrence of instruments. 
No difficulty can nonplus that strength, that hath drawn all things out of 
nothing, or out of a confused matter next to nothing. No power can rifle 
what we commit to him, 2 Tim. i. 12. He is all power, ahove the reach of 
all power ; all other powers in the world flowing from him, or depending on 
him. He is worthy to be trusted, since we know him true, without ever 
breaking his word, and omnipotent, never failing of his purpose ; and a con- 
fidence in it is the chief act whereby we can glorify this power and credit his 
arm. A strong God, and a weak faith in omnipotence, do not suit well 
together ; indeed, we are more engaged to a trust in divine power than the 
ancient patriarchs were. They had the verbal declaration of his power, and 
many of them little other evidence of it than in the creation of the world ; and 
their faith in God being established in this first discovery of his omnipotence, 
drew out itself further to believe, that whatsoever God promised by his word, 
he was able to perform, as well as the creation of the world out of nothing, 
which seems to be the intendment of the apostle, Heb. xi. 3 ; not barely to 
speak of the creation of the world by God, which was a thing the Hebrews 
understood well enough from their ancient oracles, but to shew the founda- 
tion of the patriarchs' faith, viz., God making the world by his word, and 
what use they made of the discovery of his power in that, to lead them to 
believe the promise of God concerning the seed of the woman to be brought 
into the world ; but we have not only the same foundation, but superadded 
demonstrations of this attribute in the conception of our Saviour, the union 
of the two natures, the glorious redemption, the propagation of the gospel, 
and the new creation of the world. They relied upon the naked power of 
God, without those more illustrious appearances of it, which have been in 
the ages since, and arrived to their notice. We have the wonderful effects 
of that which they had but obscure expectations of. 

(1.) Consider, trust in God can never be without taking in God's power 
as a concurrent foundation with his truth. It is the main ground of trust, 
and so set forth in the prophet : Isa. xxvi. 4, ' Trust ye in the Lord for 
ever, for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength.' And the faith of the 
ancients so recommended, Heb. xi., had this chiefly for its ground, and the 
faith in gospel times is called a ' trusting on his arm,' Isa. li. 5. All the 
attributes of God are the objects of our veneration, but they do not equally 
contribute to the producing trust in our hearts ; his eternity, simplicity, 
infiniteness, ravish and astonish our minds when we consider them.* But 
there is no immediate tendency in their nature to allure us to a confidence in 
him, no, not in an innocent state, much less in a lapsed and revolted con- 
dition. But the other perfections of his nature, as his holiness, righteous- 
ness, mercy, are amiable to us in regard of the immediate operations of 
them upon and about the creature, and so having something in their own 
nature to allure us to repose ourselves in him ; but yet those cannot engage 
to an entire trust in him, without reflecting upon his ability, which can only 
render those useful and successful to the creature. For whatsoever bars 
stand in the way of his holy, righteous, and merciful proceedings towards 
his creatures are not overmastered by those perfections, but by that strength 
of his which can only relieve us in concurrence with the other attributes. 
How could his mercy succour us without his arm, or his wisdom guide us 
without his hand, or his truth perform promises to us without his strength ! 
♦ Amyraut, Moral, torn. v. p, 170. 

Job XXVI. 14.] god's power. 185 

As no attribute can act without it, so in our addresses to him upon the 
account of any particular perfection in the Godhead according to our indi- 
gency, one eye must be perpetually fixed upon this of his power, and our 
faith would be feeble and dispirited without eying this ; without this, his 
holiness,|which hates sin, would not be regarded, and his mercy, pitying a 
grieving sinner, would not be valued. As this power is the ground of a 
wicked man's fear, so it is the ground of a good man's trust. This was 
that which was the principal support of Abraham, not barely his promise, 
but his ability to make it good, Rom. iv. 21 ; and when he was commanded to 
sacrifice Isaac, the ability of God to raise him up again, Heb. xi. 19. All 
faith would droop, and be in the mire, without leaning upon this. All those 
attributes which we consider as moral in God would have no influence upon 
us without this, which we consider physical in God. Though we value the 
kindness men may express to us in our distresses, yet we make them not 
the objects of our confidence, unless they have an ability to_ act what they 
express. There can be no trust in God without an eye to his power. 

(2.) Sometimes the power of God is the sole object of trust. As when 
we have no promise to assure us of his will, we have nothing else to pitch 
upon but his ability ; and that not his absolute power, but his ordinate, in 
the way of his providence. We must not trust in it so as to expect he 
should please our humour with fresh miracles, but rest upon his power, and 
leave the manner to his will. Asa, when ready to conflict with the vast 
Ethiopian army, pleaded nothing else but this power of God, 2 Chron. 
xiv. 11. And the three children, who had no particular promise of deliver- 
ance (that we read of), stuck to God's ability to preserve them against the 
king's threatening, and owned it in the face of the king, yet with some kind 
of inward intimations in their own spirits that he would also deliver them : 
Dan. iii. 17, ' Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burn- 
ing fiery furnace.' And accordingly the fire burned the cords that tied them, 
without singeing anything else about them. But when this power had been 
exercised upon hke occasions, it is a precedent he hath given us to rest 
upon. Precedents in law are good pleas, and strong encouragements to the 
client to expect success in his suit. ' Our fathers trusted in thee, and thou 
didst deliver them,' saith David, Ps. xxii. 4. And Jehoshaphat in a case 
of distress, 2 Chron. xx. 7, ' Art not thou our God, that didst drive out the 
inhabitants of this land before thy people Israel ?' When we have not any 
statute law and promise to plead, we may plead his power, together with 
the former precedents and acts of it. The centurion had nothing else to 
act his faith upon, but the power of Christ, and some evidences of it in the 
miracles reported of him ; but he is silent in the latter, and casts himself 
only upon the former, acknowledging that Christ had the same command 
over diseases as himself had over his soldiers. Mat. viii. 10. And our 
Saviour, when he receives the petition of the blind men, requires no more of 
them in order to a cure, but a belief of his ability to perform it : Mat. ix. 28, 
'Believe you that I am able to do this ?' His will is not known but by 
revelation, but his power is apprehended by reason, as essentially and 
eternally linked with the notion of a God. God also is jealous of the 
honour of this attribute, and since it is so much virtually discretlited, he is 
pleased when any do cordially own it, and entirely resign themselves to the 
assistance of it. 

Well then, in all duties where faith is particularly to be acted, forget not 
this as the main prop of it. Do you pray for a flourishing and triumphing 
grace ? Consider him as * able to make all grace to abound in you,' 2 Cor. 
ix. 8. Do you want comfort and reviving under your contritions and godly 

186 charnock's works. [Job XXVI. 14. 

sorrow ? Consider him as he declares himself, ' the high and lofty one,' 
Isa. Ivii. 15. Are you under pressing distresses ? Take Eliphaz his 
advice to Job, when he tells him what he himself would do if he were in 
his case: Job v. 8, * I would seek unto God, and unto God would I commit 
my cause.' But observe under what consideration ; ver. 9, as to one that 
' doth great things and unsearchable, marvellous things without number.' 
When you beg of him the melting of your rocky hearts, the dashing in 
pieces your strong corruptions, the drawing his beautiful image in your 
soul, the quickening your dead hearts, and reviving your drooping spirits, 
and supplying your spiritual wants, consider him as one ' able to do 
abundantly,' not only ' above what you can ask,' but ' above what you can 
think,' Eph. iii. 20. Faith will be spiritless, and prayer will be lifeless, if 
power be not eyed by us in those things which cannot be done with an arm 
of omnipotence. 

(3.) This doctrine teaches us humility and submission. The vast dis- 
proportion between the mightiness of God, and the meanness of a creature, 
inculcates the lesson of humiUty in his presence. How becoming is humility 

* under a mighty hand' ! 1 Peter v. 6. What is an infant in a giant's hand, 
or a lamb in a lion's paw ? Submission to irresistible power is the best 
policy, and the best security; this gratifies and draws out goodness, whereas 
murmuring and resistance exasperates and sharpens power. We sanctify 
his name, and glorify his strength by falling down before it ; it is an acknow- 
ledgment of his invisible strength, and our inability to match it. How low 
should we therefore lie before him, against whose power our pride and mur- 
muring can do no good, who can outwrestle us in our contests, and alway 

* overcome when he judges ' ! Rom iii. 4. 

(4.) This doctrine teacheth us not to fear the pride and force of man. 
How unreasonable is it to fear a limited above an unbounded power ! How 
unbecoming is the fear of man in him, who hath an interest in a strength 
able to curb the strongest devils ! Who would tremble at the threats of a 
dwarf, that hath a mighty and watchful giant for his guard ? If God doth 
but arise, ' his enemies are scattered,' Ps. Ixviii. 1, the least motion makes 
them fly before him ; it is no difficult thing for him, that made them by a 
word, to unmake their designs, and shiver them in pieces by the breath of 
his mouth. ' He brings princes to nothing, and makes the judges of the 
earth vanity;' they wither when he blows upon them, and ' their stock shall 
not take root in the earth.' He can command a ' whirlwind to take them 
away as stubble,' Isa. xl. 23, 24 ; yea, with the shaking of his hand 
he makes servants to become rulers of those that were their masters, 
Zech. ii. 9. Whole nations are no more in his hands than a morning cloud, 
or the dew upon the ground, or the chaff before the wind, or the smoke 
against the motion of the air, which though it appear out of a chimney like 
a black invincible cloud, is quickly dispersed, and becomes invisible, Hosea 
xiii. 3. How inconsiderable are the most mighty to this strength, which 
can puff away a whole world of proud grasshoppers, and a whole sky of daring 
clouds ! He that by his word masters the rage of the sea, can overrule the 
pride and power of men. Where is the fury of the oppressor ? It cannot 
overleap the bounds he hath set it, nor march an inch beyond the point he 
hath prescribed it. Fear not the confederacies of man, but * sanctify the 
Lord of hosts, let him be your fear, and let him be your dread,' Isa. viii. 13. 
To fear men is to dishonour the name of God, and regard him as a feeble 
Lord, and not as the Lord of hosts, who is mighty in strength, so that they 
that harden themselves against him shall not prosper. 

(5.) Therefore this doctrine teacheth us the fear of God. The prophet 

Job XXVI. 14.] god's power. 187 

Jeremiah counts it as an impossible thing for men to be destitute of the fear 
of God, when they seriously consider his name to be great and mighty. 
Jer. X. 6, 7, ' Thou art great, and thy name is great in might. Who would 
not fear thee, thou King of nations ?' Shall we not tremble at his pre- 
sence, who hath ' placed the sand for the bound of the sea by a perpetual 
decree,' that though the waves thereof toss themselves, yet they ' cannot 
prevail,' Jer. v. 22. He can arm the weakest creature for our destruction, 
and disarm the strongest creatures which appear for our preservation. He 
can command a hair, a crumb, a kernel to go awry, and strangle us ; he 
can make the heavens brass over our head, stop close the bottles of the 
clouds, and make the fruit of the fields droop, when there is a small distance 
to the harvest; he can arm men's wit, wealth, hands against themselves ; he 
can turn our sweet morsels into bitter, and our own consciences into devour- 
ing lions ; he can root up cities by moles, and conquer the proudest by lice 
and worms. The omnipotence of God is not only the object of a believer's 
trust, but a believer's fear. It is from the consideration of this power only 
that our Saviour presses his disciples, whom he entitles his friends, to fear 
God ; which lesson he presses by a double repetition, and with a kind of 
asseveration, without rendering any other reason than this of the ability of 
God to cast into hell, Luke xii. 5. We are to fear him because he can, but 
bless his goodness because he will not. In regard of his omnipotence, he 
is to be reverenced, not only by mortal men, but by the blessed angels, who 
are past the fear of any danger by his power, being confirmed in a happy 
state by his unalterable grace. When they adore him for his holiness, they 
reverence him for his power with covered faces. The title of the Lord of 
hosts is joined in their reverential praise with that of his holiness : Isa. 
vi. 3, ' Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts.' How should we adore that 
power which can preserve us, when devils and men conspire to destroy us ! 
How should we stand in awe of that power which can destroy us, though 
angels and men should combine to preserve us ! The parts of his ways 
which are discovered are suflicient motives to an humble and reverential 
adoration. But who can fear and adore him according to the vastness of 
his power, and his excellent greatness, since * the thunder of his power who 
can understand ! ' 


Who is like vnto thee, Lord, among the gods ? who is like thee, glorious in 
holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders. — Exod. XV. 11. 

This verse is one of the loftiest descriptions of the majesty and excellency 
of God in the whole Scripture.* It is a part of Moses's 'Ect/k/x/ov, or 
triumphant song, after a great, and real, and a typical victory, in the womb 
of which all the deliverances of the church were couched. It is the first 
song upon holy record, and it consists of gratulatory and prophetic matter. 
It casts a look backward to what God did for them in their deliverance from 
Egypt ; and a look forward, to what God shall do for the church in future 
ages. That deliverance was but a rough draught of something more excel- 
lent to be wrought towards the closing up of the world ; when his plagues 
shall be poured out upon the antichristian powers, which should revive the 
same song of Moses in the church, as fitted so many ages before for such a 
scene of affairs. Rev. xv. 2, 3. It is observed therefore, that many words 
in this song are put in the future tense, noting a time to come ; and the 
very first word, ver. 1, ' Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this 
song ;' "l^t^'' shall sing ; implying, that it was composed and calculated for 
the celebrating some greater action of God's, which was to be wrought in 
the world. Upon this account some of the Jewish rabbins, from the con- 
sideration of this remark, asserted the doctrine of the resurrection to be 
meant in this place ;f that Moses and those Israelites should rise again to 
sing the same song, for some greater miracles God should work, and greater 
triumphs he should bring forth, exceeding those wonders at their deliverance 
from Egypt. 

It consists of,J 1. A preface ; ver. 1, * I will sing unto the Lord.' 
2. An historical narration of matter of fact ; ver. 8, 4, ' Pharaoh's 
chariots and his host hath he cast into the Red sea,' which he solely 
ascribes to God ; ver. 6, ' Thy right hand, Lord, is become glorious in 
power : thy right hand, Lord, hath dashed in pieces the enemy ;' which 
he doth prophetically, as respecting something to be done in after times ; 
or farther, for the completing of that deliverance ; or as others think, 
respecting their entering into Canaan, for the words in these two verses are 
put in the future tense. The manner of the deliverance is described, ver. 8, 
' The floods stood upright as an heap, and the depths were congealed in the 

* Trap, in loc. t Mauass. ben. Israel, de Eesur. lib. i. cap. i. p. 7. 

{ Pareus in Exod. xv. 

ExoD. XV. 11.] god's holiness. 189 

heart of the sea.' In the 9th verse he magnifies the victory from the vain- 
glory and security of the enemy : ' The enemy said, I will pursue, I will 
overtake, I will divide the spoil,' &c. And ver. 16, 17, he prophetically 
describes the fruit of this victory in the influence it shall have upon those 
nations by whose confines they were to travel to the promised land : ' Fear 
and dread shall fall upon them : by the greatness of thy arm they shall be 
as still as a stone ; till thy people pass over, which thou hast purchased.' 
The phrase of this and the 17th and 18th verses, seems to be more ma»- 
nificent than to design only the bringing the Israelites to the earthly Canaan ; 
but seems to respect the gathering his redeemed ones together, to place 
them in the spiritual sanctuary which he had established, wherein the Lord 
should reign for ever and ever, without any enemies to disturb his royalty ; 
' The Lord shall reign for ever and ever,' ver. 18. The prophet, in the 
midst of his historical narrative, seems to be in an ecstasy, and breaks out 
in a stately exaltation of God in the text. 

' Who is like unto thee, Lord, among the gods ? ' &c. Inten-ogations 
are in Scripture the strongest afiirmations or negations. It is here a strong 
affirmation of the incomparableness of God, and a strong denial of the 
worthiness of all creatures to be partners with him in the degrees of his 
excellency. It is a preference of God before all creatures in holiness, to 
which the purity of creatures is but a shadow ; in desert of reverence and 
veneration, he being * fearful in praises.' The angels cover their faces when 
they adore him in his particular perfections. 

' Amongst the gods.' Among the idols of the nations, say some ; others 
say,* it is not to be found that the heathen idols are ever dignified with the 
title of strong or mighty, as the word translated gods doth import, and 
therefore understand it of the angels, or other potentates of the world ; or 
rather inclusively, of all that are noted for and can lay claim to the title of 
strength and might upon the earth or in heaven. God is so great and 
majestic, that no creature can share with him in his praise. 

' Fearful in praises.' Various are the interpretations of this passage. To 
be reverenced in praises ; his praise ought to be celebrated with a religious 
fear. Fear is the product of his mercy as well as his justice : ' He hath 
forgiveness that he may be feared,' Ps. cxxx. 4. Or, fearful in praises ; 
whom none can praise without amazement at the considerations of his works. 
None can truly praise him without being aff'ected with astonishment at his 
greatness.! Or, fearful in praises ; % whom no mortal can sufficiently praise, 
since he is above all praise. Whatsoever a human tongue can speak, or an 
angelical understanding think of the excellency of his nature and the great- 
ness of his works, falls short of the vastness of the divine perfection. A 
creature's praises of God are as much below the transcendent eminency of 
God, as the meanness of a creature's being is below the eternal fulness of 
the Creator. Or rather, fearful, or terrible in praises ; that is, in the matter 
of thy praise ; and the learned Rivet concurs with me hi this sense. The 
works of God celebrated in this song were terrible. It was the miraculous 
overthrow of the strength and flower of a mighty nation. His judgments 
were severe, as well as his mercy was seasonable. The word ^*^^J signifies 
glorious and illustrious, as well as terrible and fearful. No man can hear 
the praise of thy name, for those great judicial acts, without some astonish- 
ment at thy justice, the stream, and thy holiness the spring of those mighty 
works. This seems to be the sense of the following words, ' doing wonders.' 
Fearful in the matter of thy praise, they being wonders which thou hast 
done among us and for us. 

♦ Rivet. t Calvin. X Munster. 

190 charnock's works. [Exod. XV. 11. 

' Doing wonders.' Congealing the waters by a wind, to make them stand 
like walls for the rescue of the Israelites, and melting them by a wind, for 
the overthrow of the Egyptians, are prodigies that challenge the greatest 
adorations of that mercy which delivered the one, and that justice which 
punished the other ; and of the arm of that power whereby he effected both 
his gracious and his righteous purposes. 

Doct. Whence observe, that the judgments of God upon his enemies, as 
well as his mercies to his people, are matter of praise. The perfections of 
God appear in both. Justice and mercy are so linked together in his acts 
of providence, that the one cannot be forgotten whiles the other is acknow- 
ledged. He is never so terrible as in the ' assemblies of his saints,' and the 
deliverance of them, Ps. Ixxxix. 7. As the creation was erected by him for 
his glory, so all the acts of his government are designed for the same end. 
And his creatures deny him his due, if they acknowledge not his excellency, 
in whatsoever dreadful as well as pleasing garbs it appears in the world. 
His terror as well as his righteousness appears when he is a ' God of salva- 
tion,' Ps. Ixv. 5. • By terrible things in righteousness wilt thou answer us, 
God of our salvation.' 

But the expression I pitch upon in the text to handle is, glorious in holi- 
ness. He is magnified or honourable in holiness ; so the word Tli<^ is 
translated, Isa. xlii. 21, * He will magnify the law and make it honourable.' 
Thy holiness hath shone forth admirably in this last exploit against the 
enemies and oppressors of thy people. The holiness of God is his glory, 
as his grace is his riches ; holiness is his crown, and his mercy is his 
treasure. This is the blessedness and nobleness of his nature ; it renders 
him glorious in himself, and glorious to his creatures, that understand any- 
thing of this lovely perfection. 

Doct. Holiness is a glorious perfection belonging to the nature of God, 
hence he is in Scripture styled often the Holy One, the Holy One of Jacob, 
the Holy One of Israel, and oftener entitled] Holy than Almighty, and set 
forth by this part of his dignity more than by any other. This is more 
affixed as an epithet to his name than any other ; you never find it expressed, 
his migliti/ name or his uise name, but his great name, and most of all his holg 
name. This is his greatest title of honour ; in this doth the majesty and 
venerableness of his name appear. When the sinfulness of Sennacherib is 
aggravated, the Holy Ghost takes the rise from this attribute, 2 Kings xix. 
22, ' Thou has lift up thine eyes on high, even against the Holy One of 
Israel ;' not against the wise, mighty, &c., but against the Holy One of Israel, 
as that wherein the majesty of God was most illustrious. It is upon this 
account he is called light, as impurity is called darkness ; both in this sense 
are opposed to one another ; he is a pure and unmixed light, free from all 
blemish in his essence, nature, and operations. 

1. Heathens have owned it. Proclus calls him the undefiled governor, 
"A-)(^^avTog riyiiJ^uiv, of the world. The poetical transformations of their 
false gods, and the extravagancies committed by them, was (in the account of 
the wisest of them) an unholy thing to report and hear.* And somef vindi- 
cate Epicurus from the atheism wherewith he was commonly charged, that 
he did not deny the being of God, but those adulterous and contentious deities 
the people worshipped, which were practices unworthy and unbecoming the 
nature of God ; hence they asserted that virtue was an imitation of God, 
and a virtuous man bore a resemblance to God. If virtue were a copy from 
God, a greater holiness must be owned in the original ; and when some of them 

* 'Ovh a%o-jziv o(Sm. Ammon in Plut. de 'E/ apud Delphos, p, 393' 
t Gassend. torn. i. Phys. sec. i. lib. iv. cap. ii. p. 289. 

ExoD. XV. 11.] god's holiness. 191 

were at a loss how to free God from being the author of sin in the world, they 
ascribe the birth of sin to matter, and run into an absurd opinion, fancying 
it to be uncreated, that thereby they might exempt God from all mixture of 
evil, so sacred with them was the conception of God as a holy God. 

2. The absurdest heretics have owned it.* The Manichees and Marcion- 
ites, that thought evil came by necessity, yet would salve God's being the 
author of it, by asserting two distinct eternal principles, one the original of 
evil, as God was the fountain of good ; so rooted was the notion of this 
divine purity, that none would ever slander goodness itself with that which 
was so disparaging to it. 

3. The nature of God cannot rationally be conceived without it. Though 
the power of God be the first rational conclusion drawn from the sight of 
his works, wisdom the next from the order and connection of his works, 
purity must result from the beauty of his works. That God cannot be 
deformed by evil, who hath made everything so beautiful in its time. The 
notion of a God cannot be entertained without separating from him what- 
soever is impure and bespotting, both in his essence and actions. Though 
we conceive him infinite in majesty, infinite in essence, eternal in duration, 
mighty in power, and wise and immutable in his counsels, merciful in his 
proceedings with men, and whatsoever other perfections may dignify so 
sovereign a being ; yet if we conceive him destitute of this excellent per- 
fection, and imagine him possessed with the least contagion of evil, we make 
him but an infinite monster, and sully all those perfections we ascribed to 
him before ; we rather own him a devil than a god. It is a contradiction to 
be God and to be darkness, or to have one mote of darkness mixed with 
his light. It is a less injury to him to deny his being, than to deny the 
purity of it ; the one makes him no God, the other a deformed, unlovel}', 
and a detestable God. 

Plutarch said not amiss, that he should count himself less injured by that 
man, that should deny that there was such a man as Plutarch, than by him 
that should affirm that there was such a one indeed, but he was a debauched 
fellow, a loose and vicious person. It is a less wrong to discard any 
acknowledgments of his being, and to count him nothing, than to believe 
him to exist, but imagine a base and unholy deity ; he that saith, God is 
not holy, speaks much worse than he that saith, There is no God at all. 

Let these two things be considered : 

1. If any, this attribute hath an excellency above his other perfections. 
There are some attributes of God we prefer, because of our interest in them, and 
the relation they bear to us ; as we^esteem his goodness before his power, 
and his mercy, whereby he relieves us, before his justice, whereby he 
punisheth us. As there are some we more delight in because of the good- 
ness we receive by them, so there are some that God delights to honour 
because of their excellency. 

(1.) None is sounded out so loftily, with such solemnity, and so frequently 
by angels that stand before his throne, as this. Where do you find any other 
attribute trebled in the praises of it, as this ? Isa. vi. 3, * Holy, holy, 
holy is the Lord of hosts ; the whole earth is full of his glory ;' and Rev. iv. 
8, ' The four beasts rest not day and night saying. Holy, holy, holy. Lord 
God Almighty,' &c. His power of sovereignty as Lord of hosts, is but 
once mentioned, but with a ternal repetition of his holiness. Do you hear 
in any angelical song any other perfection of the divine nature thrice re- 
peated ? Where do we read of the crying out Eternal, eternal, eternal ; 
or Faithful, faithful, faithful. Lord God of hosts ! Whatsoever other attri- 
* Petav. Theol. Dogmat torn. i. lib. vit cap. v. p. 415. 

192 charnock's works. [Exod. XV. 11. 

bute is left out, this God would have to fill the mouths of angels and blessed 
spirits for ever in heaven. 

(2.) He singles it out to swear by : Ps. Ixxxix. 35, * Once have I sworn 
by my holiness, that I will not lie unto David ;' and Amos iv. 2, ' The Lord 
will swear by his holiness.' He twice swears by his holiness, once by his 
power, Isa. Ixii. 8 ; once by all, when he swears by his name, Jer. xliv,^26. 
He lays here his holiness to pledge for the assurance of his promise, as the 
attribute most dear to him, most valued by him, as though no other could 
give an assurance parallel to it, in this concern of an everlasting redemption, 
which is there spoken of. He that swears, swears by a greater than himself. 
God having no greater than himself, swears by himself; and swearing here 
by his holiness seems to equal that single to all his other attributes, as if he 
were more concerned in the honour of it than of all the rest. It is as if 
he should have said, Since I have not a more excellent perfection to swear 
by than that of my holiness, I lay this to pawn for your security, and bind 
myself by that which I will never part with, were it possible for me to be 
stripped of all the rest. It is a tacit imprecation of himself, If I lie 
unto David, let me never be counted holy, or thought righteous enough 
to be trusted by angels or men. This attribute he makes most of. 

(3.) It is his gloiy and beauty. Holiness is the honour of the creature, — 
sanctification and honour are linked together, 1 Thes. iv. 4, — much more is it 
the honour of God ; it is the image of God in the creature, Eph. iv. 24. 
When we take the picture of a man, we draw the most beautiful part, the 
face, which is a member of the greatest excellency ; when God would be drawn 
to the life, as much as can be, in the spirit of his creatures, he is drawn in 
this attribute, as being the most beautiful perfection of God, and most valu- 
able with him. Power is his hand and arm, omniscience his eye, mercy 
his bowels, eternity his duration, his holiness is his beauty : 2 Chron. 
XX. 21, * should praise the beauty of his holiness.' In Ps. xxvii. 4, David 
desires to ' behold the beauty of the Lord, and inquire in his holy temple ;' 
that is, the holiness of God manifested in his hatred of sin in the daily 
sacrifices. Holiness was the beauty of the temple; Isa. xlvi. 11, 'Holy 
and beautiful house' are joined together, much more the beauty of God that 
dwelt in the sanctuary. 

This renders him lovely to all his innocent creatures, though formidable 
to the guilty ones. A heathen philosopher could call it the beauty of the 
divine essence, and say, that God was not so happy by an eternity of life, 
as by an excellency of virtue.* And the angels' song intimate it to be his glory, 
Isa. vi. 3, ' The whole earth is full of thy glory ;' that is, of his holiness in 
his laws and in his judgments against sin, that being the attribute applauded 
by them before. 

(4.) It is his very life ; so it is called, Eph. iv. 18, * Alienated from the 
life of God ;' that is, from the holiness of God, speaking of the opposite to 
it, the uncleanness and profaneness of the Gentiles. We are only alienated 
from that which we are bound to imitate ; but this is the perfection alway 
set out as the pattern of our actions, ' Be you holy, as I am holy;' no other 
is proposed as our copy ; alienated from that purity of God, which is as 
much as his life, without which he could not live. If he were stripped of 
this, he would be a dead God, more than by the want of any other perfection. 
His swearing by it intimates as much ; he swears often by his own life : 
• As I live, saith the Lord ;' so he swears by his holiness as if it were his life, 
and more his life than any other. Let me not live, or let me not be holy, 
are all one in his oath. His deity could not outlive the life of his purity. 
* Plutarch, Eugubin de Perenni. Phil. lib. vi. cap, vi. 

ExoD. XV. 11.] god's holiness. 193 

2. As it seems to challenge an excellency above all his other perfections, 
so it is the glory of all the rest ; as it is the glory of the Godhead, so it is 
the glory of every perfection in the Godhead ; as his power is the strength 
of them, so his holiness is the beauty of them ; as all would be weak with- 
out almightiness to back them, so all would be uncomely without holiness to 
adorn them. Should this be sullied, all the rest would lose their honour and 
their comfortable efficacy ; as at the same instant that the sun should lose 
its light, it would lose its heat, its strength, its generative and quickening 
virtue. As sincerity is the lustre of every grace in a Christian, so is purity 
the splendour of every attribute in the Godhead. His justice is a holy 
justice, his wisdom a holy wisdom, his arm of power a ' holy arm,' Ps. 
xcviii. 1, his truth or promise a 'holy promise,' Ps. cv. 42. Hohj and true 
go hand in hand, Eev. vi. 10. 'His name,' which signifies all his attri- 
butes in conjunction, ' is holy,' Ps. ciii. 1. Yea, he is 'righteous in all his 
ways, and holy in all his works,' Ps. cxlv. 17. It is the rule of all his acts, 
the source of all his punishments. If every attribute of the Deity were a 
distinct member, purity would be the form, the soul, the spirit to animate 
them. Without it, his patience would be an indulgence to sin, his mercy a 
fondness, his wrath a madness, his power a tyranny, his wisdom an un- 
worthy subtilty. It is this gives a decorum to all. His mercy is not exer- 
cised without it, since he pardons none but those that have an interest by 
union in the obedience of a mediator, which was so delightful to his infinite 
purity. His justice, which guilty man is apt to tax with cruelty and violence 
in the exercise of it, is not acted out of the compass of this rule. In acts 
of man's vindictive justice, there is something of impurity, perturbation, 
passion, some mixture of cruelty; but none of these fall upon God in the 
severest acts of wrath. When God appears to Ezekiel in the resemblance 
of fire, to signify his anger against the house of Judah for their idolatry, 
' from his loins downwards there was the appearance of fire ; but from the 
loins upward the appearance of brightness, as the colour of amber,' Ezek. 
viii. 2. His heart is clear in his most terrible acts of vengeance; it is a 
pure flame wherewith he scorcheth and burns his enemies. He is holy in 
the most fiery appearance. 

This attribute, therefore, is never so much applauded as when his sword 
hath been drawn, and he hath manifested the greatest fierceness against his 
enemies. The magnificent and triumphant expression of it in the text fol- 
lows just upon God's miraculous defeat and ruin of the Egyptian army : 
* The sea covered them ; they sank as lead in the mighty waters.' Then it 
follows, ' Who is like unto thee, Lord, glorious in holiness ? ' And when 
it was so celebrated by the seraphims, Isa. vi. 3, it was when 'the posts 
moved, and the house was filled with smoke,' ver. 4, which are signs of 
anger, Ps. xviii. 7, 8. And when he was about to send Isaiah upon a mes- 
sage of spiritual and temporal judgments, that he would ' make the heart of 
that people fat, and their ears heavy, and their eyes shut, waste their cities 
without inhabitant, and their houses without man, and make the land deso- 
late,' ver. 9-12 ; and the angels, which here applaud him for his holiness, 
are the executioners of his justice, and here called seraphims, from burning 
or fiery spirits, as being the ministers of his wrath. His justice is part of 
his holiness, whereby he doth reduce into order those things that are out of 
order. When he is consuming men by his fury, he doth not diminish, but 
manifest purity : Zeph. iii. 5, ' The just Lord is in the midst of her, he will 
do no iniquity.' Every action of his is free from all tincture of evil. It is 
also celebrated with praise by the four beasts about the throne, when he 
appears in a covenant garb, with a rainbow about his throne, and yet with 


194 charnock's works. [Exod. XV. 11. 

thunderings and lightnings shot out against his enemies, Rev. iv. 8 com- 
pared with ver. 3, 5, to shew that all his acts of mercy, as well as justice,, 
are clear from any stain. 

This is the crown of all his attributes, the life of all his decrees, the 
brightness of all his actions. Nothing is decreed by him, nothing is acted 
by him, but what is worthy of the dignity, and becoming the honour, of thi^ 

For the better understanding this attribute, observe, 

I. The nature of this holiness. 

II. The demonstration of it. 

III. The purity of his nature in all his acts about sin. 

IV. The use of all to ourselves. 

I. First, The nature of divine holiness. 

In general. 

The holiness of God negatively is a perfect and polluted freedom from all 
evil. As we call gold pure that is not imbased by any dross, and that gar- 
ment clean that is free from any spot, so the nature of God is estranged 
from all shadow of evil, all imaginable contagion. 

Positively, it is the rectitude or integrity of the divine nature, or that 
conformity of it in affection and action to the divine will as to his eternal 
law, whereby he works with a becomingness to his own excellency, and 
whereby he hath a delight and complacency in everything agreeable to his 
will, and an abhorrency of everything contrary thereunto. 

As there is no darkness in his understanding, so there is no spot in his 
will. As his mind is possessed with all truth, so there is no deviation in 
his will from it. He loves all truth and goodness, he hates all falsity and 
evil. In regard of his righteousness, he loves righteousness : Ps. xi. 7, 

* The righteous Lord loveth righteousness ; ' and ' hath no pleasure in wicked- 
ness,' Ps. v. 4. He values purity in his creatures, and detests all impurity, 
whether inward or outward. We may indeed distinguish the holiness of 
God from his righteousness in our conceptions.* Holiness is a perfection 
absolutely considered in the nature of God; righteousness, a perfection as 
referred to others, in his actions towards them and upon them. 

In particular. 

This property of the divine nature is, 

1. First, An essential and necessary perfection. He is essentially and 
necessarily holy. It is the essential glory of his nature. His holiness is as 
necessary as his being, as necessary as his omniscience. As he cannot but 
know what is right, so he cannot but do what is just. His understanding 
is not as created understandings, capable of ignorance as well as knowledge ; 
80 his will is not as created wills, capable of unrighteousness as well as 
righteousness. There can be no contradiction or contrariety in the divine 
nature, to know what is right and to do what is wrong. If so, there would 
be a diminution of his blessedness ; he would not be a God alway blessed, 

* blessed for ever,' as he is, Rom. ix. 5. He is as necessarily holy as he is 
necessarily God ; as necessarily without sin as without change. As he was 
God from eternity, so he was holy from eternity. He was gracious, merci- 
ful, just in his own nature, and also holy, though no creature had been 
framed by him to exercise his grace, mercy, justice, or holiness upon.f If 
God had not created a world, he had in his own nature been almighty and 
able to create a world. If there never had been anything but himself, yet 
he had been omniscient, knowing everything that was within the verge and 

* Martin, de Deo, p. 86. t Turretin, de Satisfact., p. 28. 

ExoD. XY. 11.] god's holiness. 195 

compass of his infinite power ; so lie was pure in his own nature, though he 
never had brought forth any rational creature whereby to manifest this 
purity. These perfections are so necessary, that the nature of God could 
not subsist without them. And the acts of those ad intra, or within himself, 
are necessary ; for being omniscient in nature, there must be an act of know- 
ledge of himself and his own nature. Being infinitely holy, an act of holi- 
ness in infinitely loving himself must necessarily flow from this perfection.* 
As the divine will cannot but be perfect, so it cannot be wanting to render 
the highest love to itself, to its goodness, to the divine nature, which is due 
to him. Indeed, the acts of those ad extra are not necessary but upon a 
condition. To love righteousness without himself, or to detest sin, or inflict 
punishment for the committing of it, could not have been had there been no 
righteous creature for him to love, no sinning creature for him to loathe and 
to exercise his justice upon as the object of punishment. 

Some attributes require a condition to make the acts of them necessary. 
As it is at God's liberty whether he will create a rational creature or no ; 
but when he decrees to make either angel or man, it is necessary, from the 
perfection of his nature, to make them righteous. It is at God's liberty 
whether he will speak to man or no; but if he doth, it is impossible for him 
to speak that which is false, because of his infinite perfection of veracity. 
It is at his liberty whether he will permit a creature to sin ; but if he sees 
good to sufier it, it is impossible but that he should detest that creature that 
goes cross to his righteous nature. His holiness is not solely an act of his 
will, for then he might be unholy as well as holy, he might love iniquity and 
hate righteousness, he might then command that which is good, and after- 
wards command that which is bad and unworthy ; for what is only an act of 
his will, and not belonging to his nature, is indifi"erent to him. As the 
positive law he gave to Adam of not eating the forbidden fruit was a pure 
act of his will'; he might have given him liberty to eat of it, if he had 
pleased, as well as prohibited him. But what is moral and good in its own 
nature is necessarily willed by God, and cannot be changed by him, because 
of the transcendent eminency of his nature and righteousness of his will ; as 
it is impossible for God to command his creature to hate him, or to dispense 
with a creature for not loving him ; for this would be to command a thing 
intrinsecally evil, the highest ingratitude, the very spirit of all wickedness, 
which consists in the hating God. Yet though God be thus necessarily 
holy, he is not so by a bare and simple necessity, as the sun shines, or the 
fire burns ; but by a free necessity, not compelled thereunto, but inclined from 
the fulness of the perfection of his own nature and will, so as by no means 
he can be unholy, because he will not be unholy ; it is against his nature 
to be so. 

2. God is only absolutely holy : ' There is none holy as the Lord,' 1 Sam. 
ii. 2. It is the peculiar glory of his nature. As there is none good but 
God, so none holy but God. No creature can be essentially holy, because 
mutable ; holiness is the substance of God, but a quality and accident in a 
creature. God is infinitely holy, creatures finitely holy. He is holy from 
himself, creatures are holy by derivation from him. He is not only holy, 
but holiness ; holiness, in the highest degree, is his sole prerogative. As 
the highest heaven is called the heaven of heavens, because it embraceth in 
its circle all the heavens, and contains the magnitude of them, and hath a 
greater vastness above all that it encloseth, so is God the holy of holies, he 
contains the holiness of all creatures put together, and infinitely more. As 
all the wisdom, excellency, and power of the creatures, if compared with 
* Ochino, Predic, part iii. Bodic. 51, p. 847, 848. 

196 chaenock's works. [Exod. XV. 11. 

the wisdom, excellency, and power of God, is but folly, vileness, and weak- 
ness, so the highest created purity, if set in parallel with God, is but 
impurity and uncleanness : Rev. xv. 4, ' Thou only art holy.' It is like the 
light of a glow-worm to that of the sun, Job xv. 15 ; * The heavens are not 
pure in his sight, and his angels he charged with folly,' Job iv. 18. Though 
God hath crowned the angels with an unspotted sanctity, and placed them 
in a habitation of glory, yet as illustrious as they are, they have an un- 
worthiness in their own nature to appear before the throne of so holy a 
God. Their holiness grows dim and pale in his presence ; it is but a weak 
shadow of that divine purity, whose light is so glorious that it makes them 
cover their faces out of weakn-ess to behold it, and cover their feet out of 
shame in themselves. They are not pure in his sight, because though they 
love God (which is a principle of holiness) as much as they can, yet not so 
much as he deserves. They love him with the intensest degree according to 
their power, but not with the intensest degree according to his own amiable- 
ness ; for they cannot infinitely love God unless they were as infinite as 
God, and had an understanding of his perfections equal wuth himself, and 
as immense as his own knowledge. God having an intimate knowledge of 
himself, can only have an infinite love to himself, and consequently an 
infinite holiness without any defect ; because he loves himself according to 
the vastness of his own amiableness, which no finite being can. Therefore 
though the angels be exempt from corruption and soil, they cannot enter 
into comparison with the purity of God, without acknowledgment of a dim- 
ness in themselvess. ^ Besides, he charges them with folly, and puts no 
trust in them ; because they have the power of sinning, though not the act 
of sinning, they have a possible folly in their own nature to be charged with. 
Holiness is a quality separable from them, but it is inseparable fi-om God. 
Had they not at tirst a mutability in their nature, none of them could have 
sinned, there had been no devils ; but because some of them sinned, the 
rest might have sinned. And though the standing angels shall never be 
changed, yet they are still changeable in their own nature, and their stand- 
ing is due to grace, not to nature. And though they shall be for ever pre- 
served, yet they are not, nor ever can be, immutable by nature, for then 
they should stand upon the same bottom with God himself ; but they are 
supported by gi-ace against that changeableness of nature which is essential 
to a creature. The Creator ' only hath immortality,' that is, immutability, 
1 Tim. iii. 16. 

It is as certain a truth that no creature can be naturally immutable and 
impeccable, as that God cannot create anything actually polluted and imper- 
fect. It is as possible that the highest creature may sin, as it is possible 
that it may be annihilated ; it may become not holy, as it may become not 
a creature, but nothing. The holiness of a creature may be reduced into 
nothing as well as his substance, but the holiness of the Creator cannot be 
diminished, dimmed, or overshadowed : James i. 17, ' He is the Father of 
lights, with whom is no variableness or shadow of turning.' It is as im- 
possible his holiness should be blotted, as that his Deity should be extin- 
guished ; for whatsoever creature hath essentially such or such qualities, 
cannot be stripped of them without being turned out of its essence. As a 
man is essentially rational, and if he ceaseth to be rational, he ceaseth to be 
man ; the sun is essentially luminous ; if it should become dark in its own 
body, it would cease to be the sun. In regard of this absolute and only 
holiness of God, it is thrice repeated by the seraphims, Isa. vi. 3. The 
threefold repetition of a word notes the certainty or absoluteness of the 
thing, or the irreversibleness of the resolve ; as Ezek. xxi. 27, ' I will over- 

ExoD. XV. 11.] god's holiness. 197 

turn, overturn, overturn,' notes the certainty of the judgment ; also Rev. 
viii. 8, ' Woe, woe, woe,' three times repeated, signifies the same. The 
holiness of God is so absolutely peculiar to him, that it can no more be ex- 
pressed in creatures than his omnipotence, whereby they may be able to 
create a world; or his omniscience, whereby they may be capable of know- 
ing all things, and knowing God as he knows himself. 

3. God is so holy, that he cannot possibly approve of any evil done by 
another, but doth perfectly abhor it ; it would not else be a glorious holi- 
ness : Ps. V. 3, ' He hath no pleasure in wickedness.' He doth not only 
love that which is just, but abhor with a perfect hatred all things contrary 
to the rule of righteousness. Holiness can no more approve of sin than it 
can commit it. To be delighted with the evil in another's act, contracts a 
guilt as well as the commission of it, for approbation of a thing is a consent 
to it. Sometime the approbation of an evil in another is a more grievous 
crime than the act itself, as appears in Rom. i. 32, who ' knowing the judg- 
ment of God, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do it,' 
where the not only manifests it to be a greater guilt to take pleasure in 
them. Every sin is aggravated by the delight in it ; to take pleasure in 
the evil of another's action shews a more ardent affection and love to sin 
than the committer himself may have. This therefore can as little fall 
upon God as to do an evil act himself; yet as a man may be delighted with 
the consequences of another's sin, as it may occasion some public good, or 
private good to the guilty person, as sometimes it may be an occasion of 
his repentance, when the horridness of a fact stares him in the face, and 
occasions a self-reflection for that and other crimes, which is attended with 
an indignation against them, and sincere remorse for them, so God is pleased 
with those good things his goodness and wisdom bring forth upon the occa- 
sion of sin. But in regard of his holiness, he cannot approve of the evil, 
whence his infinite wisdom drew forth his own glory and his creatures' 
good. His pleasure is not in the sinful act of the creature, but in the act of 
his own goodness and skill, turning it to another end than what the creature 
aimed at. 

(1.) He abhors it necessarily. Holiness is the glory of the Deity, there- 
fore necessarily. The nature of God is so holy that he cannot but hate it : 
Hab. i. 13, ' Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look 
on iniquity.' He is more opposite to it than light to darkness, and there- 
fore it can expect no countenance from him. A love of holiness cannot be 
without a hatred of everything that is contrary to it. As God necessarily 
loves himself, so he must necessarily hate everything that is against him- 
self; and as he loves himself for his own excellency and holiness, he must 
necessarily detest whatsoever is repugnant to his holiness, because of the 
evil of it. Since he is infinitely good, he cannot but love goodness, as it is 
a resemblance to himself; and cannot but abhor unrighteousness, as being 
most distant from him, and contrary to him. If he have any esteem for his 
own perfections, he must needs have an implacable aversion to all that is so 
repugnant to him, that would, if it were possible, destroy him, and is a point 
directed not only against his glory, but against his life. If he did not hate 
it, he would hate himself; for since righteousness is his image, and sin would 
deface his image, if he did not love his image, and loathe what is against his 
image, he would loathe himself, he would be an enemy to his own nature. 
Nay, if it were possible for him to love it, it were possible for him not to be 
holy, it were possible then for him to deny himself, and will that he were no 
God, which is a palpable contradiction.* Yet this necessity in God of hating 
* Turretin. de Satisfact. p. 35, 36. 

198 cuajrnock's wokks. [Exod. XV. 11. 

sin is not a brutish necessity, such as is in mere animals, that avoid by a 
natural instinct, not of choice, what is prejudicial to them; but most free as 
well as necessary, arising from an infinite knowledge of his own nature, and 
of the evil nature of sin, and the contrariety of it to his own excellency, and 
the order of his works. 

(2.) Therefore intensely. Nothing do men act for more than their glory. 
As he doth infinitely, and therefore perfectly, know himself, so he infinitely, 
and therefore perfectly, knows what is contrary to himself ; and as according 
to the manner and measure of his knowledge of himself, is his love to him- 
self, as infinite as his knowledge, and therefore uuespressible and uncon- 
ceivable by us, so from the perfection of his knowledge of the evil of sin, 
which is infinitely above what any creature can have, doth arise a displeasure 
against it suitable to that knowledge. In creatures, the degrees of affection 
to, or aversion from, a thing, are suited to the strength of their apprehen- 
sions of the good or evil in them. God knows not only the workers of 
wickedness, but the wickedness of their works. Job xi. 11, for ' he knows 
vain men, he sees wickedness also.' The vehemency of this hatred is ex- 
pressed variously in Scripture ; he loathes it so, that he is impatient of be- 
holding it ; the very sight of it afiects him with detestation, Hab. i. 13 ; he 
hates the first spark of it in the imagination, Zeeh. viii. 17. With what variety 
of expressions doth he repeat his indignation at their polluted services : 
Amos V. 21, 22, ' I hate,' ' I detest,' ' I despise,' ' I will not smell,' ' I will 
not accept,' ' I will not regard ;' ' take away from me the noise of thy songs, 
I will not hear.' So Isa. i. 14, ' My soul hates, they are a trouble to me, 
I am weary to bear them.' It is the ' abominable thing that he hates,' Jer. 
xliv. 4 ; he is vexed and fretted at it, Isa. Ixiii. 10. Ezek. xvi. 43, he abhors 
it so, that his hatred redounds upon the person that commits it ; Ps. v. 5, 
he ' hates all workers of iniquity.' Sin is the only primary object of his 
displeasure. He is not displeased with the nature of man as man, for that 
was derived from him ; but with the nature of man as sinful, which is from 
the sinner himself. When a man hath but one object for the exercise of all 
his anger, it is stronger than when diverted to many objects. A mighty 
torrent, when diverted into many streams, is weaker than when it comes in 
a full body upon one place only. The infinite anger and hatred of God, 
which is as infinite as his love and mercy, has no other object against which 
he directs the mighty force of it, but only unrighteousness. He hates no 
person for all the penal evils upon him, though they were more by ten 
thousand times than Job was struck with, but only for his sin. Again, sin 
being only evil, and an unmixed evil, there is nothing in it that can abate 
the detestation of God, or balance his hatred of it ; there is not the least 
grain of goodness in it, to incline him to the least afiection to any part of 
it. This hatred cannot but be intense, for as the more any creature is 
sanctified, the more is he advanced in the abhorrence of that which is con- 
trary to holiness ; therefore God being the highest, most absolute and in- 
finite holiness, doth infinitely, and therefore intensely, hate unholiness ; 
being infinitely righteous, doth infinitely abhor unrighteousness ; being in- 
finitely true, doth infinitely abhor falsity, as it is the greatest and most 
deformed evil. As it is fi-om the righteousness of his nature that he hath 
a content and satisfaction in righteousness, — Ps. xi. 7, ' The righteous Lord 
loveth righteousness,' — so it is from the same righteousness of his nature 
that he detests whatsoever is morally evil. As his nature therefore is in- 
finite, so must his abhorrence be. 

(3.) Therefore universally, because necesssarily and intensely. He doth 
not hate it in one, and indulge it in another, but loathes it wherever he finds 

EXOD. XV. ll.J god's HOLINESS. '199 

it ; not one worker of iniquity is exempt from it : Ps. v. 5, * Thou hatest 
all workers of iniquity.' For it is not sin as in this or that person, or as 
great or little, but sin as sin, is the object of his hatred. And therefore 
let the person be never so great, and have particular characters of his image 
upon him, it secures him not from God's hatred of any evil action he shall 
commit. He is a jealous God, jealous of his glory, Exod. xx. 5 ; a metaphor 
taken from jealous husbands, who will not endure the least adultery in their 
wives, nor God the least defection of man from his law. Ever}- act of sin 
is a spiritual adultery, denying God to be the chief good, and giving that 
prerogative by that act to some vile thing. He loves it no more in his own 
people than he doth in his enemies ; he frees them not from his rod, the 
testimony of his loathing their crimes. Whosoever sows iniquity, shall reap 
affliction. It might be thought that he affected their dross, if he did not 
refine them, and loved their filth, if he did not cleanse them ; because of 
bis detestation of their sin, he will not spare them from the furnace, though 
because of love to their persons in Christ, he will exempt them from Tophet. 
How did the sword ever and anon drop down upon David's family after his 
unworthy dealing in Uriah's case, and cut off ever and anon some of the 
branches of it ! He doth sometimes punish it more severely in this life in 
his own people, than in others. Upon Jonah's disobedience a storm pursues 
him, and a whale devours him, while the profane world lived in their lusts 
without control. Moses, for one act of unbelief, is excluded from Canaan, 
when greater sinners attained that happiness. It is not a light punishment, 
but a ' vengeance, he takes on their inventions,' Ps. xcix. 8, to manifest that 
he hates sin as sin, and not because the worst persons commit it. Perhaps, 
had a profane man touched the ark, the hand of God had not so suddenly 
reached him ; but when Uzzah, a man zealous for him, as may be supposed 
by his care for the support of the tottering ark, would step out of his place, 
he strikes him down for his disobedient action, by the side of the ark, which 
he would indirectly (as not being a Levite) sustain, 2 Sam. vi. 7. Nor did 
our Saviour so sharply reprove the Pharisees, and turn so short from them 
as he did from Petei-, when he gave a carnal advice, and contrary to that 
n'herein was to be the greatest manifestation of God's holiness, viz., the 
death of Christ, Mat. xvi. 23. He calls him Satan, a name sharper than 
the title of the devil's children, wherewith he marked the Pharisees, and 
given (besides him) to none but Judas, who made a profession of love to 
him, and was outwardly ranked in the number of his disciples. A gardener 
hates a weed the more, for being in the bed with the most precious flowers. 
God's hatred is universally fixed against sin, and he hates it as much in 
those whose persons shall not fall under his eternal anger, as being secured 
in the arms of a Kedeemer, by whom the guilt is wiped off, and the filth 
shall be totally washed away. Though he hates their sin, and cannot but 
hate it, yet he loves their persons, as being united as members to the media- 
tor and mystical head. A man may love a gangrened member, because it 
is a member of his own body, or a member of a dear relation, but he loathes 
the gangi-ene in it, more than in those wherein he is not so much concerned. 

Though God's hatred of believers' persons is removed by faith in the 
satisfactory death of Jesus Christ, yet his antipathy against sin was not 
taken away by that blood ; nay, it was impossible it should. It was never 
designed, nor had it any capacity to alter the unchangeable nature of God, but 
to manifest the unspottedness of his will, and his eternal aversion to anything 
that was contrary to the purity of his being, and the righteousness of his laws. 

(4.) Perpetually. This must necessarily follow upon the others. He 
can no more cease to hate impurity, than he can cease to love holiness. If 

200 chaenock's works. [Exod. XV. 11. 

he should in the least instant approve of anything that is filthy, in that 
moment he would disapprove of his own nature and being ; there would be 
an interruption in his love of himself, which is as eternal as it is infinite. 
How can he love any sin, which is contrary to his nature, but for one 
moment, without hating his own nature, which is essentially contrary to 
sin ? Two contraries cannot be loved at the same time ; God must first 
begin to hate himself, before he can approve of any evil, which is directly 
opposite to himself. We indeed are changed with a temptation, sometimes 
bear an afiection to it, and sometimes testify an indignation against it ; but 
God is always the same, -without any shadow of change, and is ' angry with 
the wicked every day,' Ps. vii. 11, that is, uninterruptedly in the nature of 
his anger, though not in the effects of it. God indeed may be reconciled to 
the sinner, but never to the sin ; for then he should renounce himself, deny 
his own essence and his own divinity, if his inclinations to the love of good- 
ness, and his aversion from evil, could be changed ; if he suffered the con- 
tempt of the one, and encouraged the practice of the other. 

4. God is so holy, that he cannot but love holiness in others. Not that 
he owes anything to his creature, but from the unspeakable holiness of his 
nature, whence affections to all things that bear a resemblance of him do 
flow ; as light shoots out from the sun, or any glittering body. It is essen- 
tial to the infinite righteousness of his nature, to love righteousness wherever 
he beholds it : Ps. xi. 7, ' The righteous Lord loveth righteousness.' He 
cannot, because of his nature, but love that which bears some agreement 
with his nature, that which is the curious draught of his own wisdom and 
purity. Hs cannot but be delighted with a copy of himself ; he would not 
have a holy nature, if he did not love holiness in every nature ; his own 
nature would be denied by him, if he did not affect everything that had a 
stamp of his own nature upon it. There was indeed nothing without God, 
that could invite him to manifest such goodness to man, as he did in crea- 
tion. But after he had stamped that rational nature with a righteousness 
convenient for it, it was impossible but that he should ardently love that 
impression of himself, because he loves his own deity, and consequently all 
things which are any sparks and images of it. And were the devils capable 
of an act of righteousness, the holiness of his nature would incline him to 
love it, even in those dark and revolted spirits. 

5. God is so holy, that he cannot positively will or encourage sin in any. 
How can he give any encouragement to that which he cannot in the least 
approve of, or look upon without loathing, not only the crime but the 
criminal ? Light may sooner be the cause of darkness, than holiness itself 
be the cause of unholiness, absolutely contrary to it ; it is a' contradiction, 
that he that is the fountain of good should be the source of evil ; as if the 
same fountain should bubble up both sweet and bitter streams, salt and 
fresh, James iii. 11. Since whatsoever good is in man acknowledges God 
for its author, it follows that men are evil by their own fault. There is no 
need for men to be incited to that to which the corruption of their own 
nature doth so powerfully bend them. Water hath a forcible principle in 
its own nature to carry it downward ; it needs no force to hasten the motion : 
' God tempts no man, but every man is drawn away by his own lusts,' James 
i. 13, 14. All the preparations for glory are from God, Rom. ix. 23. But 
men are said to be ' fitted to destruction,' ver. 22, but God is not said to fit 
them ; they by their iniquities fit themselves for ruin, and he by his long- 
suffering keeps the destruction from them for a while. 

(1.) First, God cannot command any unrighteousness. As all virtue is 
Bummed up in a love to God, so all iniquity is summed up in an enmity to 

ExoD. XY. 11.] god's holiness. 201 

God. Every wicked work declares a man an enemy to God : Col. i. 21, 
' Enemies in your minds by wicked works.' If he could command his 
creature anything which bears an enmity in its nature to himself, he 
would then implicitly command the hatred of himself, and he would 
be in some measure a hater of himself. He that commands another to 
deprive him of his life, cannot be said to bear any love to his own life. God 
can never hate himself, and therefore cannot command anything that is 
hateful to him, and tends to a hating of him, and driving the creature 
further from him. In that very moment that God should command such a 
thing, he would cease to be good. What can be more absurd to imagine 
than that infinite goodness should enjoin a thing contrary to itself, and con- , 
trary to the essential duty of a creature, and order him to do anything that 
bespeaks an enmity to the nature of the Creator, or a deflowering and dis- 
paraging his works ? God cannot but love himself, and his own goodness, — 
he were not otherwise good, — and therefore cannot order the creature to do 
anything opposite to his goodness, or anything hurtful to the creature itself, 
as unrighteousness is. 

(2.) Nor can God secretly inspire any evil into us. It is as much 
against his nature to incline the heart to sin as it is to command it. As it 
is impossible but that he should love himself, and therefore impossible to 
enjoin anything that tends to a hatred of himself; by the same reason it is 
as impossible that he should infuse such a principle in the heart that might 
carry a man out to any act of enmity against him. To enjoin one thing, 
and incline to another, would be an argument of such insincerity, unfaithful- 
ness, contradiction to itself, that it cannot be conceived to fall within the 
compass of the divine nature, Deut. xxxii. 4, who is a ' God without 
iniquity,' because a God of truth and sincerity, 'just and right is he.' 
To bestow excellent faculties upon man in creation, and incline him by a 
sudden impulsion to things contrary to the true end of him, and induce 
an inevitable ruin upon that work which he had composed with so much 
wisdom and goodness, and pronounced good with so much delight and 
pleasure, is inconsistent with that love which God bears to the creature of 
his own framing ; to incline his will to that which would render him the 
object of his hatred, the fuel for his justice, and sink him into deplorable 
misery, it is most absurd and unchristianlike to imagine. 

(3.) Nor can God necessitate man to sin. Indeed, sin cannot be com- 
mitted by force ; there is no sin but is in some sort voluntary ; voluntary 
in root, or voluntary in the branch ; voluntary by an immediate act of the 
will, or voluntary by a general or natural inclination of the will. That is 
not a crime to which a man is violenced, without any concurrence of the 
faculties of the soul to that act ; it is indeed not an act, but a passion ; a man 
that is forced is not an agent, but a patient under the force. But what 
necessity can there be upon man from God, since he hath implanted such a 
principle in him, that he cannot desire anything but what is good, either 
really or apparently ? And if a man mistakes the object, it is his own fault ; 
for God hath endowed him with reason to discern, and liberty of will to 
choose upon that judgment. 

And though it is to be acknowledged that God hath an absolute sovereign 
dominion over his creature, without any limitation, and may do what he 
pleases, and dispose of it according to his own will, as a potter doth with 
his vessel, Rom. ix. 21, according as the church speaks, Isa. Ixiv. 8, ' We 
are the clay, and thou our potter, and we all are the work of thy hand,' 
yet he cannot pollute any undefiled creature by virtue of that sovereign 
power, which he hath to do what he will with it, because such an act would 

202 charnock's works. [Exod. XV. 11. 

be contrary to the foundation and right of his dominion, which consists in 
the excellency of his nature, his immense wisdom and unspotted purity. 
If God should therefore do any such act, he would expunge the right of his 
dominion, by blotting out that nature which renders him fit for that dominion, 
and the exercise of it.* Any dominion which is exercised without the rules 
of goodness is not a true sovereignty, but an insupportable tj'ranny. God 
would cease to be a rightful sovereign if he ceased to be good, he would 
cease to be good if he did command, necessitate or by any positive opera- 
tion incline inwardly the heart of a creature directly to that which were 
morally evil, and contrary to the eminency of his own nature. 
. But that we may the better conceive of this, let us trace man in his first 
fall, whereby he subjected himself and all his posterity to the curse of the law 
and hatred of God ; we shall find no footsteps, either of precept, outward 
force, or inward impulsion.f The plain story of man's apostasy dischargeth 
God from any interest in the crime as an encouragement, and excuseth him 
from any appearance of suspicion, when he shewed him the tree he had 
reserved, as a mark of his sovereignty, and forbade him to eat of the fruit of 
it; he backed the prohibition with the threatening the greatest evil, viz., 
death, which could be understood to imply nothing less than the loss of all 
his happiness ; and in that couched an assurance of the perpetuity of his 
felicity, if he did not rebelliously reach forth his hand to take and eat of 
the fruit. Gen. ii. 16, 17. It is true, God had given that fruit an excel- 
lency, a goodness for food, and a pleasantness to the eye, chap. iii. 6. He 
had given man an appetite whereby he was capable of desiring so pleasant a 
fruit, but God had:,;by creation ranged it under the command of reason, if 
man would have kept it in its due obedience ; he had fixed a severe 
threatening to bar the unlawful excursions of it ; he had allowed him a 
multitude of other fruits in the garden, and given him liberty enough to 
satisfy his curiosity in all except this only. Could there be anything more 
obliging to man, to let God have his reserve of that one tree, than the grant 
of all the rest, and more deterring from any disobedient attempt than so 
strict a command, spirited with so dreadful a penalty ? God did not 
solicit him to rebel against him. A solicitation to it, and a command against 
it, were inconsistent. The devil assaults him, and God permitted it, and 
stands as it were a spectator of the issue of the combat. There could be 
no necessity upon man to listen to, and entertain, the suggestions of the 
serpent. He had a power to resist him, and he had an answer ready for 
all the devil's arguments, had they beeu multiphed to more than they were; 
the opposing the order of God had been a sufficient confutation of all the 
devil's plausible reasonings : That Creator who hath given me my being hath 
ordered me not to eat of it. Though the pleasure of the fruit might allure 
him, yet the force of his reason might have quelled the liquorishness of 
his sense. The perpetual thinking of, and sounding out, the command of 
God, had silenced both Satan and his own appetite, had disarmed the 
tempter, and preserved his sensitive part in its due subjection. What 
inclination can we suppose there could be from the Creator, when upon the 
very first off'er of the temptation, Eve opposes to the tempter the prohibition 
and threatening of God, and strains it to a higher peg than we find God had 
delivered it in ? For in Gen. ii. 17, it is, ' you shall not eat of it; ' but she 
adds. Gen. iii. 3, * neither shall you touch it,' which was a remark that 
might have had more influence to restrain her. Had our first parents kept 
this fixed upon their understandings and thoughts, that God had forbidden 
any such act as the eating of the fruit, and that he was true to execute the 
* Amyrald, Dissert, p. 103, 104. \ Amyrald, Defens. de Calvin, p. 161, 162. 

ExoD. XV. 11.] god's holiness. 2C3 

threatening he had uttered, of which truth of God they could not but have 
a natural notion, with what ease might they have withstood the devil's 
attack, and defeated his design ! And it had been easy with them to have 
kept their understandings by the force of such a thought, from entertaining 
any contrary imagination. There is no ground for any jealousy of any 
encouragements, inward impulsions, or necessity from God in this affair. 
A discharge of God from this first sin will easily induce a freedom from all 
other sins which follow upon it. 

God doth not then encourage, or excite, or incline to sin. How can he 
excite to that which, when it is done, he will be sure to condemn ? How 
can he be a righteous judge to sentence a sinner to misery for a crime acted 
by a secret inspiration from himself ? Iniquity would deserve no reproof 
from him, if he were any way positively the author of it. Were God the 
author of it in us, what is the reason our own consciences accuse us for it, 
and convince us of it ? That, being God's deputy, would not accuse us of 
it, if the sovereign power by which it acts did incline us to it. How can he 
be thought to excite to that which he hath enacted such severe laws to re- 
strain, or incline man to that which he hath so dreadfully punished in his 
Son, and which it is impossible but the excellency of his nature must incline 
him eternally to hate ? We may sooner imagine that a pure flame shall 
engender cold, and darkness be the offspring of a sunbeam, as imagine such a 
thing as this. ' What shall we say ? Is there unrighteousness with God ? 
God forbid.' The apostle execrates such a thought, Rom. ix. 14. 

6. God cannot act any evil in or by himself. If he cannot approve of 
sin in others, nor excite any to iniquity, which is less, he cannot commit 
evil himself, which is greater. What he cannot positively will in another 
can never be willed in himself; he cannot do evil through ignorance, because 
of his infinite knowledge ; nor through weakness, because of his infinite 
power ; nor through malice, because of his infinite rectitude. He cannot 
will any unjust thing, because, having an infinitely perfect understanding, 
he cannot judge that to be true which is false, or that to be good which is 
evil ; his will is regulated by his wisdom. If he could will any unjust and 
irrational thing, his will would be repugnant to his understanding ; there 
would be a disagreement in God, will against mind, and will against wis- 
dom. He being the highest reason, the first truth, cannot do an unreason- 
able, false, defective action. It is not a defect in God that he cannot do 
evil, but a fulness and excellency of power. As it is not a weakness in the 
light, but the perfection of it, that it is unable to produce darkness. God 
is ' the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness,' James i. 17 No- 
thing pleases him, nothing is acted by him, but what is beseeming the 
infinite excellency of his own nature. The voluntary necessity whereby 
God cannot be unjust renders him a ' God blessed for ever.' He would 
hate himself as the chief good, if, in any of his actions, he should disagree 
with his goodness. He cannot do any unworthy thing, not because he wants 
an infinite power, but because he is possessed of an infinite wisdom, and 
adorned with an infinite purity ; and, being infinitely pure, cannot have 
the least mixture of impurity. As if you can suppose tire infinitely hot, you 
cannot suppose it to have the least mixture of coldness ; the better any- 
thing is, the more unable it is to do evil. God being the only goodness, can 
as little be changed in his goodness as in his essence. 

II. The second thing. 

The next inquiry is, the proof that God is holy, or the manifestation of 
it. Polity is as requisite to the blessedness of God as to the being of God. 

204 chaexock's works. [Exod. XV. 11. 

As he could not be God without being blessed, so he could not be blessed 
without being holy. He is called by the title of blessed, as well as by that 
of holy : Mark xiv. 61, ' Art thou the Christ, the Son of the blessed ? ' Un- 
righteousness is a misery and turbulency in any spirit wherein it is, for it 
is a privation'of an excellency which ought to be in every intellectual being ; 
and what can follow upon the privation of an excellency but unquietness and 
grief, the moth of happiness ! An unrighteous man,^as an unrighteous man, 
can never be blessed, though he were in a local heaven. Had God the least 
spot upon his purity, it would render him as miserable in the midst of his 
infinite sufficiency as iniquity renders a man in the confluence of his earthly 
enjoyments ; the holiness and felicity of God are inseparable in him. The 
apostle intimates that the heathen made an attempt to sully his blessedness, 
when they would liken him to corruptible, mutable, impure man : Rom. 
i. 23, 25, * They changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image 
made like to corruptible man ;' and after he entitles God, a ' God blessed 
for ever.' The gospel is therefore called ' the glorious gospel of the 
blessed God,' 1 Tim. i. 11, in regard of the holiness of the gospel precepts, 
and in regard of the declaration of the holiness of God in all the streams 
and branches ; wherein his purity, in which his blessedness consists, is as 
illustrious as any other perfection of the divine being. God hath highly 
manifested this attribute in the state of nature, in the legal administration, 
in the dispensation of the gospel. His wisdom, goodness, and power are 
declared in creation, his sovereign authority in his law, his grace and 
mercy in the gospel, and his righteousness in all. Suitable to this three- 
fold state may be that ternal repetition of his holiness in the prophecy, Isa. 
vi. 3, holy as creator and benefactor ; holy as lawgiver and judge ; holy as 
restorer and redeemer. 

1. His holiness appears as he is creator, in framing man in a perfect up- 
rightness. Angels, as made by God, could not be evil, for God beheld his 
own work with pleasure, and could not have pronounced them all good had 
some been created pure, and others impure ; two moral contrarieties could 
not be good. The angels had a first estate, wherein they were happy. Jade 
6; and had they not left their own habitation and state, they could not 
have been miserable ; but because the Scripture speaks only of the creation 
of man, we will consider that the human nature was well strung and tuned 
by God, according to the note of his own holiness : Eccles. vii. 29, ' God 
hath made man upright.' He had declared his power in other creatures, but 
would declare in his rational creature what he most valued in himself ; and 
therefore created him upright, with a wisdom which is the rectitude of the 
mind, with a purity which is the rectitude of the will and afiections. He 
had declared a purity in other creatures, as much as they were capable of, 
viz. in the exact tuning them to answer one another ; and that God, who 
so well tuned and composed other creatures, would not make man a jarring 
instrument, and place a cracked creature to be lord of the rest of his earthly 
fabric. God being holy, could not set his seal upon any rational creature, 
but the impression would be like himself, pure and holy also ; he could not 
be created with an error in his understanding, that had been inconsistent 
with the goodness of God to his rational creature ; if so, the erroneous 
motion of the will, which was to follow the dictates of the understanding, 
could not have been imputed to him as his crime, because it would have 
been, not a voluntary, but a necessary effect of his nature ; had there been 
an error in the first wheel, the error of the next could not have been im- 
puted to the nature of that, but to the irregular motion of the first wheel in 
the engine. The sin of men and angels proceeded not from any natural de- 

ExoD. XV. 11.] god's holiness. 205 

feet in their understandings, but from inconsideration. He that was the 
author of harmony in his other creatures, could not be the author of dis- 
order in the chief of his works. Other creatures were his footsteps, but 
man was his image : Gen. i. 26, 27, ' Let us make man in our image, after 
our likeness ; ' which, though it seems to imply no more in that place than 
an image of his dominion over the creatures, yet the apostle raises it a 
peg higher, and gives us a larger interpretation of it : Col. iii. 10, ' And 
have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of 
him that created him ; ' making it to consist in a resemblance to his right- 
eousness. Image, say some, notes the form, as man was a spirit in regard 
of the soul ; likeness notes the quality implanted in his spiritual nature. 
The image of God was drawn in him, both as he was a rational and as he was 
a holy creature. The creatures manifested the being of a superior power as 
their cause, but the righteousness of the first man evidenced not only a 
sovereign power, as the donor of his being, but a holy power, as the pattern 
of his work. God appeared to be a holy God in the righteousness of his 
creature, as well as an understanding God in the reason of his creature, 
while he formed him with all necessary knowledge in his mind, and all 
necessary uprightness in his will. The law of love to God, with his whole 
soul, his whole mind, his whole heart and strength, was originally writ upon 
his nature. All the parts of his nature were framed in a moral conformity 
with God, to answer his law, and imitate God in his purity, which consists 
in a love of himself, and his own goodness and excellency. Thus doth the 
clearness of the stream point us to the purer fountain, and the brightness of 
the beam evidence a greater splendour in the sun which shot it out. 

2. His holiness appears in his laws, as he is a lawgiver and a judge. 
Since man was bound to be subject to God as a creature, and had a capacity 
to be ruled by the law, as an understanding and wiUing creature, God gave 
him a law taken from the depths of his holy nature, and suited to the origi- 
nal faculties of man. The rules which God hath fixed in the world are not 
the resolves of bare will, but result particularly from the goodness of his 
nature ; they are nothing else but the transcripts of his infinite detestation 
of sin, as he is the unblemished governor of the world. This being the 
most adorable property of his nature, he hath impressed it upon that law 
which he would have inviolably observed as a perpetual rule for our actions, 
that we may every moment think of this beautiful perfection. God can 
command nothing, but what hath some similitude with the rectitude of his 
own nature ; all his laws, every paragraph of them therefore, scent of this 
and glitter with it : Deut. iv. 8, ' What nation hath statutes and judgments 
so righteous as all this law I set before you this day ?' And therefore they are 
compared to fine gold, that hath no speck or dross, Ps. xix. 10. 

This purity is evident, 

(1 .) In the moral law, or law of nature ; 

(2.) In the ceremonial law ; 

(3.)- In the allurements annexed to it for keeping it, and the affrightments 
to restrain from the breaking of it ; 

(4.) In the judgments inflicted for the violation of it. 

(1.) In the moral law, which is therefore dignified with the title of holy 
twice in one verse, Rom. vii. 12, ' Wherefore the law is holy, and the com- 
mandment is holy, just, and good,' it being the express image of God's will, 
as our Saviour was of his person, and bearing a resemblance to the purity of 
his nature. The tables of this law were put into the ark, that as the mercy- 
seat was to represent the grace of God, so the law was to represent the 

206 charnock's works. [Exod. XV. 11. 

holiness of God. The psalmist, after he had spolien of the glory of God 
in the heavens, Ps. xix. 1, wherein the power of God is exposed to our 
view, introduceth the law, wherein the purity of God is evidenced to our minds, 
ver. 7,8;* perfect, pure, clean, righteous ' are the titles given to it. It 
is clearer in holiness than the sun is in brightness, and more mighty in itself 
to command the conscience, than the sun is to run its race. As the holiness 
of the Scripture demonstrates the divinity of its author, so the hoUness 
of the law doth the purity of the lawgiver. 

[1.] The purity of this law is seen in the matter of it. It prescribes all 
that becomes a creature towards God, and all tbat becomes one creature to- 
wards another of his own rank and kind. The image of God is complete in 
the holiness of the first table, and the righteousness of the second ; which is 
intimated by the apostle, Eph. iv. 24, the one being the rule of what we owe 
to God, the other being the rule of what we owe to man ; there is no good 
but it enjoins, and no evil but it disowns. It is not sickly and lame in any 
part of it ; not a good action but it gives it its due praise, and not an evil 
action but it sets a condemning mark upon. The commands of it are 
frequently in Scripture called judr/ments, because they rightly judge of good 
and evil,and are a clear light to inform the judgment of man in the knowledge 
of both. By this was the understanding of David enlightened to know every 
false way, and to hate it, Ps. cxix. 104. There is no case can happen but 
may meet with a determination from it ; it teaches men the noblest manner 
of living a life like God himself, honourably for the lawgiver, and joyfully 
for the subject. It directs us to the highest end, sets us at a distance from 
all base and sordid practices ; it proposeth light to the understanding, and 
goodness to the will. It would tune all the strings, set right all the orders 
of mankind ; it censures the least mote, countenanceth not any stain in life. 
Not a wanton glance can meet with any justification from it, Mat. v. 28, 
not a rash anger but it frowns upon, ver. 22. As the law^giver wants no- 
thin» as an addition to his blessedness, so his law wants nothing as a supple- 
ment to its perfection. Dent. iv. 2. What our Saviour seems to add, is not 
an addition to mend any defects, but a restoration of it from the corrupt 
glosses, wherewith the scribes and Pharisees had eclipsed the brightness of 
it ; they had curtailed it and diminished part of its authority, cutting ofi" its 
empire over the least evil, and left its power only to check the grosser prac- 
tices. But Christ restores it to the due extent of its sovereignty, and shews 
it in those dimensions in which the holy men of God considered it as 
' exceeding broad,' Ps. cxix. 96, reaching to all actions, all motions, all cir- 
cumstances attending them, full of inexhaustible treasures of righteousness ; 
and though this law since the fall doth irritate sin, it is no disparagement, 
but a testimony to the righteousness of it, which the apostle manifests by 
his wherefore, Rom. vii. 8, ' Sin, taking occasion by the commandment, 
wrought in me all manner of concupiscence,' and repeating the same sense, 
ver. 11, subjoins a wJurefore, verse 12, 'Wherefore the law is holy.' The 
risinc of men's sinful hearts against the law of God, when it strikes with its 
preceptive and minatory parts upon their consciences, evidenceth the holi- 
ness of the law and the lawgiver. 

In its own nature it is a directing rule, but the malignant nature of sin is 
exasperated by it, as an hostile quality in a creature will awaken itself at 
the appearance of its enemy. The purity of this beam and transcript of 
God bears witness to a greater clearness and beauty in the sun and original. 
Undefiled streams manifest an untainted fountain. 

[2.] It is seen in the manner of its precepts ; as it prescribes all good and 
forbids all evil, so it doth enjoin the one, and banish the other as such. The 

ExoD. XV. 11.] god's noLTNEss. 207 

laws of men command virtuous things, not as virtuous in themselves, hut as 
useful for human society, which the magistrate is the conservator of, and the 
guardian of justice.* The laws of men contain not all the precepts of virtue, 
but only such as are accommodated to their customs, and are useful to 
preserve the ligaments of their government. The desi>:jn of them is not so 
much to render the subjects good men, as good citizens ; they order the 
practice of those virtues that may strengthen civil society, and discoun- 
tenance those vices only which weaken the sinesvs of it ; but God, being the 
guardian of universal righteousness, doth not only enact the observance of all 
' righteousness,' but the observance of it as righteousness. He commands 
that which is just in itself, enjoins virtues as virtues, and prohibits vices as 
vices, as they are profitable or injurious to ourselves as well as to others. 

Men command temperance and justice not as virtues in themselves, but 
as they prevent disorder and confusion in a commonwealth ; and forbid 
adultery and theft, not as vices in themselves, but as they are entrenchments 
upon property, not as hurtful to the person that commits them, but as 
hurtful to the person against whose right they are committed. Upon this 
account perhaps Paul applauds the holiness of the law of God, in regard of 
its own nature as considered in itself, more than he doth the justice of it in 
regard of man, and the goodness and conveniency of it to the world ; Rom. 
vii. 12, the law is holy twice, ^nA. just and good but once. 

[3.] In the spiritual extent of it. The most righteous powers of the 
world do not so much regard in their laws what the inward affections of then- 
subjects are ; the external acts are only the objects of their decrees, either to 
encourage them if they be useful, or discourage them if they be hurtful to 
the community'; and indeed they can do no other, for they have no power 
proportioned to inward affections, since the inward disposition falls not under 
their censure, and it would be foolish for any legislative power to make such 
laws, which it is impossible for it to put in execution. They can prohibit 
the outward acts of theft and murder, but they cannot command the love of 
God, the hatred of sin, the contempt of the world ; they cannot prohibit 
unclean thoughts and the atheism of the heart. But the law of God sur- 
mounts in righteousness all the laws of the best regulated commonwealths 
in the world ; it restrains the licentious heart as well as the violent hand, 
it damps the very first bubblings of corrupt nature, orders a purity in 
the spring, commands a clean fountain, clean streams, clean vessels. It 
would frame the heart to an inward, as well as the life to an outward right- 
eousness, and make the inside purer than the outside. It forbids the first 
belchings of a murderous or adulterous intention ; it obligeth man as a 
rational creature, and therefore exacts a conformity of every rational faculty, 
and of whatsoever is under the command of them. It commands the 
private closet to be free from the least cobweb, as well as the outward porch 
to be clean from mire and dust. It frowns upon all stains and pollutions of 
the most retired thoughts ; hence the apostle calls it a spiritual law, Rom. 
vii. 14, as not political, but extending its force further than the frontiers of 
the man, placing its ensigns in the metropoUs of the heart and mind, and 
curbing with its sceptre] the inward motions of the spirit, and commanding 
over the secrets of every man's breast. 

[4.] In regard to the perpetuity of it. The purity and perpetuity of it 
are linked together by the psalmist, Ps. xix. 9, * The fear of the Lord is 
clean, enduring for ever ;' the fear of the Lord, that is, that law which com- 
mands the fear and worship of God, and is the rule of it ; and indeed, God 
values it at such a rate, that rather than part with a tittle, or let the honour of 
* Ames de Consc. lib. v. cap. i. ques. 7. 

208 charnock's works. [Exod. XV. 11. 

it lie in the dust, he would not only let heaven and earth pass away, but expose 
his Son to death for the reparation of the wrong it had sustained. So holy it 
is, that the holiness and righteousness of God cannot dispense with it, cannot 
abrogate it, without despoiling himself of his own being. It is a copy of the 
eternal law ! Can he ever abrogate the command of love to himself, with- 
out shewing some contempt of his own excellency and very being ? Before 
he can enjoin a creature not to love him, he must make himself unworthy 
of love and worthy of hatred ; this would be the highest unrighteousness, to 
order us to hate that which is only worthy of our highest affections. So God 
cannot change the first command, and order us to worship many gods ; this 
would be against the excellency and unity of God, for God cannot constitute 
another God, or make anything worthy of an honour equal with himself.* 
Those things that are good only because they are commanded, are alterable 
by God ; those things that are intrinsecally and essentially good, and therefore 
commanded, are unalterable as long as the holiness and righteousness of God 
stand firm. The intrinsic goodness of the moral law, the concern God hath 
for it, the perpetuity of the precepts of the first table, and the care he hath had 
to imprint the precepts of the second upon the minds and consciences of men, 
as the author of nature for the preservation of the world, manifests the holi- 
ness of the lawmaker and governor. 

(2.) His holiness appears in the ceremonial law ; in the variety of sacri- 
fices for sin, wherein he writ his detestation of unrighteousness in bloody 
characters. His holiness was more constantly expressed in the continual 
sacrifices, than in those rarer sprinklings of judgments now and then upon 
the world ; which often reached not the worst, but the most moderate sin- 
ners, and were the occasions of the questioning of the righteousness of his 
providence both by Jews and Gentiles. In judgments, his purity was only 
now and then manifest ; by his long patience, he might be imagined by some 
reconciled to their crimes, or not much concerned in them ; but by the morn- 
ing and evening sacrifice he witnessed a perpetual and uninterrupted abhor- 
rence of whatsoever was evil. 

Besides those, the occasional washings and sprinklings upon ceremonial 
defilements, which polluted only the body, gave an evidence that everything 
that had a resemblance to evil was loathsome to him. Add also the prohi- 
bitions of eating such and such creatures as were filthy ; as the swine that 
wallowed in the mire, a fit emblem for the profane and brutish sinner ; 
which had a moral signification, both of the loathsomeness of sin to God, and 
the aversion themselves ought to have to everything that was filthy. 

(3.) His holiness appears in the allurements annexed to the law for keep- 
ing it, and the affrightments to restrain from the breaking of it : both pro- 
mises and threatenings have their fundamental root in the holiness of God, 
and are both branches of this peculiar perfection. As they respect the 
nature of God, they are declarations of his hatred of sin and his love of 
righteousness ; the one belong to his threatenings, the other to his promises ; 
both join together to represent this divine perfection to the creature, and to 
excite to an imitation in the creature. In the one, God would render sin 
odious, because dangerous, and curb the practice of evil, which would other- 
wise be licentious ; in the other, he would commend righteousness, and 
excite a love of it, which would otherwise be cold. By these God suits the 
two great affections of men, fear and hope, both the branches of self-love in 
man. The promises and threatenings are both the branches of holiness in 
God. The end of the promises is the same with the exhortation the apostle 
concludes from them : 2 Cor. vii. 1, * Having these promises, let us cleanse 
* Suarez. 

ExoD. XV. 11.] god's holiness. 209 

ourselves from all filthiness of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear 
of God.' As the end of precepts is to direct, the end of threatenings is to 
deter from iniquity ; so that of the promises is to allure to obedience. Thus 
God breathes out his love to righteousness in every promise, his hatred of 
sin in every threatening. The rewards offered in the one are the smiles of 
pleased holiness, and the curses thundered in the other are the sparklings 
of enraged righteousness. 

(4.) His holiness appears in the judgments inflicted for the violation of 
this law. Divine holiness is the root of divine justice, and divine justice is 
the triumph of divine holiness. Hence both are expressed in Scripture by 
one word of righteousness, which sometimes signifies the rectitude of the 
divine nature, and sometimes the vindicative stroke of his arm : Ps. ciii. 6, 
' The Lord executeth righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed.' 
So Dan. ix. 7, ' Righteousness,' that is, justice, ' belongs to thee.' The 
vials of his wrath are filled from his implacable aversion to iniquity. Ail 
penal evils showered down upon the heads of wicked men, spread their root 
in, and branch out from, this perfection. All the dreadful storms and tem- 
pests in the world are blown up by it. Why doth he ' rain snares, fire and 
brimstone, and a horrible tempest ?' Because the righteous Lord ' loveth 
righteousness,' Ps. xi. 6, 7. And (as was observed before) when he was 
going about the dreadfullest work that ever was in the world, the overturning 
the Jewish state, hardening the hearts of that unbeHeving people, and cashier- 
ing a nation, once dear to him, from the honour of his protection, his 
hoHness, as the spring of all this, is applauded by the seraphims, Isa. vi. 3, 
compared with ver. 9-11, &c. Impunity argues the approbation of a crime, 
and punishment the abhorrency of it. The greatness of the crime, and the 
righteousness of the Judge, are the first natural sentiments that arise in the 
minds of men, upon the appearance of divine judgments in the world, by 
those that are near them.* As when men see gibbets erected, scafi'olds pre- 
pared, instruments of death and torture provided, and grievous punishments 
inflicted, the first reflection in the spectators is the malignity of the crime, 
and the detestation the governors are possessed with. 

[1.] How severely hath he punished his most noble creatures for it. The 
once glorious angels, upon whom he had been at greater cost than upon other 
creatures, and drawn more lively lineaments of his own excellency, upon the 
transgression of his law are thrown into the furnace of justice, without any 
mercy to pity them, Jude 6. And though there were but one sort of crea- 
tures upon the earth that bore his image, and were only fit to publish and 
keep up his honour below the heavens, yet upon their apostasy (though upon 
a temptation from a subtile and insinuating spirit) the man, with all his pos- 
terity, is sentenced to misery in life, and death at last; and the woman, with 
all her sex, have standing punishments inflicted on them ; which as they 
have begun in their persons, were to reach as far as the last member of their 
successive generations. So holy is God, that he will not endure a spot in 
his choicest work. Men, indeed, when there is a crack in an excellent piece 
of work, or a stain upon a rich garment, do not cast it away ; they value it 
for the remaining excellency, more than hate it for the contracted spot ; but 
God saw no excellency in his creature worthy regarding, after the image of 
that which he most esteemed in himself was defaced. 

[2.] How detestable to him are the very instruments of sin. For the ill 
use the serpent (an irrational creature) was put to by the devil, as an instru- 
ment in the fall of man, the whole brood of those animals are cursed : Gen. 
iii. 14, ' Cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field.' Not 
* Amyraut, Moral, torn. v. p. 388. 

VOL. II. o 

210 chaenock's works. [Exod. XV. 11. 

only the devil's head is threatened to be for ever bruised, and (as some think) 
rendered irrecoverable upon this further testimony of his malice in the seduc- 
tion of man, who perhaps, without this new act, might have been admitted 
into the arms of mercy, notwithstanding his first sin, — though the Scripture 
gives us no account of this, only this is the only sentence we read of pro- 
nounced against the devil, which puts him into an irrecoverable state by a 
mortal bruising of his head, — but, I say, he is not only punished, but the 
organ whereby he blew in his temptation, is put into a worse condition than 
it was before. Thus God hated the sponge whereby the devil deformed his 
beautiful image ; thus God, to manifest his detestation of sin, ordered the 
beast, whereby any man was slain, to be slain as well as the malefactor. Lev. 
XX. 15. The gold and silver that had been abused to idolatry, and were the 
ornaments of images, though good in themselves, and incapable'of a criminal 
nature, were not to be brought into their houses, but detested and abhorred 
by them, because they were cursed, and an abomination to the Lord. See 
with what loathing expressions this law is enjoined to them, Deut. vii. 25, 26. 
So contrary is the holy nature of God to every sin, that it curseth everything 
that is instrumental in it. 

[3.] How detestable is everything to him that is in the sinner's possession ! 
The \evj earth, which God had made Adam the proprietor of, was ' cursed 
for his sake,' Gen. iii. 17, 18. It lost its beauty, and lies languishing to 
this day ; and notwithstanding the redemption by Christ, hath not recovered 
its health, nor is it like to do, till the completing the fruits of it upon the 
children of God, Rom. viii. 20-22. The whole lower creation was made 
* subject to vanity,' and put into pangs upon the sin of man, by the righteous- 
ness of God detesting his offence. How often hath his implacable aversion 
from sin been shewn, not only in his judgments upon the ofl'ender's person, 
but by wrapping up in the same judgment those which stood in a near rela- 
tion to them ! Achan, with his children and cattle, are overwhelmed with 
stones, and burned together, Josh. vii. 24, 25. In the destruction of^Sodom, 
not only the grown malefactors, but the young spawn, the infants (at present 
incapable of the same wickedness), and their cattle, were burned up by the 
same fire from heaven ; and the place where their habitations stood is at 
this day partly a heap of ashes, and partly an infectious lake, that chokes 
any fish that swim into it from Jordan, and stifles (as is related) by its 
vapour any bird that attempts to fly over it. Oh, how detestable is sin to 
God, that causes him to turn a pleasant land, as the garden of the Lord (as 
it is styled, Gen. xiii. 10) into a lake of sulphur ; to make it, both in his 
word and works, as a lasting monument of his abhorrence of evil ! 

[4.] What design hath God in all these acts of severity and vindictive jus- 
tice, but to set off" the lustre of his holiness ? He testifies himself concerned 
for those laws, which he hath set as hedges and limits to the lusts of men ; 
and therefore when he breathes forth his fiery indignation against a people, 
he is said to get himself honour ; as when he intended the Red Sea should 
swallow up the Egyptian army, Exod. xiv. 17, 18, which Moses in his 
triumphant song echoes back again : Exod. xv. 1, * Thou hast triumphed 
gloriously ;' gloriously in his holiness, which is the glory of his nature, as 
Moses himself interprets it in the text. When men will not own the holiness 
of God in a way of duty, God will vindicate it in a way of justice and punish- 
ment. In the destruction of Aaron's sons, that were will-worshippers, and 
would take strange fire, sanctified and glorified are coupled. Lev. x. 3. He 
glorified himself in that act, in vindicating his holiness before all the people, 
declaring that he will not endure sin and disobedience. He doth, therefore, 
in this life more severely punish the sins of his people, when they presume 

ExoD. XV. 11. J god's holiness. 211 

upon any act of disobedience, for a testimony, that the nearness and dear- 
ness of any person to him, shall not make him uuconcerned in his holiness, 
or be a plea for impurity. The end of all his judgments is to witness to the 
world his abominating of sin. To punish and witness against men, are one 
and the same thing : Micah i. 2, * The Lord shall witness against you ;' and 
it is the witness of God's holiness : Hosea v. 5, ' And the pride of Israel 
doth testify to his face.' One renders it, the excellency of Israel, and under- 
stands it of God ; the word ]')i^X which is here in our translation pride, is 
rendered excellency : Amos viii, 7, ' The Lord hath sworn by his excellency,' 
which is interpreted holiness : Amos iv, 2, ' The Lord hath sworn by his 
holiness.' What is the issue or end of this swearing by holiness, and of his 
excellency testifying against them ? In all those places you will find them 
to be sweeping judgments : in one, Israel and Ephraim shall ' fall in their 
iniquity ;' in another, he will * take them away with hooks, and their poste- 
rity with fish-hooks ;' and in another, he would ' never forget any of their 
works.' He that punisheth wickedness in those he before used with the 
greatest tenderness, furnisheth the world with an undeniable evidence of the 
detestableness of it to him. "Were not judgments sometimes poured out 
upon the world, it would be believed that God were rather an approver than 
an enemy to sin. 

To conclude ; since God hath made a stricter law to guide men, annexed 
promises above the merit of obedience to allure them, and threatenings 
dreadful enough to afi"right men from disobedience, he cannot be the cause 
of sin, nor a lover of it. How can he be the author of that which he so 
severely forbids, or love that which he delights to 'punish, or be fondly in- 
dulgent to any evil, when he hates the ignorant instruments in the offences 
of his reasonable creatures ? 

3. The holiness of God appears in our restoration. It is in the glass of 
the gospel we ' behold the glory of the Lord,' 2 Cor. iii. 18 ; that is, the 
glory of the Lord, into whose image we are changed ; but we are changed 
into nothing as the image of God but into holiness. We bore not upon us 
by creation, nor by regeneration, the image of any other perfection. We 
cannot be changed into his omnipotence, omniscience, &c., but into the 
image of his righteousness. This is the pleasing and glorious sight the 
gospel mirror darts in our eyes. The whole scene of redemption is nothing 
else but a discovery of judgment and righteousness: Isa. i. 27, *Zion shall 
be redeemed with judgment, and her converts with righteousness.' 
.. (1.) This holiness of God appears in the manner of our restoration, viz., 
by the death of Christ. Not all the vials of judgments that have or shall be 
poured out upon the wicked world, nor the flaming furnace of a sinner's 
conscience, nor the irreversible sentence pronounced against the rebellious 
devils, nor the groans of the damned creatures, give such a demonstration 
of God's hatred of sin, as the wrath of God let loose upon his Son. Never 
did divine holiness appear more beautiful and lovely than at the time our 
Saviour's countenance was most marred in the midst of his dying groans. 
This himself acknowledges in that prophetical psalm, Ps. xxii. 1, 2, when 
God had turned his smiling face from him, and thrust his sharp knife into 
his heart, which forced that terrible cry from him, * My God, my God, why 
hast thou forsaken me ? ' He adores this perfection of holiness, ver. 3, 
' but thou art holy.' Thy holiness is the spring of all this sharp agony, and 
for this thou inhabitest, and shalt for ever inhabit, the praises of all thy 
Israel. Holiness drew the veil between God's countenance and our Sa- 
viour's soul. Justice indeed gave the stroke, but holiness ordered it. In this 
his purity did sparkle, and his irreversible justice manifested that all those 

212 charnock's works. [Exod. XV. 11. 

that commit sin are worthy of death ; this was the perfect index of his 
righteousness, Rom. iii. 29, that is, of his holiness and truth. Then it was 
that 'God, that is holy, was sanctified in righteousness,' Isa. v. 16. 

It appears the more, if you consider, 

[l.J The dignity of the Redeemer's person. One that had been from 
eternity, had laid the foundations of the world, had been the object of the 
divine delight. He that was God ' blessed for ever ' becomes a curse ; he 
who was blessed by angels, and by whom God blessed the world, must be 
seized with horror. The Son of eternity must bleed to death. Where did 
ever sin appear so irreconcilable to God ? where did God ever break out 
BO furiously in his detestation of iniquity ? The Father would have the most 
excellent person, one next in order to himself, and equal to him in all the 
glorious perfections of his nature, Phil. ii. 6, die on a disgraceful cross, and 
be exposed to the flames of divine wrath, rather than sin should live, and 
his holiness remain for ever disparaged by the violations of his law. 

[2.] The near relation he stood in to the Father. He was his own Son 
that he delivered up, Rom. viii. 32, his essential image, as dearly beloved 
by him as himself; yet he would abate nothing of his hatred of those sins 
imputed to one so dear to him, and who never had done anything contrary 
to his will. The strong cries uttered by him could not cause him to cut off 
the least fringe of this royal garment, nor part with a thread the robe of his 
holiness was woven'with. The torrent of wrath is opened upon him, and 
the Father's heart beats not in the least notice of tenderness to sin in the 
midst of his Son's agonies. God seems to lay aside the bowels of a father, 
and put on the garb of an irreconcilable enemy.* Upon which account, 
probably, our Saviour in the midst of his passion gives him the title of God, 
not of Father, the title he usually before addressed to him with: Mat. 
xxvii. 46, 'My God, my God,' not ' My Father, my Father, why hast thou 
forsaken me ? ' He seems to hang upon the cross like a disinherited son, 
while he appeared in the garb and rank of a sinner. Then was his head 
loaded with curses, when he stood under that sentence of ' Cursed is every 
one that hangs upon a tree,' Gal. iii. 13, and looked as one forlorn and 
rejected by the divine purity and tenderness. God dealt not with him as if 
he had been one in so near a relation to him. He left him not the will only 
of the instruments of his death, he would have the chiefest blow himself of 
bruising of him: Isa. liii. 10, 'It pleased the Lord to bruise him; ' the 
Lord, because the power of creatures could not strike a blow strong enough 
to satisfy and secure the rights of infinite holiness. It was therefore a cup 
tempered and put into his hands by his Father ; a cup given him to drink. 
In other judgments, he lets out his wrath against his creatures ; in this, he 
lets out his wrath (as it were) against himself, against his Son, one as dear 
to him as himself. As in his making creatures, his power over nothing to 
bring it into being appeared, but in pardoning sin he hath power over him- 
self; so in punishing creatures, his holiness appears in his wrath against 
creatures, against sinners by inherency. But by punishing sin in his Son, 
his holiness sharpens his wrath against him who was his equal, and only a 
reputed sinner. As if his affection to his own holiness surmounted his affec- 
tion to his Son ; for he chose to suspend the breakings out of his affections 
to his Son, and see him plunged in a sharp and ignominious misery, with- 
out giving him any visible token of his love, rather than see his holiness lie 
groaning under the injuries of a transgressing world. 

[3.] The value he puts upon his holiness appears further, in the advance- 
ment of this redeeming person after his death. Our Saviour was advanced 
* Lingend., torn. iii. p. 699, 700. 

ExoD. XV. 11.] god's holiness. 213 

not barely for his dying, but for the respect he had in his death to this 
attribute of God. Heb. i. 9, ' Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated 
iniquity ; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of 
gladness,' &c. By righteousness is meant this perfection, because of the 
opposition of it to iniquity. Some think therefore to be the final cause ; as 
if this were the sense, ' Thou art anointed with the oil of gladness, that thou 
mightest love righteousness, and hate iniquity.' But the Holy Ghost seem- 
ing to speak in this chapter not only of the Godhead of Christ, but of his 
exaltation, the doctrine whereof he had begun in ver. 3, and prosecutes in 
the following verses, I would rather understand therefore, for this cause, or 
reason, hath God anointed thee, not to this end. Christ indeed had an 
unction of grace, whereby he was fitted for his mediatory work ; he had also 
an unction of glory, whereby he was rewarded for it. In the first regard, it 
was a qualif3ang him for his office ; in the second regard, it was a solemn 
inaugurating him in his royal authority. And the reason of his being 
settled upon a throne for ever and ever is because he loved righteousness. 
He suffered himself to be pierced to death, that sin, the enemy of God's 
purity, might be destroyed, and the honour of the law, the image of God's 
holiness, might be repaired and fulfilled in the fallen creature. He restored 
the credit of divine holiness in the world, in manifesting by his death God 
an irreconcilable enemy to all sin, in abolishing the empire of sin, so hate- 
ful to God, and restoring the rectitude of nature, and new framing the image 
of God in his chosen ones. 

And God so valued this vindication of his holiness, that he confers upon 
him, in his human nature, an eternal royalty and empire over angels and 
men. Holiness was the great attribute respected by Christ in his dying, and 
manifested in his death; and for his love to this, God would bestow an 
honour upon his person in that nature wherein he did vindicate the honour 
of so dear a perfection. In the death of Christ, he shewed his resolution to 
preserve its rights; in the exaltation of Christ, he evidenced his mighty 
pleasure for the vindication of it; in both, the infinite value he had for it, 
as dear to him as his life and glory. 

[4.] It may be farther considered, that in this way of redemption, his 
holiness in the hatred of sin seems to be valued above any other attribute. 
He proclaims the value of it above the person of his Son, since the divine 
nature of the Redeemer is disguised, obscured, and veiled, in oi'der to the re- 
storing the honour of it. And Christ seems to value it above his own person, 
since he submitted himself to the reproaches of men, to clear this perfection 
of the divine nature, and make it illustrious in the eyes of the world. You 
heard before, at the beginning of the handling this argument, it was the 
beauty of the Deity, the lustre of his nature, the link of all his attributes, 
his very life ; he values it equal with himself, since he swears by it as well 
as by his life. And none of his attributes would have a due decorum with- 
out it. It is the glory of power, mercy, justice, wisdom, that they are holy ; 
so that though God had an infinite tenderness and compassion to the fallen 
creatures, yet it should not extend itself in his rehef to the prejudice of the 
rights of his purity. He would have this triumph in the tenderness of hia 
mercy as well as the severities of his justice. His mercy had not appeared 
in its true colours, nor attained a regular end, without vengeance on sin. 
It would have been a compassion that would (in sparing the sinner) have 
encouraged the sin, and affronted holiness in the issues of it. Had he dis- 
persed his compassions about the world without the regard to his hatred of 
sin, his mercy had been too cheap, and his holiness had been contemned. 
His mercy would not have triumphed in his own nature whilst his holi- 

214 charnock's works. [Exod. XV. 11. 

ness had suffered. He had exercised a mercy with the impairing his own 

But now in this way of redemption, the rights of both ai'e secured, both 
have their due lustre. The odiousness of sin is equally discovered with the 
greatness of his compassions ; an infinite abhorrence of sin, and an infinite 
love to the world march hand in hand together. Never was so much of the 
irreconcilableness of sin to him set forth, as in the moment he was opening 
his bowels in the reconciliation of the sinner. Sin is made the chiefest 
mark of his displeasure, while the poor creature is made the highest object 
of divine pity. There could have been no motion of mercy with the least 
injury to purity and holiness. In this way ' mercy and truth,' mercy to the 
misery of the creature, and truth to the purity of the law, • have met to- 
gether ; ' the righteousness of God, and the peace of the sinner, * have kissed 
each other,' Ps. Ixxxv. 10. 

(2.) The holiness of God in his hatred of sin appears in our justification, 
and the conditions he requires of all that would enjoy the benefit of redemp- 
tion. His wisdom hath so tempered all the conditions of it, that the honour 
of his holiness is as much preserved as the sweetness of his mercy is experi- 
mented by us. All the conditions are records of his exact purity, as well as 
of his condescending grace. Our justification is not by the imperfect works 
of creatures, but by an exact and infinite righteousness, as great as that of 
the Deity which had been offended ; it being the righteousness of a divine 
person, upon which account it is called the ' righteousness of God,' not only 
in regard of God's appointing it, and God's accepting it, but as it is a right- 
eousness of that person that was God, and is God. Faith is the condition 
God requires to justification, but not a dead, James ii. 20, but an active 
faith; such a faith as * purifies the heart,' Acts xv. 9. He calls for repent- 
ance, which is a moral retracting our offences, and an approbation of con- 
temned righteousness and a violated law ; an endeavour to regain what is 
lost, and to pluck out the heart of that sin we have committed. He requires 
mortification, which is called crucifying, whereby a man would strike as full 
and deadly a blow at his lusts as was struck at Christ upon the cross, and 
make them as certainly die as the Redeemer did. 

Our own righteousness must be condemned by us as impure and imper- 
fect. We must disown everything that is our own, as to righteousness, in 
reverence to the holiness of God and the valuation of the righteousness of 
Christ. He hath resolved not to bestow the inheritance of glory without 
the root of grace. None are partakers of the divine blessedness that are not 
partakers of the divine nature ; there must be a renewing of his image before 
there be a vision of his face, Heb. xii. 14. He will not have men brought 
only into a relative state of happiness by justification, without a real state 
of grace by sanctification. And so resolved he is in it, that there is no 
admittance into heaven of a starting, but a persevering, holiness : Rom. 
ii. 7, a * patient continuance in well doing ;' patient under the sharpness of 
affliction, and continuing under the pleasures of prosperity. Hence it is 
that the gospel, the restoring doctrine, hath not only the motives of rewards 
to allure us to good, and the danger of punishments to scare us from evil, as 
the law had, but they are set forth in a higher strain, in a way of stronger 
engagement, the rewards are heavenly, and the punishments eternal ; and 
more powerful motives besides, from the choicer expressions of God's love 
in the death of his Son. The whole design of it is to re-instate us in a re- 
semblance to this divine perfection, whereby he shews what an affection he 
hath to this excellency of his nature, and what a detestation he hath of evil, 
which is contrary to it. 

ExoD. XV. 11.] god's noLiNESs. 215 

(3.) It appears in the actual regeneration of the redeemed soul, and a 
carrying it on to a full perfection. As election is the effect of God's sove- 
reignty, our pardon the fruit of his mercy, our knowledge a stream from his 
wisdom, our strength an impression of his power, so our purity is a beam 
from his holiness. The whole work of sanctification, and the preservation 
of it, our Saviour begs for his disciples of his Father under this title : John 
xvii. 11, 17, 'Holy Father, keep them through thy own name,' and 'sanc- 
tify them through thy truth,' as the proper source whence holiness was to 
flow to the creature ; as the sun is the proper fountain whence light is 
derived, both to the stars above and bodies here below. Whence he is not 
only called holy, but 'the Holy One of Israel;' Isa. xliii. 15, 'I am the 
Lord your Holy One, the Creator of Israel,' displaying his hoHness in them 
by a new creation of them as his Israel. As the rectitude of the creature at 
the first creation was the effect of his holiness, so the purity of the creature 
by a new creation is a draught of the same perfection. He is called the 
Holy One of Israel more in Isaiah, that evangelical prophet, in erecting 
Zion, and forming a people for himself, than in the whole Scriptures besides. 
As he sent Jesus Christ to satisfy his justice for the expiation of the guilt 
of sin, so he sends the Holy Ghost for the cleansing the filth of sin and over- 
mastering the power of it. Himself is the fountain, the Son is the pattern, 
and the Holy Ghost the immediate imprinter of this stamp of holiness upon 
the creature. God hath such a value for this attribute, that he designs the 
glory of this in the renewing of the creature more than the happiness of the 
creature ; though the one doth necessarily follow upon the other, yet the one 
is the principal design and the other the consequent of the former ; whence 
our salvation is more frequently set forth in Scripture by a redemption from 
sin, and sanctification of the soul, than by a possession of heaven, Titus ii. 
11-14, and many other places. 

Indeed, as God could not create a rational creature without interesting 
this attribute in a special manner, so he cannot restore the fallen creature 
without it. As in creating a rational creature there must be holiness to 
adorn it, as well as wisdom to form the design, and power to effect it, so in 
the restoration of the creature, as he could not make a reasonable creature 
unholy, so he cannot restore a fallen creature, and put him in a meet pos- 
ture to take pleasure in him, without communicating to him a resemblance 
of himself. As God cannot be blessed in himself without this perfection of 
purity, so neither can a creature be blessed without it. As God would be 
unlovely to himself without this attribute, so would the creature be unlovely 
to God without a stamp and mark of it upon his nature. So much is this 
perfection one with God, valued by him, and interested in all his works 
and ways. 

III. The third thing I am to do, is to lay down some propositions in the 
defence of God's holiness in all his acts about or concerning sin. It was a 
prudent and pious advice of Camero, not to be too busy and rash in inquiries 
and conclusions about the reason of God's providence in the matter of sin. 
The Scripture hath put a bar in the way of such curiosity, by telling us, 
that the ways of God's wisdom and righteousness in his judgments are un- 
searchable, Rom. xi. 33, much more the ways of God's holiness as he stands 
in relation to sin as a Governor of the world. We cannot consider those 
things without danger of slipping ; our eyes are too weak to look upon the 
sun without being dazzled ; too much curiosity met with a just check in our 
first parent. To be desirous to know the reason of all God's proceedings 
in the matter of sin, is to second the ambition of Adam, to be as wise as 

216 charnock's works. [Exod. XV. 11. 

God, and know the reason of his actings equally with himself. It is more 
easy, as the same author saith, to give an account of God's providence since 
the revolt of man, and the poison that hath universally seized upon human 
nature, than to make guesses at the manner of the fall of the first man. The 
Scripture hath given us but a short account of the manner of it, to discourage 
too curious inquiries into it. 

It is certain that God made man upright ; and when man sinned in para- 
dise, God was active in sustaining the substantial nature and act of the sin- 
ner while he was sinning, though not in supporting the sinfulness of the act. 
He was permissive in suffering it, he was negative in withholding that grace 
which might certainly have prevented his crime, and consequently his ruin, 
though he withheld nothing that was sufficient for his resistance of that temp- 
tation wherewith he was assaulted. And since the fall of man, God, as a 
wise governor, is directive of the events of the transgression, and draws the 
choicest good out of the blackest evil, and limits the sins of men, that they 
creep not so far as the evil nature of men would urge them to ; and as a 
righteous judge, he takes away the talent from idle servants, and the light 
from wicked ones, whereby they stumble and fall into crimes by the inclina- 
tions and proneness of their own corrupt natures, leaves them to the bias of 
their own vicious habits, denies that grace which they have forfeited, and 
have no right to challenge ; and turns their sinful actions into punishments, 
both to the committers of them and others. 

Prop. 1. God's holiness is not chargeable with any blemish, for his creat- 
ing man in a mutable state. It is true angels and men were created with a 
changeable nature ; and though there was a rich and glorious stamp upon 
them by the hand of God, yet their natures were not incapable of a base 
and vile stamp from some other principle ; as the silver, which bears upon 
it the image of a great prince, is capable of being melted down, and imprinted 
with no better an image than that of some vile and monstrous beast. Though 
God made man upright, yet he was capable of seeking * many inventions,' 
Eccles. vii. 29 ; yet the hand of God was not defiled by forming man with 
such a nature. It was suitable to the wisdom of God to give the rational 
creature, whom he had furnished with a power of acting righteously, the 
liberty of choice, and not fix him in an unchangeable state, without a 
trial of him in his natural. And if he did obey, his obedience might be 
the more valuable ; and if he did freely offend, his offence might be more 

1. No creature can be capable of immutability by nature. Mutability is 
so essential to a creature, that a creature cannot be supposed without it. 
You must suppose it a creator, not a creature, if you allow it to be an im- 
mutable nature. Immutability is the property of the supreme being. God 
* only hath immortality,' 1 Tim. vi. 16. Immortality, as opposed not only 
to a natural, but to a sinful death ; the word only appropriates every sort 
of immortality to God, and excludes every creature, whether angel or man, 
from a partnership with God in this by nature. Every creature therefore 
is capable of a death in sin. ' None is good but God,' and none is naturally 
free from change but God ; which excludes every creature from the same 
prerogative ; and certainly if one angel sinned, all might have sinned, be- 
cause there was the same root of mutability in one as well as another. It 
is as possible for a creature to be creator, as for a creature to have naturally 
an incommunicable property of the Creator. All things, whether angels or 
men, are made of nothing, and therefore capable of defection ;* because a 
creature being made of nothing, cannot be good per essentiam, or essentially 
♦ Suarez, vol. ii. p. 648. 

ExoD. XV. 11.] god's holiness. 217 

good, but by participation from another. Again, every rational creature, 
being made of nothing, hath a superior which created him and governs him, 
and is capable of a precept ; and consequently capable of disobedience as 
well as obedience to the precept, to transgress it as well as obey it. God 
cannot sin, because he can have no superior to impose a precept on him. 
A rational creature, with a Hberty of will and power of choice, cannot be 
made by nature of such a mould and temper, but he must be as well capable 
of choosing wrong, as of choosing right ; and therefore the standing angels, 
and glorified saints, though they are immutable, it is not by nature they are 
so, but by grace, and the good pleasure of God ; for though they are in 
heaven, they have still in their nature a remote power of sinning, but it shall 
never be brought into act, because God will always incline their wills to love 
him, and never concur with their wills to any evil act. Since therefore 
mutability is essential to a creature, as a creature, this changeableness can- 
not properly be charged upon God as the author of it ; for it was not the 
term of God's creating act, but did necessarily result from the nature of the 
creature, as unchangeableness doth result from the essence of God. The 
brittleness of a glass is no blame to the art of him that blew up the glass 
into such a fashion ; that imperfection of brittleness is not from the work- 
man, but the matter. So though changeableness be an imperfection, yet it 
is so necessary a one, that no creature can be naturally without it. Besides, 
though angels and men were mutable by creation, and capable to exercise 
their wills, yet they were not necessitated to evil ; and this mutability did 
not infer a necessity that they should fall ; because some angels', which had 
the same root of changeableness in their natures with those that fell, did not 
fall, which they would have done, if capableness of changing, and necessity 
of changing, were one and the same thing. 

2. Though God made the creature mutable, yet he made him not evil. 
There could be nothing of evil in him that God created after his own image, 
and pronounced good. Gen. i. 27, Bl. Man had an ability to stand, as well 
as a capacity to fall ; he was created with a principle of acting freely, where- 
by he was capable of loving God as his chief good, and moving to him as his 
last end ; there was a beam of light in man's understanding to know the rule 
he was to conform to, a harmony between his reason and his aflections, an 
original righteousness. So that it seemed more easy for him to determine 
bis will to continue in obedience to the precept, than to swerve from it ; to 
adhere to God as his chief good, than to Usten to the charms of Satan. 
God created him with those advantages, that he might with more facility 
have kept his eyes fixed upon the divine beauty, than turn his back upon it ; 
and with greater ease have kept the precept God gave him, than have broken 
it. The very first thought darted, or impression made by God upon the 
angelical or human nature, was the knowledge of himself as their author, and 
could be no other than such whereby both angels and men might be excited 
to a love of that adorable being that had framed them so gloriously out of 
nothing. And if they turned their wills and aflections to another object, it 
was not by the direction of God, but contrary to the impression God had 
made upon them, or the first thought he flashed into them. They turned 
themselves to the admiring their own excellency, or affecting an advantage 
distinct from that which they were to look for only from God. 1 Tim. iii. 6, 
pride was the cause of the condemnation of the devil. Though the wills 
of angels and men were created mutable, and so were imperfect, yet they 
were not created evil. Though they might sin, yet they might not sin, and 
therefore were not evil in their own nature. What reflection then could this 
mutability of their nature be upon God ? So far is it from any, that he is 

218 chaenock's woeks. [Exod. XV. 11. 

fully cleared, by storing up in the nature of man sufficient provision against 
his departure from him. God was so far from creating him evil, that he 
fortified him with a knowledge in his understanding, and a strength in his 
nature, to withstand any invasion. The knowledge was exercised by Eve in 
the very moment of the serpent's assaulting her : Gen. iii. 3, Eve ' said to 
the serpent, God hath said. Ye shall not eat of it.' And had her thoughts 
been intent upon this God hath said, and not diverted to the motions of the 
sensitive appetite and liquorish palate, it had been sufficient to put by all 
the passes the devil did, or could have made at her. So that you see, though 
God made the creature mutable, yet he made him not evil. This clears the 
holiness of God. 

3. Therefore it follows, that though God created man changeable, yet he 
was not the cause of his change by his fall. Though man was created de- 
fectible, yet he was not determined by God influencing his will by any 
positive act to that change and apostasy. God placed him in a free posture, 
set life and happiness before him on the one hand, misery and death on the 
other. As he did not draw him into the arms of perpetual blessedness, so 
he did not drive him into the gulf of his misery ;* he did not iucline him to 
evil. It was repugnant to the goodness of God to corrupt the righteousness 
of those faculties he had so lately beautified him with. It was not likely he 
should deface the beauty of that work he had composed with so much 
wisdom and skill. Would he by any act of his own make that bad, which 
but a little before he had acquiesced in as good ? Angels and men were left 
to their liberty and conduct of their natural faculties ; and if God inspired 
them with any motions, they could not but be motions to good, and suited 
to that righteous nature he had endued them with. But it is most probable 
that God did not in a supernatural way act inwardly upon the mind of man, 
but left him wholly to that power which he had in creation furnished him 
with. The Scripture frees God fully from any blame in this, and lays it 
wholly upon Satan as the tempter, and upon man as the determiner of his 
own will. Gen. iii. 6, Eve took of the fruit, and did eat ; and Adam took 
from her of the fruit, and did eat. And Solomon, Eccles. vii. 29, dis- 
tinguisheth God's work in the creation of man ' upright,' from man's work 
in ' seeking out' those ruining ' inventions.' God created man in a right- 
eous state, and man cast himself into a forlorn state. As he was a mutable 
creature, he was from God ; as he was a changed and corrupted creature, 
it was from the devil seducing, and his own pliableness in admitting ; as 
silver, and gold, and other metals, were created by God in such a form and 
figure, yet capable of receiving other forms by the industrious art of man. 
"When the image of a man is put upon a piece of metal, God is not said to 
create that image, though he created the substance with such a property, 
that it was capable of receiving it. This capacity is from the nature of the 
metal by God's creation of it, but the carving the figure of this or that man, 
is not the act of God, but the act of man ; as images in Scripture are called 
the work of men's hands, in regard of the imagery, though the matter, wood 
or stone, upon which the image was carved, was a work of God's creative 
power. When an artificer frames an excellent instrument, and a musician 
exactly tunes it, and it comes out of their hands without a blemish, but 
capable to be untuned by some rude hand, or receive a crack by a sudden 
fall if it meet with a disaster, is either the workman or musician to be 
blamed ? The ruin of a house, caused by the wastefulness or carelessness of 
the tenant, is not to be imputed to the workman that built it strong, and 
left it in a good posture. 

* Amyral. Moral, torn. i. p, 615, 616. 

ExoD, XV. 11.] god's holiness. 219 

Prop. 2. God's holiness is not blemished by enjoining man a law, which 
he knew he would not observe. 

1. The law was not above his strength. Had the law been impossible to 
be observed, no crime could have been imputed to the subject, the fault had 
lain wholly upon the governor ; the non-observance of it had been from a 
want of strength, and not from a want of will. Had God commanded Adam 
to fly up to the sun, when he had not given him wings, Adam might have a 
will to obey it, but his power would be too short to perform it. But the law 
set him for a rule had nothing of impossibility in it ; it was easy to be ob- 
served ; the command was rather below than above his strength, and the 
sanction of it was more apt to restrain and scare him from the breach of it, 
than encourage any daring attempts against it. He had as much power, or 
rather more, to conform to it, than to warp from it ; and greater arguments 
and interest to be observant of it, than to violate it ; his all was secured by 
the one, and his ruin ascertained by the other. The commands of God are 
' not grievous,' 1 John v. 3 ; from the first to the last command there is 
nothing impossible, nothing hard to the original and created nature of man, 
which were all summed up in a love to God, which was the pleasure and 
delight of man, as well as his duty, if he had not by inconsiderateness 
neglected the dictates and resolves of his own understanding. The law was 
suited to the strength of man, and fitted for the improvement and perfection 
of his nature ; in which respect the apostle calls it good, as it refers to man; 
as well as holy, as it refers to God, Rom. vii. 12. Now since God created 
man a creature capable to be governed by a law, and as a rational creature 
endued with understanding and will, not to be governed according to his 
nature without a law, was it congruous to the wisdom of God to respect 
only the future state of man, which, from the depth of his infinite know- 
ledge, he did infallibly foresee would be miserable by the wilful defection of 
man from the rule ? Had it been agreeable to the wisdom of God to respect 
only this future state, and not the present state of the creature, and there- 
fore leave him lawless, because he knew he would violate the law? Should 
God forbear to act like a wise governor, because he foresaw that man would 
cease to act like an obedient subject ? Shall a righteous magistrate forbear 
to make just and good laws, because he foresees, either from the disposi- 
tions of his subjects, their ill-humour, or some circumstances which will 
intervene, that multitudes of them will incline to break those laws, and fall 
under the penalty of them ? No blame can be upon that magistrate who 
minds the rule of righteousness, and the necessary duty of his govern- 
ment, since he is not the cause of those turbulent affections in men, which 
he wisely foresees will rise up against his just edicts. 

2. Though the law now be above the strength of man, yet is not the holi- 
ness of God blemished by keeping it up. It is true, God hath been gra- 
ciously pleased to mitigate the severity and rigour of the law by the entrance 
of the gospel ; yet, where men refuse the terms of the gospel, they continue 
themselves under the condemnation of the law, and are justly guilty of the 
breach of it, though they have no strength to observe it. The law, as I said 
before, was not above man's strength, when he was possessed of original right- 
eousness, though it be above man's strength, since he was stripped of original 
righteousness. The command was dated before man had contracted his im- 
potency, when he had a power to keep it as well as to break it. Had it 
been enjoined to man only after the fall, and not before, he might have had 
a better pretence to excuse himself, because of the impossibility of it ; yet he 
•would 'not have had sufficient excuse, since the impossibility did not result 
from the nature of the law, but from the corrupted nature of the creature. 

220 chaenock's woeks, [Exod. XV. 11. 

It was ' weak through the flesh,' Eom. viii. 3, but it was promulged when 
man had a strength proportioned to the commands of it. And now, since 
man hath unhappily made himself uncapable of obeying it, must God's holi- 
ness in his law be blemished for enjoining it ? Must he abrogate those 
commands, and prohibit what before he enjoined, for the satisfaction of the 
corrupted creature ? Would not this be his ceasing to be holy, that his 
creature might be unblameably unrighteous ? Must God strip himself of 
his holiness, because man will not discharge his iniquity ? He cannot be 
the cause of sin, by keeping up the law, who would be the cause of all the 
unrighteousness of men, by removing the authority of it. Some things in 
the law, that are intrinsecally good in their own nature, are indispensable, 
and it is repugnant to the nature of God not to command them. If he were 
not the guardian of his indispensable law, he would be the cause and coun- 
tenancer of the creature's iniquity ; so little reason have men to charge God 
with being the cause of their sin, by not repealing his law to gratify 
their impotence, that he would be unholy if he did. God must not lose his 
purity, because man hath lost his ; and cast away the right of his sove- 
reignty, because man hath cast away his power of obedience. 

3. God's foreknowledge that his law would not be observed lays no blame 
upon him. Though the foreknowledge of God be infallible, yet it doth not 
necessitate the creature in acting. It was certain from eternity, that Adam 
would fall, that men would do such and such actions, that Judas would be- 
tray our Saviour ; God foreknew all those things from eternity ; but it is as 
certain that this foreknowledge did not necessitate the will of Adam, or any 
other branch of his posterity, in the doing those actions that were so fore- 
seen by God ; they voluntarily run into such courses, not by any impulsion. 
God's knowledge was not suspended between certainty and uncertainty. He 
certainly foreknew that his law would be broken by Adam ; he foreknew it 
in his own decree of not hindering him, by giving Adam the efficacious grace 
which would infallibly have prevented it ; yet Adam did freely break this 
law, and never imagined that the foreknowledge of God did necessitate him 
to it. He could find no cause of his own sin but the liberty of his own will ; 
he charges the occasion of his sin upon the woman, and consequently upon 
God in giving the woman to him. Gen. iii. 12. He could not be so ignorant 
of the nature of God as to imagine him without a foresight of future things, 
since his knowledge of what was to be known of God by creation was greater 
than any man's since, in all probability. But, however, if he were not 
acquainted with the notion of God's foreknowledge, he could not be ignorant 
of his own act ; there could not have been any necessity upon him, any kind 
of constraint of him in his action that could have been unknown to him ; 
and he would not have omitted a plea of so strong a nature, when he was 
upon his trial for life or death, especially when he urgeth so weak an argu- 
ment to impute his crime to God as the gift of the woman, as if that which 
was designed him for a help were intended for his ruin. If God's prescience 
takes away the liberty of the creature, there is no such thing as a free action 
in the world (for there is nothing done but is foreknown by God, else we 
render God of a limited understanding), nor ever was, no, not by God him- 
self ad extra ; for whatsoever he hath done in creation, whatsoever he hath 
done since the creation, was foreknown by him ; he resolved to do it, and 
therefore foreknew that he would do it. Did God do it therefore neces- 
sarily, as necessity is opposed to liberty ? As he freely decrees what he 
will do, so he effects what he freely decreed. Foreknowledge is so far from 
intrenching upon the liberty of the will, that predetermination, which in the 
notion of it speaks something more, doth not dissolve it ; God did not only 

ExoD. XV. 11.] god's holiness. 221 

foreknow, but determine the suffering of Christ, Acts iv. 27, 28. It was 
necessary, therefore, that Christ should suffer, that God might not be mis- 
taken in his foreknowledge, or come short of his determinate decree. But 
did this take away the liberty of Christ in suffering ? Eph. v. 2, ' Who 
offered himself up to God ; ' that is, by a voluntary act, as well as designed 
to do it by a determinate counsel. It did infallibly secure the event, but 
did not annihilate the liberty of the action, either in Christ's willingness to 
suffer, or the crime of the Jews that made him suffer. God's prescience is 
God's prevision of things arising from their proper causes ; as a gardener 
foresees in his plants the leaves and the flowers that will arise from them 
in the spring, because he knows the strength and nature of their several roots 
which lie under ground, but his foresight of these things is not the cause of 
the rise and appearance of those flowers. If any of us see a ship moving 
towards such a rock or quicksand, and know it to be governed by a negli- 
gent pilot, we shall certainly foresee that the ship will be torn in pieces by 
the rock, or swallowed up by the sands ; but is this foresight of ours 
from the causes, any cause of the effect, or can we from hence be said to be 
the authors of the miscarriage of the ship, and the loss of the passengers 
and goods ? ;The fall of Adam was foreseen by God to come to pass by the 
consent of his free will in the choice of the proposed temptation. God fore- 
knew Adam would sin, and if Adam would not have sinned, God would 
have foreknown that he would not sin. Adam might easily have detected 
the serpent's fraud, and made a better election ; God foresaw that he would 
not do it ; God's foreknowledge did not make Adam guilty or innocent ; 
whether God had foreknown it or no, he was guilty by a free choice, and a 
willing neglect of his own duty. Adam knew that God foreknew that he 
might eat of the fruit, and fall and die, because God had forbidden him ; 
the foreknowledge that he would do it was no more a cause of his action than 
the foreknowledge that he might do it. Judas certainly knew that his 
master foreknew that he should betray him, for Christ had acquainted him 
with it, John xiii. 21, 26, yet he never charged this foreknowledge of Christ 
with any guilt of his treachery. 

Prop. 3. The holiness of God is not blemished by decreeing the eternal 
rejection of some men. Reprobation in its first notion is an act of preteri- 
tion, or passing by. A man is not made wicked by the act of God, but it 
supposeth him wicked, and so it is nothing else but God's leaving a man in 
that guilt and filth wherein he beholds him. In its second notion it is an 
ordination, not to a crime, but to a punishment ; Jude 4, an ordaining to 
condemnation. And though it be an eternal act of God, yet in order of 
nature it follows upon the foresight of the transgression of man, and sup- 
poseth the crime. God considers Adam's revolt, and views the whole mass 
of his corrupted posterity, and chooses some to reduce to himself by his 
grace, and leaves others to lie sinking in their ruins. Since all mankind fell 
by the fall of Adam, and have corruption conveyed to them successively by 
that root whereof they are branches ; all men might justly be left wallowing 
in that miserable condition to which they were reduced by the apostasy of 
their common head, and God might have passed by the whole race of man, 
as well as he did the fallen angels, without any hope of redemption. He 
was no more bound to restore man than to restore devils, nor bound to 
repair the nature of any one son of Adam ; and had he dealt with men as 
he dealt with the devils, they had had all of them as little just ground to com- 
plain of God ; for all men deserved to be left to themselves, for all were 
* concluded under sin.' But God calls out some to make monuments of 
his grace, which is an act of the sovereign mercy of that dominion whereby 

222 chaenock's wobks. [Exod.-XV. 11. 

' he hath mercy on whom he will have mercy,' Rom. ix. 18. Others he 
passes by, and leaves them remaining in that corruption of nature wherein 
they were born. If men have a power to dispose of their own goods, with- 
out any unrighteousness, why should not God dispose of his own grace, 
and bestow it upon whom he pleases, since it is a debt to none, but a free 
gift to any that enjoy it ? God is not the cause of sin in this, because his 
operation about this is negative ; it is not an action, but a denial of action, 
and therefore cannot be the cause of the evil actions of men.* God acts 
nothing, but withholds his power ; he doth not enlighten their minds, nor 
incline their wills so powerfully as to expel their darkness, and root out those 
evil habits which possess them by nature. God could, if he would, savingly 
enlighten the minds of all men in the world, and quicken their hearts with 
a new life by an invincible grace, but in not doing it there is no positive act 
of God, but a cessation of action. We may with as much reason say, that 
God is the cause of all the sinful actions that are committed by the cor- 
poration of devils since their first rebellion, because he leaves them to 
themselves, and bestows not a new grace upon them ; as say God is the 
cause of the sins of those that he overlooks and leaves in that state of guilt 
wherein he found them. God did not pass by any without the considera- 
tion of sin, so that this act of God is not repugnant to his holiness, but 
conformable to his justice. 

Prop. 4. The holiness of God is not blemished by his secret will to suffer 
sin to enter into the world. God never willed sin by his preceptive will. 
It was never founded upon, or produced by any word of his, as the creation 
was. He never said. Let there be sin under the heaven, as he said. Let 
there be water under the heaven. Nor doth he will it by infusing any habit 
of it, or stirring up inchnations to it ; no, ' God tempts no man,' James 
i. 13. Nor doth he will it by his approving will ; it is detestable to him, 
nor ever can be otherwise. He cannot approve it either before commission, 
or after. 

1. The will of God is in some sort concurrent with sin. He doth not 
properly will it, but he wills not to hinder it, to which by his omnipotence 
he could put a bar. If he did positively will it, it might be wrought by 
himself, and so could not be evil. If he did in no sort will it, it would not 
be committed by his creature. Sin entered into the world, either God 
willing the permission of it, or not willing the permission of it. The latter 
cannot be said : for then the creature is more powerful than God, and can 
do that which God will not permit. God can, if he be pleased, banish all. 
sin in a moment out of the world ; he could have prevented the revolt of 
angels, and the fall of man, they did not sin whether he would or no ; he 
might by his grace have stepped in the first moment, and made a special 
impression upon them of the happiness they already possessed, and the 
misery they would incur by any wicked attempt. He could as well have 
prevented the sin of the fallen angels, and confirmed them in grace, as of 
those that continued in their happy state ; he might have appeared to man, 
informed him of the issue of his design, and made secret impressions upon 
his heart, since he was acquainted with every avenue to his will. God 
could have kept all sin out of the world, as well as all creatures from 
breathing in it ; he was as well able to bar sin for ever out of the world as 
to let creatures lie in the womb of nothing, wherein they were first wrapped. 
To say God doth will sin as he doth other things, is to deny his holiness ; 
to say it entered without anything of his will, is to deny his omnipotence. 
If he did necessitate Adam to fall, what shall we think of his purity? If 
* Amyrald, Defens. de Calv., p. 145. 

ExoD. XV. 11.] god's holiness. 223 

Adam did fall without any concern of God's will in it, what shall we say of 
his sovereignty ? The one taints his holiness, and the other clips his 
power. If it came without anything of his will in it, and he did not foresee 
it, where is his omniscience ? If it entered whether he would or no, where 
is his omnipotence? Rom. ix. 19, 'Who hath resisted his will?' There 
cannot be a lustful act in Abimelech, if God will withhold his power : Gen. 
XX. 6, ' I withheld thee ; ' nor a cursing word in Balaam's mouth, unless 
God give power to speak it : Num. xxii. 38, ' Have I now any power at all 
to say anything ? The word that God puts in my mouth, that shall I 
speak.' As no action could be sinful if God had not forbidden it, so no sin 
could be committed if God did not will to give way to it. 

2. God doth not will sin directly, and by an efficacious will. He doth 
not directly will it, because he hath prohibited it by his law, which is a 
discovery of his will. So that if he should directly will sin, and directly 
prohibit it, he would will good and evil in the same manner, and there 
would be contradictions in God's will. To will sin absolutely is to work it: 
Ps, cxv. 3, ' God hath done whatsoever he pleased.' God cannot absolutely 
will it, because he cannot work it. God wills good by a positive decree, 
because he hath decreed to effect it.* He wills evil by a privative decree, 
because he hath decreed not to give that grace which would certainly pre- 
vent it. God doth not will sin simply, for that were to approve it, but he 
wills itt in order to that good his wisdom will bring forth from it. He wills 
not sin for itself, but for the event. To will sin as sin, or as purely evil, is 
not in the capacity of a creature, neither of man nor devil. The will of a 
rational creature cannot will anything but under the appearance of good, of 
some good in the sin itself, or some good in the issue of it. Much more is 
this from God, who being infinitely good, cannot will evil as evil, and being 
infinitely knowing, cannot will that for good which is evil. J Infinite wisdom 
can be under no error or mistake. To will sin as sin would be an unanswer- 
able blemish on God, but to will to suffer it in order to good is the glory of 
his wisdom. It could never have peeped up its head unless there had been 
some decree of God concerning it. And there had been no decree of God 
concerning it, had he not intended to bring good and glory out of it. If 
God did directly will the discovery of his grace and mercy to the world, he 
did in some sort will sin, as that without which there could not have been 
any appearance of mercy in the world ; for an innocent creature is not the 
object of mercy, but a miserable creature, and no rational creature but must 
be sinful before it be miserable. 

3. God wills the permission of sin. He doth not positively will sin, but 
he positively wills to permit it. And though he doth not approve of sin, 
yet he approves of that act of his will whereby he permits it. For since 
that sin could not enter into the world without some concern of God's will 
about it, that act of his will that gave way to it could not be displeasing to 
him. God could never be displeased with his own act : ' He is not a man 
that he should repent,' 1 Sam. xv. 29. What God cannot repent of, he 
cannot but approve of ; it is contrary to the blessedness of God to disap- 
prove of, and be displeased with, any act of his own will. If he hated any 
act of his own will, he would hate himself, he would be under a torture ; 
every one that hates his own acts is under some disturbance and torment 
for them. That which is permitted by him is in itself, and in regard of the 
evil of it, hateful to him ; but as the prospect of that good which he aims 
at in the permission of it is pleasing to him, so that act of his will whereby 

* Rispolig. t Bradward., lib. i. cap. xxxiv., God wills it, secundum quid. 

X Aquin. Cont. Gent. 1. i. p. 95. 

224 charnock's works. [Exod. XV. 11. 

he permits it is ushered in by an approving act of his understanding. 
Either God approved of the permission or not ; if he did not approve his 
own act of permission, he could not have decreed an act of permission. It 
is unconceivable that God should decree such an act which he detested, 
and positively will that which he hated. Though God hated sin, as being 
against his holiness, yet he did not hate the permission of sin, as being 
subservient by the immensity of his wisdom to his own glory. He could 
never be displeased with that which was the result of his eternal counsel, as 
this decree of permitting sin was, as well as any other decree resolved upon 
in his own breast. For as God acts nothing in time, but what he decreed 
from eternity, so he permits nothing in time, but what he decreed from 
eternity to permit. To speak properly, therefore, God doth not will sin, 
but he wills the permission of it, and this will to permit is active and positive 
in God. 

4. This act of permission is not a mere and naked permission, but such 
an one as is attended with a certainty of the event. The decrees of God to 
make use of the sin of man for the glory of his grace, in the mission and 
passion of his Son, hung upon this entrance of sin ; would it consist.with 
the wisdom of God to decree such great and stupendous things, the event 
whereof should depend upon an uncertain foundation, which he might be 
mistaken in ? God would have sat in council from eternity to no purpose, 
if he had only permitted those things to be done, without any knowledge of 
the event of this permission ; God would not have made such provision for 
redemption to no purpose, or an uncertain purpose, which would have been 
if man had not fallen, or if it had been an uncertainty with God whether he 
would fall or no. Though the [will of God about sin was permissive, yet the 
will of God about that glory he would promote by the defect of the creature 
was positive, and therefore, he would not suffer so many positive acts of 
his will to hang upon an uncertain event, and therefore he did wisely and 
righteously order all things to the accomplishment of his great and gracious 

5. This act of permission doth not taint the holiness of God. That there 
is such an act as permission is clear in Scripture : Acts xiv. 16, ' Who in 
times past suff'ered all nations to walk in their own ways ;' but that it doth not 
blemish the holiness of God will appear, 

(1.) From the nature of this permission. 

[l.J It is not a moral permission, a giving liberty of toleration by any law 
to commit sin with impunity, when what one law did forbid another law doth 
leave indifferent to be done or not, as a man sees good in himself; as 
when there is a law made among men, that no man shall go out of a city or 
country without license, to go without license is a crime by the law ; but 
when that law is repealed by another, that gives liberty for men to go and 
come at their pleasure, it doth not make their going or coming necessary, 
but leaves those which were before bound, to do as they see good in them- 
selves. Such a permission makes a fact lawful, though not necessary ; a 
man is not obliged to do it, but he is left to his own discretion to do as he 
pleases, without being chargeable with a crime for doing it. Such a per- 
mission there was granted by God to Adam of eating of the fruits of the 
garden, to choose any of them for food, except the tree of knowledge of 
good and evil. It was a precept to him not to eat of the fruit of the tree of 
knowledge of good and evil, but the other was a permission, whereby it was 
lawful for him to feed upon any other that was most agreeable to his appetite. 
But there is not such a permission in the case of sin ; this had been an 
indulgence of it which had freed man from any crime, and consequently from 

ExoD. XV. 11.] god's holixess. 225 

punishment, because by such a permission by law he would have had autho- 
rity to sin if he pleased. God did not remove the law which he had before 
placed as a bar against evil, nor ceased that moral impediment of his threaten- 
ing ; such a permission as this, to make sin lawful or indifferent, had been 
a blot upon God's holiness. 

[2.] But this permission of God in the case of sin, is no more than the 
not hindering a sinful action which he could have prevented. It is not so 
much an action of God, as a suspension of his influence, which might have 
hindered an evil act, and a forbearing to restrain the faculties of man from 
sin ; it is properly the not exerting that efiicacy which might change the 
counsels that are taken, and prevent the action intended ; as when one man 
sees another ready to fall, and can preserve him from falling by reaching out 
his hand, he permits him to fall, that is, he hinders him not from falling : 
so God describes his act about Abimelech, Gen. xs. 6, ' I withheld thee from 
sinning against me, therefore suffered I thee not to touch her.' If Abimelech 
had sinned, he had sinned by God's permission, that is, by God's not hinder- 
ing or not restraining him, by making any impressions upon him ; so that 
permission is only a withholding that help and grace, which, if bestowed, would 
have been an effectual remedy to prevent a crime ; and it is rather a suspen- 
sion or cessation, than properly a permission ; and sin may be said to be 
committed )iot nithout God's permission, rather than by his permission. 

Thus in the fall of man, God did not hold the reins strict upon Satan to 
restrain him from laying the bait, nor restrain Adam from swallowing the bait ; 
he kept to himself that efficacious grace which he might have darted out 
upon man to prevent his fall. God left Satan to his malice of tempting, and 
Adam to his liberty of resisting and his own strength, to use that sufficient 
grace he had furnished him with, whereby he might have resisted and overcome 
the temptation. As he did not drive man to it, so he did not secretly restrain 
him from it. So in the Jews' crucifying our Saviour ; God did not im- 
print upon their minds, by his Spirit, a consideration of the greatness of 
the crime, and the horror of his justice due to it, and being without those 
impediments, they run furiously of their own accord to the commission of 
that evil ; as when a man lets a wolf or dog out upon his prey, he takes 
off' the chain which held them, and they presently act according to their 
natures.* In the fall of angels and men, God's act was a leaving them to 
their own strength. In sins after the fall, it is God's giving them up to 
their own corruption. The first is a pure suspension of grace, the other 
hath the nature of a punishment : Ps. Ixxxi. 1, ' So I gave them up to their 
own hearts' lust.' The first object of this permissive will of God was to 
leave angels and men to their own liberty and the use of their free will, which 
was natural to them,t not adding that supernatural grace which was neces- 
sary, not that they should not at all sin, but that they should infalliblv not sin ; 
they had a strength sufficient to avoid sin, but not sufficient infallibly to avoid 
sin, a grace sufficient to preserve them, but not sufficient to confirm them. 

[3.] Now this permission is not the cause of sin, nor doth blemish the 
holiness of God ; it doth not intrench upon the freedom of men, but sup- 
porteth it, establisheth it, and leaves man to it. God acted nothing, but 
only ceased to act, and therefore could not be the efficient cause of man's 
sin. As God is not the author of good but by willing and effecting it, so he 
is not the author of evil but by willing and eflecting it. But he doth not 
positively will evil, nor effect it by any efficacy of his own. Permission is 
no action, nor the cause of that action which is permitted, but the will of 
that person who is permitted to do such an action is the cause. ^ God can 

* LawKon, p. 64. t Suarez, vol. iv. p. 414. % Suarez, de Legib. p. 43. 


226 chaknock's works. [Exod. XV. 11. 

no more be said to be the cause of sin, by suffering a creature to act as it will, 
than he can be said to be the cause of the not being of any creature by 
denying it being, and letting it remain nothing ; it is not from God that it is 
nothing, it is nothing in itself. Though God be said to be the cause of 
creation, yet he is never by any said to be the cause of that nothing which 
was before creation. This permission of God is not the cause of sin, but 
the cause of not hindering sin. Man and angels had a physical power of 
sinning from God, as they were created with free will and supported in 
their natural strength, but the moral power to sin was not from God ; he coun- 
selled them not to it, laid no obligation upon them to use their natural 
power for such an end ; he only left them to their freedom, and not hindered 
them in their acting what he was resolved to permit. 

(2.) The hohness of God is not tainted by this, because he was under no 
obligation to hinder their commission of sin. Ceasing to act, whereby to 
prevent a crime for mischief, brings not a person permitting it under guilt, 
unless where he is under an obligation to prevent it ; but God, in regard of 
his absolute dominion, cannot be charged with any such obligation. One man 
that doth not hinder the murder of another when it is in his power, is guilty of 
the murder in part ; but it is to be considered that he is under a tie by 
nature, as being of the same kind, and being the other's brother by a com- 
munion of blood, also under an obligation of the law of charity, enacted by 
the common sovereign of the world ; but what tie was there upon God, since 
the infinite transcendency of his nature and his sovereign dominion frees 
him from any such obligation ? Job. ix. 12, ' If he takes away, who shall 
say. What dost thou ?' God might have prevented the fall of men and 
angels, he might have confirmed them all in a state of perpetual innocency, 
but where is the obligation ? He had made the creature a debtor to him- 
self, but he owed nothing to the creature. Before God can be charged with any 
guilt in this case, it must be proved, not only that he could, but that he was 
bound to hinder it. No person can be justly charged with another's fault 
merely for not preventing it, unless he be bound to prevent it ; else not only the 
first sin of angels and man would be imputed to God as the author, but 
all the sins of men. He could not be obliged by any law, because he had 
no superior to impose any law upon him, and it will be hard to prove that 
he was obliged from his own nature to prevent the entrance of sin, which 
he would use as an occasion to declare his own holiness, so transcendent a 
perfection of his nature, more than ever it could have been manifested by a 
total exclusion of it, viz., in the death of Christ. He is no more bound in 
his own nature to preserve, by supernatural grace, his creatures from falling 
after he had framed them with sufficient strength to stand, than he was 
obliged in his own nature to bring his creature into being, when it was no- 
thing. He is not bound to create a rational creature, much less bound to 
create him with supernatural gifts ; though, since God would make a 
rational creature, he could not but make him with a naturalj uprightness 
and rectitude. 

God did as much for angels and men as became a wise governor. He 
had published his law, backed it with severe penalties, and the creature 
wanted not a natural strength to observe and obey it. Had not man a 
power to obey all the precepts of the law as well as one ? How was God 
bound to give him more grace, since what he had already was enough to 
shield him, and keep up his resistance against all the power of hell ! It 
had been enough to have pointed his will against the temptation, and he 
had kept off the force of it. Was there any promise passed to Adam 
of any further grace, which he could plead as a tie upon God ? No 

ExoD. XV. 11,] god's holiness. 227 

such voluntary limit upon God's supreme dominion appears upon record. 
"Was anything due to man which he had not ? anything promised him 
which was not performed ? What action of debt, then, can the creature 
bring against God ? Indeed, when man began to neglect the light of his 
own reason, and became inconsiderate of the precept, God might have en- 
lightened his understanding by a special flash, a supernatural beam, and 
imprinted upon him a particular consideration of the necessity of his obedi- 
ence, the misery he was approaching to by his sin, the folly of any such 
apprehension of an equality in knowledge ; he might have convinced him of 
the falsity of the serpent's arguments, and uncased to him the venom that 
lay under those baits. But how doth it appear that God was bound to those 
additional acts, when he had already lighted up in him a spirit which was 
• the candle of the Lord,' Prov. xx. 27, whereby he was able to discern 
all, if he had attended to it. It was enough that God did not necessi- 
tate man to sin, did not counsel him to it, that he had given him suffi- 
cient warning in the threatening, and sufficient strength in his faculties, to 
fortify him against temptation. He gave him what was due to him as 
a creature of his own framing, he witladrew no help from him that was 
due to him as a creature, and what was not due he was not bound to im- 
part. Man did not beg preserving grace of God, and God was not bound 
to offer it when he was not petitioned for it especially ; yet if he had begged 
it, God having before furnished him sufficiently, might, by the right of his 
sovereign dominion, have denied it without any impeachment of his holiness 
and righteousness. Though he would not in such a case have dealt so 
bountifully with his creature as he might have done, yet he could not have 
been impleaded as dealing unrighteously with his creature. The single word 
that God had already uttered when he gave him his precept, was enough to 
oppose against all the devil's wiles, which tended to invalidate that word. 
The understanding of man could not imagine that the word of God was 
vainly spoken ; and the very suggestion of the devil, as if the Creator should 
envy his creature, would have appeared ridiculous if he had attended to the 
voice of his own reason. God had done enough for him, and was obliged 
to do no more, and dealt not unrighteously in leaving him to act according 
to the principles of his nature. 

To conclude ; If God's permission of sin were enough to charge it upon 
God, or if God had been obliged to give Adam supernatural grace, Adam, 
that had so capacious a brain, could not be without that plea in his mouth. 
Lord, thou mightest have prevented it ; the commission of it by me could 
not have been without thy permission of it ; or, Thou hast been wanting to 
me, as the author of my nature. No such plea is brought by Adam into the 
court, when God tried and cast him ; no such pleas can have any strength in 
them. Adam had reason enough to know that there was sufficient reason 
to overrule such a plea. 

Since the permission of sin casts no dirt upon the holiness of God, as I 
think hath been cleared, we may under this head consider two things more. 

1. That God's permission of sin is not so much as his restraint or limita- 
tion of it. Since the entrance of the first sin into the world by Adam, God 
is more a hinderer than a permitter of it. If he hath permitted that which 
he could have prevented, he prevents a world more, that he might, if he 
pleased, permit. The hedges about sin are larger than the outlets ; they 
are but a few streams that glide about the world, in comparison of that mighty 
torrent he dams up both in men and devils. He that understands what a 
lake of Sodom is in every man's nature, since the universal infection of 
human nature, as the apostle describes it, Horn. iii. 9, 10, &c., must acknow- 

228 chaknock's works. [Exod. XV. 11. 

ledge, that if God should cast the reins upon the necks of sinful men, they 
would run into thousands of abominable crimes more than they do. The 
impression of all natural laws would be razed out, the world would be a 
public stew, and a more bloody slaughter-house ; human society would sink 
into a chaos ; no star-light of commendable morality would be seen in it ; 
the world would be no longer an earth, but a hell, and have lain deeper in 
wickedness than it doth. If God did not limit sin, as he doth the sea, and 
put bars to the waves of the heart, as well as those of the waters, and say 
of them, ' Hitherto you shall go, and no further,' man hath such a furious 
ocean in him, as would overflow the banks ; and where it makes a breach in 
one place, it would in a thousand, if God should suffer it to act according to 
its impetuous current. 

As the devil hath lust enough to destroy all mankind, if God did not bridle 
him ; deal with every man as he did with Job, ruin their comforts, and 
deform their bodies with scabs ; infect religion with a thousand more errors ; 
fling disorders into commonwealths, and make them as a fiery furnace, full 
of nothing but flame : if he were not chained by that powerful arm, that 
might let him loose to fulfil his malicious fury, what rapines, murders, thefts, 
would be committed, if he did not stint him ! Abimelech would not only lust 
after Sarah, but deflower her ; Laban not only pursue Jacob, but rifle him ; 
Saul not only hate David, but murder him ; David not only threaten Nabal, 
but root him up, and his family, did not God girdle in the wrath of man, 
Ps. Ixxvi. 10 (as the word restrain signifies). A greater remainder of wrath 
is pent in, than flames out, which yet swells for an outlet. God may be con- 
cluded more holy in preventing men's sins, than the author of sin in permit- 
ting some ; since, were it not for his restraints, by the pull-back of conscience, 
and infused motions and outward impediments, the world would swarm more 
with this cursed brood. 

2. His permission of sin is in order to his own glory and a greater good. 
It is no reflection upon the divine goodness to leave man to his own conduct, 
whereby such a deformity as sin sets foot in the world ; since he makes his 
wisdom illustrious in bringing good out of evil, and a good greater than that 
evil he suffered to spring up.* God did not permit sin, as sin, or permit it 
barely for itself. As sin is not lovely in its own nature, so neither is the 
permission of sin intrinsecally good or amiable for itself, but for those ends 
aimed at in the permission of it. God permitted sin, but approved not of 
the object of that permission, sin; because that, considered in its own nature, 
is solely evil : nor can we think that God could approve of the act of per- 
mission, considered only in itself as an act, but as it respected that event 
which his wisdom would order by it. We cannot suppose that God should 
permit sin, but for some great and glorious end ; for it is the manifestation 
of his own glorious perfections he intends in all the acts of his will : Pz'ov. 
xvi. 4, ' The Lord hath made all things for himself;' 7^9 hath ivrouf/ht all 
things, which is not only his act of creation, but ordination ; for himself, 
that is, for the discovery of the excellency of his natm-e, and the communi- 
cation of himself to his creature. Sin, indeed, in its own nature, hath no 
tendency to a good end ; the womb of it teems with nothing but monsters ; 
it is a spurn at God's sovereignty, and a slight of his goodness. It both 
deforms and torments the person that acts it ; it is black and abominable, 
and hath not a mite of goodness in the nature of it. If it ends in any good, 
it is only from that infinite transcendency of skill that can bring good out of 
evil, as well as light out of darkness. 

; Therefore God did not permit it as sin, but as it was an occasion for the 
* Maj'us bonum, saith Bradward. 

ExoD, XV. 11.] god's holiness. 229 

manifestation of his own glory. Though the goodness of God would have 
appeared in the preservation of the world, as well as it did in the creation of 
it, yet his mercy could not have appeared without the entrance of sin, because 
the object of mercy is a miserable creature ; but man could not be miserable 
as long as he remained innocent. The reign of sin opened a door for the 
reign and triumph of grace : Rom. v. 21, ' As sin hath reigned unto death, 
so might grace reign through righteousness to eternal life.' Without it, the 
bowels of mercy had never sounded, and the ravishing music of divine grace 
could never have been heard by the creature. Mercy, which renders God so 
amiable, could never else have beamed out to the world. Angels and men 
upon this occasion beheld the stirrings of divine gi-ace, and the tenderness 
of divine nature, and the glory of the divine persons in their several functions 
about the redemption of man, which had else been a spring shut up and a 
fountain sealed ; the song of Glory to God, and good uill to men, in a way 
of redemption, had never been sung by them. It appears in his dealings 
with Adam, that he permitted his fall, not only to shew his justice in punish- 
ing, but principally his mercy in rescuing ; since he proclaims to him first 
the promise of a Redeemer to bruise the serpent's head, before he settled the 
punishment he should smart under in the world, Gen. iii. 15-17. And what 
fairer prospect could the creature have of the holiness of God, and his hatred 
of sin, than in the edge of that sword of justice which punished it in the 
sinner, but glittered more in the punishment of a surety so near allied to 
him ? Had not man been criminal, he could not have been punishable, nor 
any been punishable for him ; and the pulse of divine holiness coald not have 
beaten so quick, and been so visible, without an exercise of his vindicative 
justice. He left man's mutable nature to fall under unrighteousness, that 
thereby he might commend the righteousness of his own nature, Rom. iii. 7. 
Adam's sin in its nature tended to the ruin of the world, and God takes an 
occasion from it for the glory of his gi-ace in the redemption of the world. 
He brings forth thereby a new scene of wonders from heaven, and a surprising 
knowledge on earth : as the sun breaks out more strongly after a night of 
darkness and tempest. As God in creation framed a chaos by his power, to 
manifest his wisdom in bringing order out of disorder, light out of darkness, 
beauty out of confusion and deformity, when he was able by a word to have 
made all creatures to stand up in their beauty, without the precedency of a 
chaos : so God permitted a moral chaos, to manifest a greater wisdom in the 
repairing a broken image, and restoring a deplorable creature, and bringing 
out those perfections of his nature, which had else been wrapt up in a per- 
petual silence in his bosom.* It was therefore very congruous to the holi- 
ness of God, to permit that which he could make subservient for his own 
glory, and particularly for the manifestation of this attribute of holiness, which 
seems to be in opposition to such a permission. 

Prop. 5. The holiness of God is not blemished by his concurrence with 
the creature in the material part of a sinful act. Some, to free God from 
having any hand in sin, deny his concurrence to the actions of the creature ; 
because, if he concurs to a sinful action, he concurs to the sin also : not 
understanding how there can be a distinction between the act and the sinful- 
ness or viciousuess of it, and how God can concur to a natural action, with- 
out being stained by that moral evil which cleaves to it. 

For the understanding of this, observe, 

1. There is a concurrence of God to all the acts of the creature : Acts 
xvii. 28, ' In him we live, and move, and have our being,' We depend upon 

* But of the wisdom of God in the permitting sin in order to redemption, I have 
handled in the attribute of Wisdom. 

230 charnock's works. lExod. XV. 11. 

God in our acting as well as in our being. There is as much an efficacy of 
God in our motion, as in our production ; as none have life without his power 
in producing it, so none have any operation without his providence concur- 
ring with it. In him, or by him, that is, by his virtue preserving and govern- 
ing our motions, as well by his power bringing us into being. Hence man 
is compared to an axe, Isa. x. 15, an instrument that hath no action, with- 
out the co-operation of a superior agent handling it : and the actions of the 
second causes are ascribed to God ; the grass, that is the product of the sun, 
rain, and earth, he is said to make to grow upon the mountains, Ps. cxlvii. 8, 
and the skin and flesh, which is by natural generation, he is said to clothe 
us with, Job. X. 5, in regard of his co-working with second causes, according 
to their natures. As nothing can exist, so nothing can operate without him ; 
let his concurrence be removed, and the being and action of the creature 
cease ; remove the sun from the horizon, or a candle from a room, and the 
light which floweth from either of them ceaseth. Without God's preserving 
and concurring power, the course of nature would sink, and the creation be 
in vain. All created things depend upon God as agents, as well as beings, 
and are subordinate to him in a way of action, as well as in a way of existing. f 
If God suspend his influence from their action, they would cease to act (as 
the fire did from burning the three children), as well as if God suspend his 
influence from their being, they would cease to be. God supports the nature 
whereby actions are wrought, the mind where actions are consulted, and the 
will where actions are determined, and the motive power whereby actions are 
produced. The mind could not contrive, nor the hand act a wickedness, if 
God did not support the power of the one in designing, and the strength of 
the other in executing a wicked intention. Every faculty in its being, and 
every faculty in its motion, hath a dependence upon the influence of God. 
To make the creature independent upon God in anything which speaks per- 
fection, as action considered as action is, is to make a creature a sovereign 
being. Indeed, we cannot imagine the concurrence of God to the good 
actions of men since the fall, without granting a concurrence of God to evil 
actions ; because thei'e is no action so purely good, but hath a mixture of 
evil in it, though it takes its denomination of good from the better part : 
Eccles. vii. 20, * There is no man that doeth good and sins not.' 

2. Though the natural virtue of doing a sinful action be from God, and 
supported by him, yet this doth not blemish the holiness of God; while God 
concurs with them in the act, he instils no evil into men. 

(1.) No act in regard of the substance of it is evil. Most of the actions 
of our faculties, as they are actions, might have been in the state of inno- 
cency. Eating is an act Adam would have used if he had stood firm, but 
not eating to excess. Worship was an act that should have been performed 
to God in innocence, but not hypocritically. Every action is good by a 
physical goodness, as it is an act of the mind or hand, which have a natural 
goodness by creation, but every action is not morally good. The physical 
goodness of the action depends on God, the moral evil on the creature. f 
There is no action, as a corporeal action, is prohibited by the law of God, 
but as it springs from an evil disposition, and is tainted by a venomous 
temper of mind. There is no action so bad, as attended with such objects 
and circumstances, but if the objects and circumstances were changed might 
be a brave and commendable action. So that the moral goodness or bad- 
ness of an act is not to be esteemed from the substance of the act, which 
hath always a physical goodness, but from the objects, circumstances, and 
constitution of the mind in the doing of it. Worship is an act good in itself, 
* Suarez, Metaph., part i. p. 552. f Amyrald. de Libero arbit., p. 98, 99. 

ExoD. XV, 11. J god's holiness. 231 

but the worship of an image is bad in regard of the object. Were that act 
of worship directed to God that is paid to a statue, and offered up to him 
with a sincere frame of mind, it would be morally good. The act m regard 
of the substance is the same in both, and considered as separated from the 
object to which the worship is directed, hath the same real goodness in 
regard of its substance ; but when you consider this action in relation to the 
different objects, the one hath a moral goodness, and the other a moral 
evil. So in speaking. Speaking being a motion of the tongue in the form- 
ing of words, is an excellency belonging to a reasonable creature, an endow- 
ment bestowed, continued, and supported by God. Now if the same tongue 
forms words whereby it curseth God this minute, and forms words whereby 
it blesses and praises God the next minute, the faculty of speaking is the 
same, the motion of the tongue is the same in pronouncing the name of God 
either in a way of cursing or blessing : James iii. 9, 10, it is the ' same 
mouth that blesseth and curseth ; ' and the motion of it is naturally good in 
regard of the substance of the act in both ; it is the use of an excellent 
power God hath given, and which God preserves in the use of it. But the 
estimation of the moral goodness or evil is not from the act itself, but from 
the disposition of the mind. Once more, killing as an act is good, nor is it 
unlawful as an act ; for if so, God would never have commanded his people 
Israel to wage any war, and justice could not be done upon malefactors by 
the magistrate. A man were bound to sacrifice his life to the fury of an 
invader, rather than secure it by despatching that of an enemy. But killing 
an innocent, or killing without authority, or out of revenge, is bad. It is 
not the material part of the act, but the object, manner, and circumstance, 
that makes it good or evil. It is no blemish to God's holiness to concur to 
the substance of an action, without having any hand in the immorality of it, 
because whatsoever is real in the substance of the action might be done 
without evil. It is not evil as it is an act, as it is a motion of the tongue or 
band, for then every motion of the tongue or hand would be evil. 

(2.) Hence it follows that an act as an act is one thing, and the vicious- 
ness another. The action is the efiicacy of the faculty,* extending itself to 
some outward object ; but the sinfulness of an act consists in a privation of 
that comeliness and righteousness which ought to be in an action, in a want 
of conformity of the act with the law of God, either written in nature or 
revealed in the word. Now the sinfulness of an action is not the act itself, 
but is considered in it as it is related to the law, and is a deviation from it ; 
and so it is something cleaving to the action, and therefore to be distin- 
guished from the act itself, which is the subject of the sinfulness. When 
we say, such an action is sinful, the action is the subject, and the sinfulness 
of the action is that which adheres to it. The action is not the sinfulness, 
nor the sinfulness the action ; they are distinguished, as the member and a 
disease in the member, the arm and the palsy in it. The arm is not the 
palsy, nor is the palsy the arm ; but the palsy is a disease that cleaves to 
the arm. S'o sinfulness is a deformity that cleaves to an action. 

The evil of an action is not the effect of an action, nor attends it as it is 
an action, but as it is an action so circumstantiated and conversant about 
this or that object ; for the same action done by two several persons may be 
good in one and bad in the other. As when two judges are in joint com- 
mission for the trial of a malefactor, both upon the appearance of his guilt 
condemn him. This action in both, considered as an action, is good; for 
it is an adjudging a man to death whose crime deserves such a punishment. 
But this same act, which is but one joint act of both, may be morally good 
* Amyrald., p. 321, 322. 

282 ciiaenock's works. [Exod. XY. 11- 

in one judge and morally evil in the other : morally good in him that con- 
demns him out of an unbiassed consideration of the demerit of his fact, 
obedience to the law, and conscience of the duty of his place ; and morally 
evil in the other, who hath no respect to those considerations, but joins in 
the act of condemnation, principally moved by some private animosity 
against the prisoner, and desire of revenge for some injury he hath really 
received, or imagines that he hath received from him. The act in itself is 
the same materially in both ; but in one it is an act of justice, and in the 
other an act of murder, as it respects the principles and motives of it in the 
two judges; take away the respect of private revenge, and the action in the 
ill judge had been as laudable as the action of the other. The substance of 
an act, and the sinfulness of an act, are separable and distinguishable ; and 
God may concur with the substance of an act without concurring with the sin- 
fulness of the act. As the good judge, that condemned the prisoner out of 
conscience, concurred with the evil judge who condemned the prisoner out 
of private revenge, not in the principle and motive of condemnation, but 
in the material part of condemnation, so God assists in that action ot a 
man wherein sin is placed, but not in that which is the formal reason 
of sin, which is a privation of some perfection the action ought morally to 

(3.) It will appear further in this, that hence it follows that the action 
and the viciousness of the action may have two distinct causes. That may 
be a cause of the one that is not the cause of the other, and hath no hand 
in the producing of it. God concurs to the act of the mind as it counsels, 
and to the external action upon that counsel, as he preserves the faculty, 
and gives strength to the mind to consult, and the other parts to execute ; 
yet he is not in the least tainted with the viciousness of the action. Though 
the action be from God as a concurrent cause, yet the ill quality of the 
action is solely from the creature with whom God concurs. The sun and the 
earth concur to the production of all the plants that are formed in the womb 
of the one and midwived by the other. The sun distributes heat, and the 
earth communicates sap ; it is the same heat dispersed by the one, and the same 
juice bestowed by the other. It hath not a sweet juice for one and a sour 
juice for another. This general influx of the sun and earth is not the imme- 
diate cause that one plant is poisonous and another wholesome, but the sap 
of the earth is turned by the nature and quality of each plant. If there 
were not such an influx of the sun and earth, no plant could exert that 
poison which is in its nature ; but yet the sun and earth are not the cause 
of that poison which is in the nature of the plant. If God did not concur 
to the motions of men, there could be no sinful action, because there could 
be no action at all ; yet this concurrence is not the cause of that venom that 
is in the action, which ariseth from the corrupt nature of the creature, no 
more than the sun and earth are the cause of the poison of the plant, which 
is purely the effect of its own nature upon that general influx of the sun and 
earth. The influence of God pierceth through all subjects, but the action of 
man done by that influence is vitiated according to the nature of its own 
corruption. As the sun equally shines through all the quartels in the win- 
dow ; if the glass be bright and clear, there is a pure splendour ; if it be red 
or green, the splendour is from the sun, but the discolouring of that light 
upon the wall is from the quality of the glass.* But to be yet plainer, the 
soul is the image of God, and by the acts of the soul we may come to the 
knowledge of the acts of God ; the soul gives motion to the body and every 
member of it, and no member could move without a concurrent virtue of the 
* Zanch., torn. ii. lib. iii. cap. iv. qu. 4, p. 226. 

ExoD. XY. 11.] god's holiness. 233 

soul. If a member be paralytic or gouty, whatsoever motion that gouty 
member hath is derived to it from the soul ; but the goutiness of the mem- 
ber was not the act of the soul, but the fruit of ill humours in the body ; the 
lameness of the member and the motion of the member have two distinct 
causes ; the motion is from one cause, and the ill motion from another. As 
the member could not move irregularly without some ill humour or cause of 
that distemper, so it could not move at all without the activity of the soul. 
So though God concur to the act of understanding, willing, and execution, 
why can he not be as free from the irregularity in all those as the soul is 
free from the irregularity of the motion of the body, while it is the cause of 
the motion itself ? There are two illustrations generally used in this case 
that are not unfit : the motion of the pen in writing is from the hand that 
holds it, but the blurs by the pen are from some fault in the pen itself; and 
the music of the instrument is from the hand that touches it, but the jar- 
ring from the faultiness of the strings ; both are the causes of the motion of 
the pen and strings, but not the blurs or jarrings. 

(4.) It is very congruous to the wisdom of God, to move his creatures 
according to their particular natures ; but this motion makes him not the 
cause of sin. Had our innocent nature continued, God had moved us 
according to that innocent nature ; but when the state was changed for a 
corrupt one, God must either forbear all concourse, and so annihilate the 
world, or move us according to that nature he finds in us. If he had over- 
thrown the world upon the entrance of sin, and created another upon the 
same terms, sin might have as soon defaced his second work, as it did the 
first ; and then it would follow, that God would have been alway building 
and demolishing. It was not fit for God to cease fr-om acting as a wise 
governor of his creature, because man did cease from his loyalty as a subject. 
Is it not more agreeable to God's wisdom as a governor, to concur with his 
creature according to his nature, than to deny his concurrence upon every 
evil determination of the creature ! God concurred with Adam's mutable 
nature in his first act of sin ; he concurred to the act, and left him to his 
mutability. If Adam had put out his hand to eat of any other unforbidden 
fruit, God would have supported his natural faculty then, and concurred 
with him in his motion. 

When Adam would put out his hand to take the forbidden fruit, God con- 
curred to that, natural action, but left him to the choice of the object, and 
to the use of his mutable nature ; and when man became apostate, God 
concurs with him according to that condition wherein he found him, and 
cannot move him otherwise, unless he should alter that nature man had 
contracted. God moving the creature as he found him, is no cause of the 
ill motion of the creature ; as when a wheel is broken the space of a foot, 
it cannot but move ill in that part till it be mended. He that moves it, uses 
the same motion (as it is his act) which he would have done had the wheel 
been sound ; the motion is good in the mover, but bad in the subject. It 
is not the fault of him that moves it, but the fault of that wheel that is 
moved, whoso breaches came by some other cause. A man doth not use to 
lay aside his watch for some irregularity, as long as it is capable of motion, 
but winds it up. Why should God cease from concurring with his creature 
in its vital operations and other actions of his will, because there was a flaw 
contracted in that nature, that came right and true out of his hand ? And 
as he that winds up his disordered watch, is in the same manner the cause 
of its motion then, as he was when it was regular, yet by that act of his, 
he is not the cause of the false motion of it, but that is from the deficiency 
of some part of the watch itself. So though God concurs to that action of 

234 charnock's works. [Exod. XY. 11. 

the creature, whereby the wickedness of the heart is drawn out ; yet is not 
God therefore as unholy as the heart. 

(5.) God hath one end in his concurrence, and man another in his action. 
So that there is a righteous, and often a gracious end in God, when there is 
a base and unworthy end in man. God concurs to the substance of the 
act ; man produceth the circumstance of the act, whereby it is evil. God 
orders both the action wherein he concurs, and the sinfulness over which he 
presides, as a governor, to his own ends. In Joseph's case, man was sinful, 
and God merciful ; his brethren acted envy, and God designed mercy. Gen. 
xlv. 4, 5. They would be rid of him as an eyesore, and God concurred with 
their action to make him their preserver : Gen. 1. 20, * Ye thought evil 
against me, but God meant it unto good,' God concurred to Judas his 
action of betraying our Saviour ; he supported his nature while he con- 
tracted with the priests, and supported his members while he was their 
guide to apprehend him ; God's end was the manifestation of his choicest 
love to man, and Judas his end was the gratification of his own covetousness. 
The Assyrian did a divine work against Jerusalem, bait not with a divine 
end, Isa. x. 5-7. He had a mind to enlarge his empire, enrich his coffers 
with the spoil, and gain the title of a conqueror ; he is desirous to invade 
his neighbours, and God employs him to punish his rebels ; but ' he means 
not so, nor doth his heart think so.' He intended not as God intended. 
The axe doth not think what the carpenter intends to do with it. But God 
used the rapine of an ambitious nature as an instrument of his justice. As 
the exposing malefactors to wild beasts was an ancient punishment, whereby 
the magistrate intended the execution of justice, and to that purpose used 
the natural fierceness of the beasts to an end different from what those 
ravaging creatures aimed at, God concurred with Satan in spoiling Job of 
his goods, and scarifying his body ; God gave Satan license to do it, and 
Job acknowleges it to be God's act. Job. i. 12, 21. But their ends were 
different ; God concurred with Satan for the clearing the integrity of his ser- 
vant, when Satan aimed at nothing but the provoking him to curse his 
Creator. The physician applies leeches to suck the superfluous blood, but 
the leeches suck to glut themselves, without any regard to the intention of 
the physician, and the welfare of the patient. In the same act where men 
intend to hurt, God intends to correct ; so that his concurrence is in a holy 
manner, while men commit unrighteous actions. A judge commands the 
executioner to execute the sentence of death which he hath justly pronounced 
against a malefactor, and admonisheth him to do it out of love to justice ; 
the executioner hath the authority of the judge for his commission, and the 
protection of the judge for his security. The judge stands by to counte- 
nance and secure him in the doing of it ; but if the executioner hath not 
the same intention as the judge, viz., a love to justice in the performance 
of his office, but a private hatred to the offender, the judge, though he com- 
manded the fact of the executioner, yet did not command this error of his in it ; 
and though he protects him in the fact, yet he owns not his corrupt disposi- 
tion in him in the doing of what was enjoined him, as any act of his own. 

To conclude this. Since the creature cannot act without God, cannot lift 
up a hand, or move his tongue, without God's preserving and upholding 
the faculty and preserving the power of action, and preserving every member 
of the body in its actual motion, and in every circumstance of its motion, 
we must necessarily suppose God to have such a way of concurrence as 
doth not intrench upon his holiness. We must not equal the creature to 
God, by denying its dependence on him ; nor must we imagine such a 
concurrence to the fulness of an act, as stains the divine purity, which is, I 

EXOD. XV. 11.] god's HOLINESS. 235 

think, sufficiently salved by distinguishiDg the matter of the act, from the 
evil adhering to"^ it. For since all evil is founded in some good ; the evil 
is distinguishable from the good, and the deformity of the action from the 
action itself, which as it is a created act, hath a dependence on the will and 
influence of God ; and as it is a sinful act, is the product of the will of the 

Prop. 6. The holiness of God is not blemished by proposing objects to a 
man which he makes use of to sin. There is no object proposed to man, 
but is directed by the providence of God, which influenceth all motions in 
the world ; and "there is no object proposed to man, but his active nature 
may, according to the goodness or badness of his disposition, make a good 
or an ill use of. That two men, one of a charitable, the other of a hard- 
hearted disposition, meet with an indigent and necessitous object, is from 
the providence of God ; yet this indigent person is relieved by the one, and 
neglected by the other. There could be no action in the world, but about 
some object ; there could be no object offered to us but by divine provi- 
dence ; the active nature of man would be in vain, if there were not objects 
about which it might be exercised. Nothing could present itself to man as 
an object, either to excite his grace, or awaken his corruption, but by the 
conduct of the governor of the world. That David should walk upon the 
battlements of his palace, and Bathsheba be in the bath at the same time, 
was from the divine providence which orders all the affairs of the world, 
2 Sam. xi. 2 ; and so some understand Jer. vi. 21, ' Thus saith the Lord, 
I will lay stumbling-blocks before his people, and the fathers and sons 
together shall fall upon them.' Since they have offered sacrifices without 
those due qualifications in their hearts, which were necessary to render them 
acceptable to me, I will lay in their way such objects, which their corruption 
will use ill, to their further sin and ruin : so Ps. cv. 25, ' He turned their 
heart to hate his people ;' that is, by the multiplying his people, he gave 
occasion to the Egyptians of hating them, instead of caressing them as they 
had formerly done. 

But God's holiness is not blemished by this ; for, 

1. This proposing or presenting of objects invades not the liberty of any 
man. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil, set in the midst of the 
garden of Eden, had no violent influence on man to force him to eat of it ; his 
liberty to eat of it, or not, was reserved entire to himself ; no such charge 
can be brought against any object whatsoever. If a man meet accidentally 
at a table with meat that is grateful to his palate, but hurtful to the present 
temper of his body, doth the presenting this sort of food to him strip him 
of his liberty to decline it, as well as to feed of it ? Can the food have any 
internal influence upon his will, and lay the freedom of it asleep, whether he 
will or no ? Is there any charm in that more than in other sorts of diet ? 
No ; but it is the habit of love which he hath to that particular dish, the 
curiosity of his fancy, and the strength of his own appetite, whereby he is 
brought into a kind of slavery to that particular meat, and not anything in 
the food itself. When the word is proposed to two persons, it is embraced 
by the one, rejected by the other ; is it from the word itself, which is the 
object, that these two persons perform different acts ? The object is the 
same to both, but the manner of acting about the object is not the same. 
Is there any invasion of their liberty by it ? Is the one forced by the word 
to receive it, and the other forced by the word to reject it ? Two such con- 
trary effects cannot proceed from one and the same cause ; outward things 
have only an objective influence, not an inward. If the mere proposal of 
things did suspend or strike down the liberty of man, no angels in heaven, 

236 chaenock's works. [Exod. XV, 11. 

no man upon earth, no, not our Saviour himself, could do anything freely, 
but by force.* Objects that are ill used are of God's creation, and though 
they have allurements in them, yet they have no compulsive power over the 
will. The fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was pleasing 
to the sight ; it had a quality to allure, there had not else needed a prohibi- 
tion to bar the eating of it ; but it could not have so much power to allure 
as the divine threatening to deter. 

2. The objects are good in themselves, but the ill use of them is from 
man's corruption. Bathsheba was, by God's providence, presented to 
David's sight, but it was David's disposition moved him to so evil an act. 
What if God knew that he would use that object ill ? yet he knew he had 
given him a power to refrain from any ill use of it. The objects are in- 
nocent, but our corruption poisons them. The same object hath been used 
by one to holy purposes and holy improvements, that hath been used by 
another to sinful ends; when a charitable object is presented to a good man 
and a cruel man, one relieves him, the other reviles him. The object was 
rather an occasion to draw out the charity of one, as well as the other ; but 
the refusing to reach out a helping hand was not from the person in calamity, 
but the disposition of the refuser to whom he was presented. It is not from 
the nature of the object that men do good or evil, but from the disposition 
of the person ; what is good in itself is made bad by our corruption. As the 
same meat which nourishes and strengthens a sound constitution cherisheth 
the disease of another that eats at the same table, not from any unwholesome 
quality in the food, but the vicious quality of the humours lodging in the 
stomach, which turns the diet into fuel for themselves, which in its own 
nature was apt to engender a wholesome juice. Some are perfected by the 
same things whereby others are ruined. Riches are used by some, not only 
for their own, but the advantage of others in the world ; by others only for 
themselves, and scarcely so much as their necessities require. Is this the 
fault of the wealth, or the dispositions of the persons who are covetous in- 
stead of being generous ? It is a calumny therefore upon God to charge 
him with the sin of man upon this account. The rain that drops from the 
clouds upon the plants is sweet in itself, but, when it moistens the root of 
any venomous plant, it is turned into the juice of the plant, and becomes 
venomous with it. The miracles that our Saviour wrought were applauded 
by some, and envied by the Pharisees ; the sin arose not from the nature of 
the miracles, but the malice of their spirits. The miracles were fitter in 
their own nature to have induced them to an adoration of our Saviour, than 
to excite so vile a passion against one that had so many marks from heaven 
to dignify him, and proclaim him worthy of their respect. The person of 
Christ was an object proposed to the Jews ; some worship him, others con- 
demn and crucify him, and, according to their several vices and base ends, 
they use this object : Judas, to content his covetousness ; the Pharisees, to 
glut their revenge; Pilate, for his ambition, to preserve himself in his govern- 
ment, and avoid the articles the people might charge him with of counte- 
nancing an enemy to Csesar. God at that time put into their minds a 
rational and true proposition, which they apply to ill purposes. f Caiaphas 
said, that ' it was expedient for one man to die for the people,' which ' he 
spake not of himself,' John xi. 50, 51. God put it into his mind, but he 
might have applied it better than he did, and considered, though the maxim 
was commendable, whether.it might justly be applied to Christ, or whether 
there was such a necessity that he must die, or the nation be destroyed by 
the Romans. The maxim was sound and holy, decreed by God ; but what 
* Amyrald. de libero arbit. p. 224. f Amyrald, Irenic, p. 337. 

ExoD. XV. 11. J god's holiness. 237 

an ill use did the high priest make of it, to put Christ to death as a seditious 
person, to save the nation from the Roman fury ! 

3. Since the natural corruption of men will use such objects ill, may not 
God, without tainting himself, present such objects to them in subserviency 
to his gracious decrees ? Whatsoever God should present to men in that 
state, they would make an ill use of ; hath not God then the sovereign 
prerogative to present what he pleases, and suppress others ? to offer that 
to them which may serve his holy purpose, and hide other things from them 
which are not so conducing to his gracious ends, which would be as much 
the occasions of exciting their sin as the others which he doth bring forth to 
their view ? The Jews, at the time of Christ, were of a turbulent and sedi- 
tious humour ; they expected a Messiah, a temporal king, and would readily 
have embraced any occasion to have been up in arms to have delivered them- 
selves from the Roman yoke ; to this purpose the people attempted once to 
make him king. And probably the expectation they had, that he had such 
a design to head them, might be one reason of their Hosannas, because with- 
out some such conceit it was not probable they should so soon change their 
note, and vote him to the cross in so short a time, after they had applauded 
him as if he had been upon a throne ; but their being defeated of strong 
expectations usually ended in a more ardent fury. This turbulent and 
seditious humour God directs in another channel, suppresseth all occur- 
rences that might excite them to a rebellion against the Romans, which, if 
he had given way to, the crucifying Christ, which was God's design to bring 
about at that time, had not probably been effected, and the salvation of 
mankind been hindered, or stood at a stay for a time. God therefore orders 
such objects and occasions that might direct this seditious humour to an- 
other channel, which would else have run out in other actions, which had 
not been conducing to the great design he had then in the world. Is it not 
the right of God, and without any blemish to his holiness, to use those cor- 
ruptions which he finds sow^n in the nature of his creature by the hand of 
Satan, and to propose such objects as may excite the exercise of them for 
bis own service ? Sure God hath as much right to serve himself of the 
creature of his own framing, and what natures soever they are possessed 
with, and to present objects to that purpose, as a falconer hath to offer this 
or that bird to his hawk, to exercise his courage and excite his ravenousness, 
without being termed the author of that ravenousness in the creature. God 
planted not those corruptions in the Jews, but finds them in those persons 
over whom he hath an absolute sovereignty in the right of a Creator, and 
that of a judge for their sins, and by the right of that sovereignty may offer 
such objects and occasions, which, though innocent in themselves, he "knows 
they will make use of to ill purposes, but which by the same decree that he 
resolves to present such occasions to them, he also resolves to make use of 
them for his own glory. It is not conceivable by us what way that death of 
Christ, which was necessary for the satisfaction of divine justice, could be 
brought about, without ordering the evil of some men's hearts by special 
occasions to effect his purpose ; we cannot suppose that Christ can be guilty 
of any crime that deserved death by the Jewish law; had he been so a 
criminal, he could not have been a Redeemer.* A perfect innocence was 
necessary to the design of his coming. Had God himself put him to that 
death, without using instruments of wickedness in it, by some remarkable 
hand from heaven, the innocence of his nature had been for ever eclipsed, 
and the voluntariness of his sacrifice had been obscured. The strangeness 
of such a judgment would have made his innocence incredible; be could not 
* This I have spoken of before, but it is necessary now. 

288 charnock's works. [Exod. XV, 11. 

reasonably have been proposed as an object of faith. What, to believe in 
one that was struck dead by a hand from heaven! The propagation of the 
doctrine of redemption had wanted a foundation ; and though God might 
have raised him again, the certainty of his death had been as questionable 
as his innocence in dying had he not been raised. But God orders every- 
thing so as to answer his own most wise and holy ends, and maintain his 
truth, and the fulfilling the predictions of the minutest concerns about them, 
and all this by presenting occasions innocent in themselves, which the cor- 
ruptions of the Jews took hold of, and whereby God, unknown to them, 
brought about his own decrees. And may not this be conceived without any 
taint upon God's holiness; for when there are seeds of all sin in man's 
nature, why may not God hinder the sprouting up of this or that kind of 
seed, and leave liberty to the growth of the other, and shut up other ways 
of sinniuc, and restrain men from them, and let them loose to that tempta- 
tion which he intends to serve himself of, hiding from them those objects 
which were not so serviceable to his purpose, wherein they would have 
sinned, and offer others which he knew their corruption would use ill, and 
were serviceable to his ends, since the depravation of their natures would 
necessarily hurry them to evil without restraining grace, as a scale will 
necessarily rise up, when the weight in it, which kept it down, is taken away? 

Prop. 7. The holiness of God is not blemished by withdrawing his grace 
from a sinful creature, whereby he falls into more sin. That God withdraws 
his grace from men, and gives them up sometimes to the fury of their lusts, 
is as clear in Scripture as anything : Deut. xxix. 4, ' Yet the Lord hath not 
given you a heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear,' &c. Judas 
was delivered to Satan after the sop, and put into his power for despising 
former admonitions. He often leaves the reins to the devil, that he may 
use what efficacy he can in those that have offended the majesty of God ; 
he withholds further influences of grace, or withdraws what before he had 
granted them. Thus he withheld that grace from the sons of Eli, that 
mi»ht have made their father's pious admonitions effectual to them : 1 Sam. 
ii. 25, ' They hearkened not to the voice of their father, because the Lord 
would slay them.' He gave grace to Eli to reprove them, and withheld that 
grace from them which might have enabled them, against their natural cor- 
ruption and obstinacy, to receive that reproof. 

But the holiness of God is not blemished by this. 

1. Because the act of God in this is only negative.* Thus God is said to 
harden men, not by positive hardening, or working anything in the creature, 
but by not working, not softening, leaving a man to the hardness of his own 
heart, whereby it is unavoidable, by the depravation of man's nature, and the 
fury of his passions, but that he should be further hardened, and ' increase 
unto more ungodliness,' as the expression is, 2 Tim. ii. 16. As a man is 
said to give another his life, when he doth not take it away when it lay at 
his mercy, so God is said to harden a man when he doth not mollify him 
when it was in his power, and inwardly quicken him with that grace whereby 
he might infallibly avoid any further provoking of him. God is said to 
harden men, when he removes not from them the incentives to sin, curbs 
not those principles which are ready to comply with those incentives, with- 
draws the common assistances of his grace, concurs not with counsels and 
admonitions to make them effectual, flasheth not in the convincing light 
which he darted upon them before. If hardness follows upon God's with- 
holding his softening grace, it is not from any positive act of God, but from 
the natural hardness of man. If you put fire near to wax or resin, both 
* Testard. de natur. et grat., Thes. 150, 151. Amyr. on divers texts, p. 311. 

ExoD. XY. 11. J god's holiness. 239 

will melt ; but when the fire is removed, they return to their natural quality 
of hardness and brittleness. The positive act of the fire is to melt and 
soften, and the softness of the rosin is to be ascribed to that, but the hard- 
ness is from the resin itself, wherein the fire hath no influence, but only a 
negative act by a removal of it ; so when God hardens a man, he only leaves 
him to that stony heart which he derived from Adam, and brought with 
him into the world. All men's understandings being Winded, and their 
wills perverted in Adam, God's withdrawing his grace is but a leaving them 
to their natural pravity, which is the cause of their further sinning, and not 
God's removal of that special light he before afi'orded them, or restraint he 
held over them. As when God withdraws his preserving power from the 
creature, he is not the efficient, but deficient, cause of the creature's destruc- 
tion ; so in this case, God only ceaseth to bind and dam up that sin which 
else would break out. 

2. The whole positive cause of this hardness is from man's corruption. 
God infuseth not any sin into his creatures, but forbears to infuse his grace 
and restrain their lusts, which upon the removal of his grace work impe- 
tuously. God only gives them up to that which he knows will work strongly 
in their hearts. And therefore the apostle wipes off from God any positive 
act in that uncleanness the heathens were given up to (Rom. i. 24, 
' Wherefore God gave them up to uncleanness, through the lusts of their 
own hearts ;' and verse 26, God gave them up to ' vile afiectious,' but they 
were their own affections, none of God's inspiring), but adding, through the 
lusts of their oicn hearts. God's giving them up was the logical cause, or a 
cause by way of argument ; their own lusts were the true and natural cause ; 
their own they were before they were given up to them, and belonging to 
none as the author, but themselves after they were given up to them. The 
lust in the heart, and the temptation without, easily close and mix interests 
with one another ; as the fire in a coal pit will with the fuel, if the streams 
derived into it for the quenching it be dammed up ; the natural passions will 
run to a temptation, as the waters of a river tumble towards the sea. When 
a man that hath bridled in a high-mettled horse from running out, gives him 
the reins, or a huntsman takes off the string that held the dog, and lets 
him run after the hare, are they the immediate cause of the motion of the one 
or the other ? No ; but the mettle and strength of the horse, and the 
natural inclination of the hound, both which are left to their own motions 
to pursue their own natural instincts. Man doth 'as naturally tend to sin 
as a stone to the centre, or as a weighty thing inclines to a motion to the 
earth; it is from the propension of man's nature that he ' drinks up iniquity 
like water ;' and God doth no more when he leaves a man to sin, by taking 
away the hedge which stopped him, but leave him to his natural inclination. 
As a man that breaks up a dam he hath placed, leaves the stream to run in 
their natural channel, or one that takes away a prop from a stone to let it 
fall, leaves it only to that nature which inclines it to a descent, both have 
their motion from their own nature, and man his sin from his own corrup- 
tion.* The withdrawing the sunbeams is not the cause of darkness, but the 
shadiness of the earth ; nor is the departure of the sun the cause of winter, 
but the coldness of the air and earth, which was tempered and beaten back 
into the bowels of the earth by the vigour of the sun, upon whose departure 
they return to their natural state. The sun only leaves the earth and air 
as it found them at the beginning of the spring, or the beginning of the day. 
If God do not give a man grace to melt him, yet he cannot be said to com- 
municate to him that nature which hardens him, which man hath from him- 
* Amyrald de Prcdest , p. 107. 

240 charnock's works. [Exod. XV. 11. 

self. As God was not the cause of the first sin of Adam, which was the 
root of all other, so he is not the cause of the following sins, which as 
branches spring from that root ; man's free will was the cause of the first 
sin, and the corruption of his nature by it the cause of all succeeding sins. 
God doth not immediately harden any man, but doth propose those things 
from whence the natural vice of man takes an occasion to strengthen and 
nourish itself. Hence God is said to ' harden Pharaoh's heart,' Exod. vii. 13, 
by concurring with the magicians in turning their rods into serpents, which 
stifi'ened his heart against Moses, conceiving him by reason of that to have 
no more power than other men, and was an occasion of his further hardening; 
and Pharaoh is said to harden himself, Exod. viii. 32 ; that is, in regard of 
his own natural passion. 

3. God is holy and righteous, because he doth not withdraw from man 
till man deserts him. To say that God withdrew that grace from Adam, 
which he had afforded him in creation, or anything that was due to him, 
till he had abused the gifts of God, and turned them to an end contrary to 
that of creation, would be a reflection upon the divine holiness. God was 
first deserted by man before man was deserted by God, and man doth first 
contemn and abuse the common grace of God, and those relics of natural 
light that ' enlighten every man that comes into the world, John i. 9, before 
God leaves him to the hurry of his own passions. Ephraim was first 
'joined to idols,' before God pronounced the fatal sentence, 'Let him 
alone,' Hosea iv. 17. And the heathens first ' changed the glory of the 
incorruptible God,' Rom. i. 28, 24, before God withdrew his common grace 
from the corrupted creature, and they first ' serve the creature more than 
the Creator,' before the Creator gave them up to the slavish chains of their 
vile aftections, ver, 25, 26. Israel first cast off God before God cast off 
them, but then ' he gave them up to their own heart's lusts, and they walked 
in their own counsels,' Ps. Ixxxi. 11, 12. Since sin entered into the world 
by the fall of Adam, and the blood of all his posterity was tainted, man 
cannot do anything that is formally good ; not for want of faculties, but for 
the want of a righteous habit in those faculties, especially in the will ; yet 
God discovers himself to man in the works of his hands ; he hath left in 
him footsteps of natural reason, he doth attend him with common motions 
of his Spirit, corrects him for his faults with gentle chastisements. He is 
near unto all in some kind of instructions ; he puts many times providential 
bars in their way of sinning, but when they will rush into it ' as the horse 
into the battle,' when they will rebel against the light, God doth often leave 
them to their own course, sentence ' him that is filthy to be filthy still,' 
Piev. xsii. 11, which is a righteous act of God, as he is rector and governor 
of the world. Man's not receiving, or not improving what God gives, is the 
cause of God's not giving further, or taking away his own, which before he 
had bestowed. This is so far from being repugnant to the holiness and 
righteousness of God, that it is rather a commendable act of his holiness 
and righteousness, as the rector of the world, not to let those gifts continue 
in the hand of a man who abuses them contrary to his glory. Who will 
blame a father, that after all the good counsels he hath given his son to 
reclaim him, all the corrections he hath inflicted on him for his irregular 
practice, leaves him to his own courses, and withdraws those assistances 
which he scofied at and turned the deaf ear unto ? Or who will blame the 
physician for deserting the patient who rejects his counsel, will not follow 
his ^prescriptions, but dasheth his physic against the wall ? No man will 
blame him, no man will say that he is the cause of the patient's death; but 
the true cause is the fury of the distemper, and the obstinacy of the diseased 

ExoD. XV. 11.] god's holiness. 241 

person, to which the physician left him. And who can justly blame God in 
this case, who yet never denied supplies of grace to any that sincerely 
sought it at his hands ? and what man is there that lies under a hardness, 
but first was guilty of very provoking sins ? What unholiness is it to 
deprive men of those assistances because of their sin, and afterwards to 
direct those counsels and practices of theirs which he hath justly given them 
up unto, to serve the ends of his own glory in his own methods ? 

4. Which will appear further by considering, that God is not obliged to 
continue his grace to them. It was at his liberty whether he would give 
any renewing grace to Adam after his fall, or to any of his posterity ; he 
was at his own liberty to withhold it or communicate it ; but if he were 
under any obligation then, surely he must be under less now, since the 
multiplication of sin by his creatures ; but if the obligation were none just 
after the fall, there is no pretence now to fasten any such obligation on God. 
That God had no obligation at first hath been spoken to before ; he is less 
obliged to continue his grace after a repeated refusal, and a peremptory 
abuse, than he was bound to proffer it after the first apostasy. God cannot 
be charged with unholiness in withdrawing his grace after we have received 
it, unless we can make it appear that his grace was a thing due to us, as 
w^e are his creatures, and as he is the governor of the world. What prince 
looks upon himself as obliged to reside in any particular place of his king- 
dom ? But suppose he be bound to inhabit in one particular city, yet after 
the city rebels against him, is he bound to continue his court there, spend 
his revenue among rebels, endanger his own honour and security, enlarge 
their charter, or maintain their ancient privileges ? Is it not most just and 
righteous for him to withdraw himself, and leave them to their own tumul- 
tuousness and sedition, whereby they should eat the fruit of their own 
doings ? If there be an obligation [on] God as a governor, it would rather 
lie on the side of justice, to leave man to the powder of the devil, whom he 
courted, and the prevalency of those lusts he hath so often caressed, and 
wrap up in a cloud all his common illuminations, and leave him destitute of 
all common w^orkings of his Spirit. 

Prop. 8. God's holiness is not blemished by his commanding those things 
sometimes which seem to be against nature, or thwart some other of his 
precepts. As when God commanded Abraham with his own hand to sacrifice 
his son, Gen. xxii. 2, there was nothing of unrighteousness in it. God hath 
a sovereign dominion over the lives and beings of his creatures, whereby as 
he creates one day he might annihilate the next ; and by the same right 
that he might demand the life of Isaac, as being his creature, he might 
demand the obedience of Abraham, in a ready return of that to him which 
he had so long enjoyed by his grant. It is true, killing is unjust when it 
is done without cause, and by private authority ; but the authorit}' of God 
surmounts all private and public authority whatsoever. Our lives are due 
to him when he calls for them, and they are more than once forfeit to him 
by reason of transgression. But howsoever the case is, God commanded 
him to do it for the trial of his grace, but suffered him not to do it in favour 
to his ready obedience ; but had Isaac been actually slain and offered, how 
had it been unrighteous in God, who enacts laws for the regulation of 
his creature, but never intended them to the prejudice of the rights of his 
sovereignty ? Another case is that of the Israelites bori'owing jewels of the 
Eg}'ptians by the order of God, Exod. xi. 2, 3, xii. 36. Is not God Lord 
of men's goods, as well as their lives ? What have any they have not 
received, and that not as proprietors independent on God, but his stewards ? 
and may not he demand a portion of his steward to bestow upon his favourite ? 


242 chaknock's works. [Exod, XV. 11. 

He that had power to dispose of the Egyptians' goods, had power to order the 
Israelites to ask them. Besides, God acted the part of a just judge in 
ordering them their wages for their sei-vice in this method, and making their 
taskmasters give them some recompence for their unjust oppression so many 
years ; it was a command from God therefore, rather for the preservation of 
justice (the basis of all those laws which link human society), than any 
infringement of it. It was a material recompence in part, though not a 
formal one in the intention of the Egyptians ; it was but in part a recom- 
pence ; it must needs come short of the damage the poor captives had sus- 
tained by the tyranny of their masters, who had enslaved them contrary to 
the rules of hospitality, and could not make amends for the lives of the poor 
infants of Israel, whom they drowned in the river. He that might for the 
unjust oppression of his people have taken away all their lives, destroyed 
the whole nation, and put the Israelites into the possession of their lands, 
could without any unrighteousness dispose of part of their goods ; and it 
was rather an act of clemency to leave them some part, who had doubly 
forfeited all. Again, the Egyptians were as ready to lend by God's influence, 
as the Israelites were to ask by God's order; and though it was a loan, God, 
as sovereign of the world, and Lord of the earth and the fulness thereof, 
alienated the property by assuming them to the use of the tabernacle, to 
which service most, if not all, of them were afterwards dedicated. God, who 
is lawgiver, hath power to dispense with his own law, and make use of his 
own goods, and dispose of them as he pleases. It is no unholiness in God 
to dispose of that which he hath a right unto. Indeed, God cannot com- 
mand that which is in its own nature intrinsecally evil, as to command a 
rational creature not to love him, to call God to witness to a lie ; these are 
intrinsecally evil ; but for the disposing of the lives and goods of his 
creatures, which they have from him in right, and not in absolute propriety, 
is not evil in him, because there is no repugnancy in his own nature to such 
acts, nor is it anything inconsistent with the natural duty of a creature, and 
in such cases he may use what instruments he please. 

IV. The point was, that holiness is a glorious perfection of the nature of 
God. We have shewed the nature of this holiness in God, what it is, and 
we have demonstrated it, and proved that God is holy, and must needs be 
so, and also the purity of his nature in all his acts about sin. Let us now 
improve it by way of use. 

?' Use 1. Is holiness a transcendent perfection belonging to the nature of 
God ? The first use shall be of instruction and information. 

1. How great and how frequent is the contempt of this eminent perfection 
in the Deity ! Since the fall, this attribute, which renders God most amiable 
in himself, renders him most hateful to his apostate creature. It is impos- 
sible that he that loves iniquity can affect that which is irreconcilably con- 
trary to the iniquity he loves. Nothing so contrary to the sinfulness of man 
as the holiness of God, and nothing is thought of by the sinner with so 
much detestation. How do men account that, which is the most glorious 
perfection of the divinity, unworthy to be regarded as an accomplishment of 
their own souls ! And when they are pressed to an imitation of it, and a 
detestation of what is contrary to it, have the same sentiments in their heart 
which the devil had in his language to Christ, * Why art thou come to 
torment us before our time ? ' What an enmity the world naturally hath to 
this perfection, I think is visible in the practice of the heathen, who among 
all their heroes which they deified, elevated none to that dignity among them 
for this or that moral virtue that came nearest to it, but for their valour, or 

ExoD. XV. 11.] god's holiness. 243 

some usefulness in the concerns of this life. Jllsculapius was deified for his 
skill in the cure of diseases, Bacchus for the use of the grape, Vulcan for his 
operations hy fire, Hercules for his destroying of tyrants and monsters, but 
none for their mere virtue ; as if anything of purity were unworthy their 
consideration in the frame of a deity, when it is the glory of all other per- 
fections ; so essential it is, that when men reject the imitation of this, God 
regards it as a total rejection of himself, though they own all the other 
attributes of his nature : Ps. Ixxxi. 11, ' Israel would none of me.' Why? 
Because ' they walked not in his ways,' ver. 13, those ways wherein the 
purity of the divine nature was most conspicuous. They would own him in 
his power, when they stood in need of a deliverance ; they would own him 
in his mercy, when they were plunged in distress, but they would not imitate 
him in his holiness. This being the lustre of the divine nature, the con- 
tempt of it is an obscuring all his other perfections, and a dashing a blot 
upon his whole scutcheon. To own all the rest, and deny him this, is to 
frame him as an unbeautiful monster, a deformed power. Indeed, all sin is 
against this attribute, all sin aims in general at the being of God, but in 
particular at the holiness of his being. All sin is a violence to this per- 
fection. There is not an iniquity in the world, but directs its venomous 
sting against the divine purity. Some sins are directed against his omni- 
science, as secret wickedness ; some against his providence, as distrust ; 
some against his mercy, as unbelief; some against his wisdom, as neglect- 
ing the means instituted by him, censuring his ways and actings ; some 
against his power, as trusting in means more than in God, and the immo- 
derate fear of men more than of God ; some against his truth, as distrusting 
bis promise, or not fearing his threatening ; but all agree together in their 
enmity against this, which is the peculiar glory of the Deity. Every one of 
them is a receding from the divine image, and the blackness of every one is 
the deeper, by how much the distance of it from the holiness of God is 
the greater. This contrariety to the holiness of God is the cause of all the 
absolute atheism (if there be any such) in the world. What was the reason 
' the fool hath said in his heart. There is no God,' but because the fool is 
' corrupt, and hath done abominable works,' Ps. xiv. 1. If they believe the 
being of ^a God, their own reason will enforce them to imagine him holy ; 
therefore, rather than fancy a holy God, they would fain fancy none at all. 

In particular, 

(1.) The holiness of God is injured, in unworthy representations of God, 
and imaginations of him in our own minds. The heathen fell under his 
guilt, and ascribed to their idols those vices which their own sensuality in- 
clined them to, unworthy of a man, much more unworthy of a god, that 
they might find a protection of their crimes in the practice of their idols. 
But is this only the notion of the heathens ? May there not be many among 
us whose love to their lusts, and desires of sinning without control, move 
them to slander God in their thoughts rather than reform their lives, and 
are ready to frame, by the power of their imaginative faculty, a God not 
only winking, but smiling at their impurities ? I am sure God charges the 
impieties of men upon this score, in that psalm (Ps. 1. 21), which seems to 
be a representation of the day of judgment, as some gather from verse 6. 
When God sums up all together, ' These things hast thou done, and I kept 
silence ; thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself ;' not 
a detester but approver of thy crimes. And the psalmist seems to express 
God's loathing of sin in such a manner, as intimates it to be contrary to the 
ideas and resemblances men make of him in their minds : Ps. v. 4, ' For 
thou art not a God that hast pleasure in wickedness.' As we say in vindi- 

244 charnock's works. [Exod. XV. 11. 

cation of a man, he is not such a man as you imagine him to be ; thou art 
not such a Godi as the world commonly imagines thee to be, a God taking 
pleasure in iniquity. It is too common for men to fancy God not as he is, 
but as they would have him ; strip him of his excellency for their own 
security. As God made man after his image, man would dress God after 
his own modes, as may best suit the content of his lusts, and encourage him 
in a course of sinning ; for when they can frame such a notion of God, as 
if he were a countenancer of sin, they will derive from thence a reputation 
to their crimes, commit wickedness with an unbounded licentiousness, and 
crown their vices with the name of virtues, because they are so like to the 
sentiments of that God they fancy. From hence, as the psalmist in the 
psalm before mentioned, ariseth that mass of vice in the world ; such con- 
ceptions are the mother and nurse of all impiety, I question not but the first 
spring is some wrong notion of God in regard of his holiness. We are as 
apt to imagine God as we would have him, as the black Ethiopians were to 
draw the image of their gods after their own dark hue, and paint him with 
their own colour. As a philosopher in Theodoret speaks, if oxen and lions 
had hands, and could paint as men do, they would frame the images of 
their gods according to their own likeness and complexion. Such notions of 
God render him a swinish being, and worse than the vilest idols adored by 
the Egyptians, when men fancy a God indulgent to their appetites, and most 
sordid lusts. 

(2.) In defacing the image of God in our souls. God in the first draught 
of man conformed him to his own image, or made him an image of himself, 
because we find that in regeneration this image is renewed : Eph. iv. 24, 
* The new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holi- 
ness.' He did not take angels for his pattern in the first polishing the soul, 
but himself. In defacing this image, we cast dirt upon the holiness of God, 
which was his pattern in the framing of us, and rather choose to be conformed 
to Satan, who is God's grand enemy, to have God's image wiped out of us, 
and the devil's pictured in us. Therefore natural men in an unregenerate 
state may justly be called devils, since our Saviour called the worst man 
Judas so, John vi. 70, and Peter, one of the best, Mat. xvi. 23. And if 
this title be given by an infallible judge to one of the worst, and one of the 
best, it may without wrong to any be ascribed to all men that wallow in their 
sin, which is directly contrary to that illustrious image God did imprint upon 
them. How often is it seen that men control the light of their own nature, 
and stain the clearest beams of that candle of the Lord in their own spirits, 
that fly in the face of their own consciences, and say to them, as Ahab to 
Micaiah, Thou didst never jDrophesy good to me ; thou didst never encourage 
me in those things that are pleasing to the flesh ; and use it at the same 
rate as the wicked king did the prophet, * imprison it in unrighteousness,' 
Rom. i. 18, because it starts up in them sometimes sentiments of the hoH- 
ness of God, which it represents in the soul of man. How jolly are many 
men when the exhalations of their sensitive part rise up to cloud the exactest 
principle of moral nature in their minds, and render the monstrous principles 
of the law of corruption more hvely ! Whence ariseth the wickednes which 
hath been committed with an open face in the world, and the applause that 
hath been often given to the worst of villanies ? Have we not known among 
ourselves, men to glory in their shame, and esteem that a most genteel 
accomplishment of man which is the greatest blot upon his nature, and 
which, if it were upon God, would render him no God, but an impure devil, 
so that to be a gentleman among us hath been the same as to be an incarnate 
devil : and to be a man was to be no better, but worse than a brute ? Vile 

ExoD, XV. 11.] god's holiness. 245 

wretches ! Is not this a contempt of divine holiness, to kill that divine seed 
■which lies languishing in the midst of corrupted nature ? to cut up any 
sprouts of it as weeds unworthy to grow in their gardens, and cultivate what 
is the seed of hell ? prefer the rotten fruits of Sodom, marked with a divine 
curse, before those rehcs of the fruits of Eden, of God's own planting ? 

(3.) The holiness of God is injured in charging our sin upon God. No- 
thing is more natural to men than to seek excuses for their sin, and transfer 
it from themselves to the next at hand ; and rather than fail, shift it upon 
God himself; and if they can bring God into a society with them in sin, 
they will hug themselves in a security that God cannot punish that guilt, 
wherein he is a partner. Adam's children are not of a different disposition 
from Adam himself, who, after he was arraigned and brought to his trial, 
boggles not at flinging his dirt in the face of God his creator, and accuseth 
him as if he had given him the woman, not to be his help but his ruin : 
Gen. iii. 12, ' And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with 
me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.' He never supplicates for pardon, 
nor seeks a remedy, but reflects his crime upon God : had I been alone, as I 
was first created, I had not eaten, but the woman whom I received as a special 
gift from thee, hath proved my tempter and my bane. When man could not 
be like God in knowledge, he endeavoured to make God like him in his crime ; 
and when his ambition failed of equalising himself with God, he did, with an 
insolence too common to corrupted nature, attempt, by the imputation of his 
sin, to equal the divinity with himself. Some think Cain had the same 
sentiment in his answer to God's demand, where his brother was, Gen. iv. 9, 
' Am I my brother's keeper ?' Art not thou the keeper and governor of the 
world ? why didst not thou take care of him, and hinder my killing him, and 
drawing this guilt upon myself, and terror upon my conscience ? David 
was not behind, when after the murder of Uriah, he sweeps the dirt from 
his own door to God's : 2 Sam. xi. 25, ' The sword devoureth one as well 
as another,' fathering that solely upon divine providence, which was his 
own wicked contrivance ; though afterwards he is more ingenuous in clear- 
ing God, and charging himself : Ps. li. 4, ' Against thee, thee only, have I 
sinned ;' and he clears God in his judgment too. It is too common for 
' the foolishness of man to pervert his way,' and then ' his heart frets 
against the Lord,' Prov. xix. 3. He studies mischief, runs in a way of sin, 
and when he hath conjured up troubles to himself by his own folly, he 
excuseth himself, and with indignation charges God as the author both 
of his sin and misery, and sets his mouth against the heavens. It is a 
more horrible thing to accuse God as a principal or accessary in our guilt, 
than to conceive him to be a favourer of our iniquity ; yet both are bad 

(4.) The holiness of God is injured, when men will study arguments from 
the holy word of God to colour and shelter their crimes ; when men will 
seek for a shelter for their lies, in that of the midwives to preserve the 
children, or in that of Ptahab to save the spies ; as if because God rewarded 
their fidelity, he countenanced their sin. How often is Scripture wrested 
to be a plea for unbecoming practices, that God in his word may be imagined 
a patron for their iniquity ? It is not unknown that some have maintained 
their quaffing and carousing from Eccles. viii. 15, ' That a man hath no 
better thing under the sun, than to eat, and drink, and be merry ;' and 
their gluttony from Mat. xv. 11, ' That which goes into the belly defiles not 
a man.' The Jesuits' morals are a transcript of this. How often hath the 
passion of our Saviour, the highest expression of God's holiness, been em- 
ployed to stain it, and encourage the most debauched practices ' Grace 

246 CHAENOCk's WORKS. [EXOD. XV. 11. 

hath been turned into wantonness, and the abundance of grace been used 
as a blast to increase the flames of sin ; as if God had no other aim in that 
work of redemption, but to discover himself more indulgent to our sensual 
appetites, and by his severity with his Son, become more gracious to our 
lusts. This is to feed the roots of hell with the dews of heaven, to make 
grace a pander for the abuse of it, and to employ the expressions of his 
hohness in his word to be a sword against the essential holiness of his nature ; 
as if a man should draw an apology for his treason out of that law that was 
made to forbid, not to protect his rebellion. Not the meanest instrument 
in the temple was to be alienated from the use it was by divine order ap- 
pointed to, nor was it to be employed in any common use ; and shall the 
word of God, which is the image of his holiness, be transferred by base in- 
terpretations to be an advocate for iniquity ? Such an ill use of his word 
reflects upon that hand which imprinted those characters of purity and 
righteousness upon it ; as the misinterpretation of the wholesome laws of a 
prince, made to discourage debauchery, reflects upon his righteousness and 
sincerity in enacting them. 

(5.) The holiness of God is injured, when men will put up petitions to God 
to favour them in a wicked design. Such there are ; and taxed by the apostle, 
James iv. 3, ' Ye ask amiss, that you may consume it upon your lusts,' who 
desired mercies from God with an intent to make them instruments of sin 
and weapons of unrighteousness, as it is reported of a thief, that he always 
prayed for the success of his robbery. It hath not been rare in the 
world to appoint fasts and prayers for success in war manifestly unjust, and 
commenced upon breaches of faith. Many covetous men petition God to 
prosper them in their unjust gain, as if the blessed God sat in his pure 
majesty upon the throne of grace to espouse unjust practices, and make 
iniquity prosperous. There are such as ofler sacrifice with an evil mind, 
Prov. xxi. 27, to barter with God for a divine blessing to spirit a wicked 
contrivance. How great a contempt of the holiness of God is this ! How 
inexcusable would it be for a favourite to address himself to a just prince 
with this language : Sir, I desire a boon of such lands that lie near me for 
an addition to my estate, that I may have supports' for my debauchery, an^ 
be able to play the villain more powerfully among my neighbours ; hereby 
he implies that his prince is a friend to such crimes and wickedness he in-, 
tends his petition for. Is not this the language of many men's hearts in 
the immediate presence of God ? The order of prayer runs thus, ' Hallowed 
be thy name,' first to have a deep sense of the holiness of the divine nature, 
and an ardent desire for the glory of it. This order is inverted by asking those 
things which are not agreeable to the will of God, not meet for us to ask, 
nor meet for God to give, or asking things agreeable to the will of God, but 
with a wicked intention ; this is, in effect, to desire God to strip himself 
of his holiness, and commit sacrilege upon his own nature to gratify our 

(6.) The purity of God is contemned in hating and scofiing at the holi- 
ness which is in a creature. Whosoever looks upon the holiness of a creature 
as an unlovely thing, can have no good opinion of the amiableness of divine 
purity. Whosoever hates those quahties and graces that resemble God in any 
person, must needs contemn the original pattern which is more eminent in 
God. If there be no comeliness in a creature's holiness to render it grateful 
to us, we should say of God himself, were he visible among us, with those in 
the prophet, Isa, liii., ' There is no beauty in him that we should desire 
him.' Hohness is beautiful in itself. If God be the most lovely being, that 
which is a Hkeness to him, so far as it doth resemble him, must needs be 

ExoD. XY. 11.] god's holiness. 247 

amiable, because it partakes of God ; and therefore those that see no beauty 
in an inferior holiness, but contemn it because it is a purity above them, 
contemn God much more. He that hates that which is imperfect merely for 
that excellency which is in it, doth much more hate that which is perfect 
without any mixture or stain. Holiness being the glory of God, the pecu- 
liar title of the Deity, and from him derived unto the nature of a creature, 
he that mocks this in a person derides God himself ; and when he cannot abuse 
the purity in the Deity, he will do it in his image, as rebels that cannot 
wrong the king in his person will do it in his picture, and his subjects that 
are loyal to him. He that hates the picture of a man, hates the person re- 
represented by it much more ; he that hates the beams, hates the sun. The 
holiness of a creature is but a beam from that infinite sun, a stream from 
that eternal fountain. Where there is a derision of the purity of any crea- 
ture, there is a greater reflection upon God in that derision, as he is the 
author of it. If a mixed and stained holiness be more the subject of any 
man's scoffs than a great deal of sin, that person hath a disposition more 
roundly to scoff at God himself, should he appear in that unblemished and 
unspotted purity which infinitely shines in his nature. Oh, it is a dangerous 
thing to scoif and deride holiness in any person, though never so mean ; such 
do deride and scoff at the most holy God. 

(7.) The holiness of God is injured by our unprepared addresses to him, 
when, like swine, we come into the presence of God with all our mire reek- 
ing and steaming upon us. A holy God requires a holy worship ; and if 
our best duties, having filth in every part as performed by us, are unmeet 
for God, how much more unsuitable are dead and dirty duties to a living and 
immense holiness ! Slight approaches and drossy frames speak us to have 
imaginations of God as of a slight and sottish being ; this is worse than the 
heathens practised, who would purge their flesh before they sacrificed, and make 
some preparations in a seeming purity, before they would enter into their 
temples. God is so holy, that, were our services as refined as those of angels, 
we could not present him with a service meet for his holy nature, Josh. 
xxiv. 19. We contemn, then, this perfection when we come before him with- 
out due preparation, as if God himself were of an impure nature, and did 
not deserve our purest thoughts in our applications to him, as if any blemished 
and polluted sacrifice were good enough for him, and his nature deserved no 
better. When we excite not those elevated fi-ames of spirit which are due 
to such a being, when we think to put him off" with a lame and imperfect 
service, we worship him not according to the excellency of his nature, but put 
a slight upon his majestic sanctity, when we nourish in our duties those 
foolish imaginations which creep upon us, when we bring into and continue 
our worldly, carnal, debauched fancies in his presence, worse than the nasty 
servants or bemired dogs a man would blush to be attended with in his visits 
to a neat person. To be conversing with sordid sensualities when we are 
at the feet of an infinite God, sitting upon the throne of his holiness, is as 
much a contempt of him, as it would be of a prince, to bring a vessel full of 
nasty dung with us, when we come to present a petition to him clothed in 
his royal robes ; or, as it would have been to God, if the high priest should 
have swept all the blood and excrements of the sacrifices from the foot of the 
altar into the holy of holies, and heaped it up before the mercy-seat, where 
the presence of God dwelt between the cherubims, and afterwards shovelled 
it up into the ark, to be lodged with Aaron's rod and the pot of manna. 

(B.) God's holiness is slighted in depending upon our imperfect services to 
bear us out before the tribunal of God. This is too ordinary ; the Jews were 
often infected with it, Kom. iii. 10, who not well understanding the enormity 

248 chaknock's works. [Exod. XV. 11. 

of their transgressions, the interweaving of sin with their services, and the 
unspottedness of the divine purity, mingled an opinion of merit with their 
sacrifices, and thought by the cutting the throat of a beast, and offering it 
upon God's altar, they had made a sufficient compensation to that holiness 
they had ofi"ended ; not to speak of many among the Romanists who have 
the same notion, thinking to make satisfaction to God by erecting an hospital 
or endowing a church, as if this injured perfection could be contented with 
the dregs of their purses, and the offering of an unjust mammon, more 
likely to mind God of the injury they have done him, than contribute to the 
appeasing of him. But is it not too ordinary with miserable men, whose 
consciences accuse them of their crimes, to rely upon the mumblings of a 
few formal prayers, and in the strength of them to think to stand before the 
tremendous tribunal of God, and meet with a discharge upon this account 
from any accusation this divine perfection can present against them ? Nay, 
do not the best Christians sometimes find a principle in them that makes 
them stumble in their goings forth to Christ, and glorifying the holiness of 
God in that method which he hath appointed ; sometimes casting an eye at 
their grace, and sticking awhile to this or that duty, and gazing at the glory 
of the temple building, while they should more admire the glorious presence 
that fills it ? WTiat is all this but a vilifying of the holiness of the divine nature, 
as though it would be well enough contented with our impurities and imperfec- 
tions, because they look like a righteousness in our estimation ? As though dross 
and dung, which are the titles the apostle gives to all the righteousness of a 
fallen creature, Philip, iii. 3, were valuable in the sight of God, and sufficient 
to render us comely before him. It is a blasphemy against this attribute, 
to pretend that anything so imperfect, so daubed, as the best of our services 
are, can answer to that which is infinitely perfect, and be a ground of de- 
manding eternal life : it is at best to set up a gilded Dagon as a fit com- 
panion for the ark of his holiness, our own righteousness as a suitable mate 
for the righteousness of God, as if he had repented of the claim he made by 
the law to an exact conformity, and thrown off" the holiness of his nature for 
the fondling of a corrupted creature. Rude and foolish notions of the 
divine purity are clearly evidenced by any confidence in any righteousness 
of our own, though never so splendid. It is a rendering the righteousness 
of God as dull and obscure as that of men, a mere outside as their own, as 
blind as the heathens pictured their Fortune, that knew as little how to dis- 
cern the nature and value of the ofierings made to her, as to distribute her 
gifts, as if it were all one to them to have a dog or a lamb presented in sacrifice. 
As if God did not well understand his own nature when he enacted so holy a 
law, and strengthened it with so severe a threatening, which must follow 
upon our conceit, that he will accept a righteousness lower than that which 
bears some suitableness to the holiness of his own nature and that of his 
law, and that he could easily be put ofi" with a pretended and counter- 
feit service ! What are the services of the generality of men, but suppositions 
that they can bribe God to an indulgence of them in their sins, and by an 
oral sacrifice cause him to divest himself of his hatred of their former^ini- 
quities, and countenance their following practices ? As the harlot that would 
return fresh to her uncleanness, upon the confidence that her peace -offerings 
had contented the righteousness of God, Prov. vii. 14 ; as though a small 
service could make him wink at our sins and lay aside the glory of his nature, 
when, alas ! the best duties in the most gracious persons in this life, are but 
as the streams of a spiced dunghill, a composition of myrrh and froth, since 
there are swarms of corruptions in their nature, and secret sins that they 
need a cleansing from ! 

ExoD. XV. 11.] god's holiness. 249 

(9.) It is a contemning the holiness of God when we charge the law of 
God with rigidness. We cast dirt upon the holiness of God when we blame 
the law of God, because it shackles us, and prohibits our desired pleasures; 
and hate the law of God, as they did the prophets, because they did not 
' prophesy smooth things,' but called to them to ' get them out of the way, 
and turn aside out of the path, and cause the Holy One of Israel to cease 
from before them,' Isa. xxx. 10, 11. Put us no more in mind of the holi- 
ness of God and the holiness of his law ; it is a troublesome thing for us to 
hear of it. Let him be gone from us, since he will not countenance our 
vices and indulge our crimes. We would rather hear there is no God, than 
you should tell us of a holy one. We are contrary to the law when we wish 
it were not so exact, and therefore contrary to the holiness God, which set 
the stamp of exactness and righteousness upon it. We think him injurious 
to our liberty when by his precept he thwarts our pleasure; we wish it of 
another frame, more mild, more suitable to our minds. It is the same as if we 
should openly blame God for consulting with his own righteousness, and not 
with our humours, before he settled his law ; that he should not have drawn 
it from the depths of his righteous nature, but squared it to accommodate 
our corruption. 

This being the language of such complaints, is a reproving God because 
he would not be unholy, that we might be unrighteous with impunity. Had 
the divine law been suited to our corrupt state, God must have been unholy 
to have complied with his rebellious creature. To charge the law with rigid- 
ness, either in language or practice, is the highest contempt of God's holi- 
ness ; for it is an implicit wish that God were as defiled, polluted, disorderly, 
as our corrupted selves. 

(10.) The holiness of God is injured opinionatively. 

[l.J In the opinion of venial sins. The Romanists divide sins into venial 
and mortal. Mortal are those which deserve eternal death ; venial the lighter 
sort of sins, which rather deserve to be pardoned than punished, or if 
punished, not with an eternal, but temporal punishment. This opinion 
hath no foundation in, but is contrary to. Scripture. How can any sin be 
in its own nature venial, when the due ' wages of every sin is death,' Rom. 
vi. 23 ; and he who ' continues not in everything that the law commands ' 
falls under a curse. Gal. iii. 10. It is a mean thought of the holiness and 
majesty of God to imagine that any sin which is against an infinite majesty, 
and as infinite a purity both in the nature of God and the law of God, 
should not be considered as infinitely heinous. All sins are transgressions 
of the eternal law, and in every one the infinite holiness of God is some way 

[2.] In the opinion of works of supererogation; that is, such works as 
are not commanded by God, which yet have such a dignity and worth in 
their own nature, that the performers of them do not only merit at God's 
hands for themselves, but fill up a treasure of merit for others that come 
short of fulfilling the precepts God hath enjoined. It is such a mean thought 
of God's holiness, that the Jews, in all the charges brought against them in 
Scripture, were never guilty of. And if you consider what pitiful things 
they are which are within the compass of such works, you have sufficient 
reason to bewail the ignorance of man, and the low esteem he hath of so 
glorious a perfection. The whipping themselves often in a week, extra- 
ordinary watchings, fastings, macerating their bodies, wearing a Capuchin's 
habit, &c., are pitiful things to give content to an infinite purity: as if the 
precept of God required only the inferior degrees of virtue, and the coun- 
sels the more high and excellent ; as if the law of God, which the psalmist 

250 charnock's works. [Exod. XV. 11. 

counts perfect, Ps. xix. 7, did not command all good and forbid all evil ; 
as if the holiness of God had forgotten itself in the framing the law, and 
made it a scanty and defective rule ; and the righteousness of a creature 
were not only able to make an eternal righteousness, but surmount it. As 
man would be at first as knowing as God, so some of his posterity would be 
more holy than God, set up a wisdom against the wisdom of God, and a 
purity above the divine purity. Adam was not so presumptuous, he in- 
tended no more than an equalling God in knowledge ; but those would 
exceed him in righteousness, and not only presume to render a satisfaction 
for themselves to the holiness they have injured, but to make a purse for 
the supply of others that are indigent, that they may stand before the 
tribunal of God with a confidence in the imaginary righteousness of a crea- 
ture. How horrible is it for those that come short of the law of God them- 
selves, to think that they can have enough for a loan to their neighbours ! 
An unworthy opinion. 

2. Information. It may inform us how great is our fall from God, and 
liow distant we are from him. View the holiness of God, and take a pro- 
spect of the nature of man, and be astonished to see a person created in the 
divine image degenerated into the image of the devil. We are as far fallen 
from the holiness of God, which consists in a hatred of sin, as the lowest 
point of the earth is from the highest point of the heavens. The devil is 
not more fallen from the rectitude of his nature and likeness to God than we 
are ; and that we are not in the same condition with those apostate spirits, 
is not from anything in our nature, but from the mediation of Christ, upon 
which account God hath indulged in us a continuance of some remainders of 
that which Satan is wholly deprived of. We are departed from our original 
pattern; we were created to live the life of God, that is, a life of holiness, 
but now we are 'alienated from the life of God,' Eph. iv. 18; and of a beau- 
tiful piece we are become deformed, daubed over with the most defiling mud. 
We 'work uncleanness with greediness,' according to our ability as crea- 
tures, as God doth work holiness with affection and ardency, according to 
his infiniteness as creator. More distant we are from God by reason of sin 
than the vilest creature, the most deformed toad or poisonous serpent, is 
from the highest and most glorious angel. By forsaking our innocence, we 
departed from God as our original copy. The apostle might well say, Rom. 
iii. 23, that by sin we are ' come short of the glory of God.' Interpreters 
trouble themselves much about that place, ' Man is come short of the glory 
of God,' that is, of the holiness of God, which is the glory of the divine 
nature, and was pictured in the rational, innocent creature. By the glory 
of God is meant the holiness of God ; as 2 Cor. iii. 18, ' Beholding as in a 
glass the glory of the Lord, we are changed into the same image from glory 
to glory; ' that is, the glory of God in the text, into the image of which we 
are changed ; but the Scripture speaks of no other image of God but that of 
holiness. We are come short of the glory of God, of the holiness of God, 
which is the glory of God ; and the image of it, which was the glory of 
man. By sin, which is particular in opposition to the purity of God, man 
was left many leagues behind any resemblance to God; he stripped off that 
which was the glory of his nature, and was the only means of glorifying God 
as his creator. The word vari^ouvTai, the apostle uses, is very significant, 
2JOSt.poned by sin, an infinite distance from any imitation of God's holiness, 
or any appearance before him in a garb of nature pleasing to him. Let us 
lament our fall and distance from God. 

3. Information. All unholiness is vile and opposite to the nature of God. 
It is such a loathsome thing, that the purity of God's eye is averse from 

ExoD. XV. 11.] god's holiness. 251 

beholding, Hab. i. 3. It is not said there that he will not, but he cannot 
look on evil ; there cannot be any amicableness between God and sin, the 
natures of both ai'e so directly and unchangeably contrary to one another. 
Holiness is the life of God, it endures as long as his life ; he must be eter- 
nally averse from sin, he can live no longer than he lives in the hatred and 
loathing of it. If he should for one instant cease to hate it, he would cease 
to live. To be a holy God is as essential to him as to be a living God ; and 
he would not be a living, but a dead God, if he were in the least point of 
time an unholy God. He cannot look on sin without loathing it, he cannot 
look on sin but his heart riseth against it. It must needs be most odious 
to him, as that which is against the glory of his nature, and directly oppo- 
site to that which is the lustre and varnish of all his other perfections. It is 
the ' abominable thing which his soul hates,' Jer. xliv. 4 ; the vilest terms 
imaginable are used to signify it. Do you understand the loathsomeness 
of a miry swine, or the nauseousness of the vomit of a dog ? These are 
emblems of sin, 2 Peter ii. 22. Can you endure the steams of putrefied 
carcasses from an open sepulchre ? Rom. iii. 23. Is the smell of the stink- 
ing sweat or excrements of a body delightful ? the word '^u-agla in James 
i. 21 signifies as much. Or is the sight of a body overgrown with scabs 
and leprosy grateful to you ? So vile, so odious is sin in the sight of God. 
It is no light thing, then, to fly in the face of God, to break his eternal law, 
to dash both the tables in pieces, to trample the transcript of God's own nature 
under our feet, to cherish that which is inconsistent with his honour, to lift 
up our heels against the glory of his nature, to join issue with the devil in 
stabbing his heart and depriving him of his life. Sin, in every part of it, 
is an opposition to the holiness of God, and consequently an envying him a 
being and life as well as a glory. If sin be such a thing, ' ye that love the 
Lox'd hate evil.' 

4. Information. Sin cannot escape a due punishment. A hatred of 
unrighteousness, and consequently a will to punish it, is as essential to God-as 
a love of righteousness. Since he is not as an heathen idol, but hath eyes 
to see, and purity to hate every iniquity, he will have an infinite justice to 
punish whatsoever is against infinite holiness. As he loves everything that is 
amiable, so he loathes everything that is filthy, and that consequently without 
any change ; his whole nature is set against it, he abhors nothing but this. 
It is not the devil's knowledge or activity that his hatred is terminated in, but 
the malice and unholiness of his nature ; it is this only is the object of his 
severity. It is in the recompence of this only that there can be a manifes- 
tation of his justice. 

Sin must be punished ; for, 

(1.) His detestation of sin must be manifested. How should we certainly 
know his loathing of it, if he did not manifest by some act how ungrateful it 
is to him ? As his love to righteousness would not appear without rewarding 
it, so his hatred of iniquity would be as little evidenced without punishmg 
it. His justice is the great witness to his purity. The punishment, there- 
fore, inflicted on the wicked, shall be, in some respect, as great as the rewards 
bestowed upon the righteous. Since the hatred of sin is natural to God, it 
is as natural to him to shew one time or other his hatred of it ; and since 
men have a conceit that God is like them in impurity, there is a necessity 
of some manifestation of himself to be infinitely distant from those conceits 
they have of him : Ps. 1. 21, • I will reprove thee, and set them in order 
before thine eyes.' He would also encourage the injuries done to his holi- 
ness, favour the extravagancies of the creature, and condemn, or at least 
slight, the righteousness both of his own nature and his sovereign law. What 

252 chaenock's works. [Exod. XV. 11. 

way is there for God to manifest this hatred, but by threatening the sinner? 
And what would this be but a vain aifrightment, and ridiculous to the sin- 
ner, if it were never to be put in execution ? There is an indissoluble con- 
nection between his hatred of sin and punishment of the ofi'ender : Ps. xi. 
5, 6, ' The wicked his soul hates : upon the wicked he shall rain snares, fire 
and brimstone,' &c. He cannot approve of it without denying himself, and 
a total impunity would be a degree of approbation. 

The displeasure of God is eternal and irreconcilable against sin ; for sin 
being absolutely contrary to his holy nature, he is eternally contrary to it. 
If there be not therefore a way to separate the sin from the sinner, the sin- 
ner must lie under the displeasure of God ; no displeasure can be manifested 
without some marks of it upon the person that lies under that displeasure. 
The holiness of God will right itself of the wrongs done to it, and scatter 
the profaners of it at the greatest distance from him, which is the greatest 
punishment that can be inflicted ; to be removed far from the fountain of 
life is the worst of deaths. God can as soon lay aside his purity, as always 
forbear his displeasure against an impure person ; it is all one not to hate it, 
and not to manifest his hatred of it, 

(2.) As his holiness is natural and necessary, so is the punishment of 
unholiness necessary to him. It is necessary that he should abominate sin, 
and therefore necessary he should discountenance it. The severities of God 
against sin are not vain scarecrows, they have their foundation in the right- 
eousness of his nature ; it is because he is a righteous and holy God, that 
he ' will not forgive our transgressions and sins,' Josh. xxiv. 19, that is, that 
he will punish them. The throne of his holiness is a ' fiery flame,' Dan. 
vii. 9, there is both a pure light and a scorching heat. Whatsoever is con- 
trary to the nature of God, will fall under the justice of God ; he would else 
violate his own nature, deny his own perfection, seem to be out of love with 
his own glory and life. He doth not hate it out of choice, but from the 
immutable propension of his nature ; it is not so free an act of his will as the 
creation of man and angels, which he might have forborne as well as efi"ected. 
As the detestation of sin results from the universal rectitude of his nature, 
so the punishment of sin follows upon that, as he is the righteous governor 
of the world. It is as much against his nature not to punish it, as it is 
against his nature not to loathe it ; he would cease to be holy, if he ceased 
to hate it ; and he would cease to hate it, if he ceased to punish it. Neither 
the obedience of our Saviour's life, nor the strength of his cries, could put a 
bar to the cup of his passion ; God so hated sin, that when it was but im- 
puted to his Son, without any commission of it, he would bring a hell upon 
his soul. Certainly, if God could have hated sin without punishing it, his 
Son had never felt the smart of his wrath. His love to his Son had been 
strong enough to have caused him to forbear, had not the holiness of his 
nature been stronger, to move him to inflict a punishment according to the 
demerit of his sin. God cannot but be holy, therefore cannot but be just, 
because injustice is a part of unholiness. 

(3.) Therefore there can be no communion between God and unholy 
spirits. How is it conceivable that God should hate the sin, and cherish 
the sinner with all his filth in his bosom ; that he should eternally detest 
the crime, and eternally fold the sinner in his arms ? Can less be expected 
from the purity of his nature, than to separate an impure soul, as long as it 
remains so ? Can there be any delightful communion between those whose 
natures are contrary ? Darkness and light may as soon kiss each other, and 
become one nature ? God and the devil may as soon enter into an eternal 
league and covenant together. For God to ' have pleasure in wickedness,* 

ExoD. XV. 11. J god's holiness. 253 

and to admit ' evil to dwell with him,' 'are things equally impossible to his 
nature, Ps. v. 4 ; while he hates impurity, he cannot have communion with 
an impure person. It may as soon be expected that God should hate him- 
self, offer violence to his own nature, lay aside his purity as an abominable 
thing, and blot his own glory, as love an impure person, entertain him as his 
delight, and set him in the same heaven and happiness with himself, and 
his holy angels ; he must needs loathe him, he must needs banish him from 
his presence, which is the greatest punishment. God's holiness and hatred 
of sin necessarily infer the punishment of it. 

5. Information. There is therefore a necessity of the satisfaction of the 
holiness of God by some sufficient mediator. The divine purity could not 
meet with any acquiescence in all mankind after the fall. Sin was hated, 
the sinner would be ruined, unless some way were found out to repair the 
wrongs done to the holiness of God ; either the sinner must be condemned 
for ever, or some satisfaction must be made, that the holiness of the divine 
nature might eternally appear in its full lustre. That it is essential to the 
nature of God to hate all unrighteousness, as that which was absolutely 
repugnant to his nature, none do question. That the justice of God is so 
essential to him, as that sin could not be pardoned without satisfaction, some 
do question ; though this latter seems rationally to follow upon the former.* 
That holiness is essential to the nature of God is evident, because else God 
may as much be conceived without purity, as he might be conceived without 
the creating the sun or stars. No man can in his right wits frame a right 
notion of a deity without purity. It w^ould be a less blasphemy against the 
excellency of God, to conceit him not knowing, than to imagine him not 
holy; and for the essentialness of his justice, Joshua joins both his holiness and 
his jealousy as going hand in hand together : Josh. xxiv. 19, ' He is a holy 
God, he is a jealous God, he will not forgive your sin.' 

But consider only the purity of God, since it is contrary to sin, and con- 
sequently hating the sinner ; the guilty person cannot be reduced to God, 
nor can the hohness of God have any complacency in a filthy person, but as 
fire hath in stubble, to consume it. How the holy God should be bi'ought 
to delight in man, without a salvo for the rights of his holiness, is not to be 
conceived without an impeachment of the nature of God. The law could 
not be abolished ; that would reflect indeed upon the righteousness of the 
lawgiver ; to abolish it, because of sin, would imply a change of the rectitude 
of his nature. Must he change his holiness for the sake of that which was 
against his holiness, in a compliance with a profane and unrighteous creature ? 
This should engage him rather to maintain his law than to null it. And to 
abrogate his law as soon as he had enacted it, since sin stepped into the 
world presently after it, would be no credit to his wisdom. 

There must be a reparation made of the honour of God's holiness ; by 
ourselves it could not be without condemnation, by another it could not be 
•without a sufficiency in the person ; no creature could do it. All the 
creatures being of a finite nature, could not make a compensation for the 
disparagements of infinite holiness. He must have despicable and vile 
thoughts of this excellent perfection, that imagines that a few tears, and the 
glavering fawnings at the death of a creature, can be sufficient to repair the 
wrongs, and restore the rights of this attribute. It must therefore be such 
a compensation as might be commensurate to the holiness of the divine 
nature and the divine law, which could not be wrought by any but him that 
was possessed of a Godhead, to give eflicacy and exact congruity to it. The 
person designed and appointed by God for so great an affair, was ' one in 
* Tiirretin. de Satisfac. p. 8. 

254 charnock's works. [Exod. XV. 11. 

the form of God, one equal with God,' Philip, ii. 6; who could not be termed 
by such a title of dignity if he had not been equal to God in the universal 
rectitude of the divine nature, and therefore in his holiness. The punish- 
ment due to sin is translated to that person for the righting divine holiness, 
and the righteousness of that person is communicated to the sinner for the 
pardon of the offending creature. 

If the sinner had been eternally damned, God's hatred of sin had been 
evidenced by the strokes of his justice ; but his mercy to a siuner had lain 
in obscurity. If the sinner had been pardoned and saved without such a 
reparation, mercy had been evident ; but his holiness had hid its head for 
ever in his own bosom. There was therefore a necessity of such a way to 
manifest his purity, and j'et to bring forth his mercy, that mercy might not 
alway sigh for the destruction of the creature, and that holiness might not 
mourn for the neglect of its honour. 

6. Information. Hence it will follow, there is no justification of a sinner 
by anything in himself. After sin had set foot in the world, man could 
present nothing to God acceptable to him, or bearing any proportion to the 
holiness of his law, till God set forth a person upon whose account the 
acceptation of our persons and services is founded : Eph. i. G, ' Who hath 
made us accepted in the beloved.' The infinite purity of God is so glorious, 
that it shames the holiness of angels, as the light of the sun dims the light 
of the fire ; much more will the righteousness of fallen man, who is vile, and 
' drinks up iniquity like water,' vanish into nothing in his presence. With 
what self-abasement and abhorrence ought he to be possessed, that comes as 
short of the angels in purity as a dunghill doth of a star ! The highest 
obedience that ever was performed by any mere man, since lapsed nature, 
cannot challenge any acceptance with God, or stand before so exact an 
inquisition. What person hath such a clear innocence, and unspotted 
obedience in such a perfection, as in any degree to suit the holiness of the 
divine nature ! Ps. cxliii. 2, ' Enter not into judgment with thy servant, 
for in thy sight shall no man living be justified.' If God should debate the 
case simply with man in his own person, without respecting the mediator, 
he were not able to ' answer one of a thousand.' Though we are his 
servants, as David was, and perform a sincere service, yet there are many 
little motes and dust of sin in the best works, that cannot be undiscovered 
from the eye of his holiness ; and if we come short in the least of what the 
law requires, we are ' guilty of all,' James ii. 10. So that ' in thy sight shall 
no man living be justified ; ' in the sight of thy infinite holiness, which 
hates the least spot ; in the sight of thy infinite justice, which punishes the 
least transgression. 

God would descend below his own nature, and vilify both his knowledge 
and purity, should he accept that for a righteousness and holiness which is 
not so in itself ; and nothing is so which hath the least stain upon it con- 
trary to the nature of God. The most holy saints in Scripture, upon a 
prospect of his purity, have cast away all confidence in themselves ; every 
flash of the divine purity has struck them into a deep sense of their own 
impurity and shame for it : Job xlii. 6, ' Wherefore I abhor myself in dust 
and ashes.' What can the language of any man be that lies under a sense 
of infinite holiness, and his own defilement in the least, but that of the 
prophet : Isa. vi. 5, ' Woe is me, I am undone ' 1 And what is there in the 
world can administer any other thought than this, unless God be considered 
in Christ, ' reconciling the world to himself ; ' as a holy God, so righted 
as that he can dispense with the condemnation of a sinner without dispensing 
with his hatred of sin ; pardoning the sin in the criminal, because it hath 

ExoD. XV. 11.] god's holiness. 255 

been punished in the surety. That righteousness which God hath ' set 
forth' for justification is not our own, but a ' righteousness which is of God,' 
Philip, iii. 9, 10, of God's appointing, and of God's performing; appointed 
by the Father, who is God, and performed by the Son, who is one with the 
Father ; a righteousness surmounting that of all the glorious angels, since 
it is an immutable one, which can never fail, an ' everlasting righteousness,' 
Dan. ix. 24 ; a righteousness wherein the holiness of God can acquiesce, as 
considered in itself, because it is a righteousness of one equal with God, 
As we therefore dishonour the divine majesty, when we insist upon our own 
bemired righteousness for our justification (as if a ' mortal man were as just 
as God,' and a 'man as pure as his maker,' Job iv. 17), so we highly 
honour the purity of his nature when we charge ourselves with folly, acknow- 
ledge ourselves unclean, and accept of that righteousness which gives a full 
content to his infinite purity. There can be no justification of a sinner by 
aaything in himself. 

7. It informs us, if holiness be a glorious perfection of the divine nature, 
then the deity of Christ might be argued from hence. He is indeed di"ai- 
fied with the title of 'the Holy One,' Acts iii. 14, 16, a title often given to 
God in the Old Testament ; and he i^ called, ' The holy of holies,' Dan. 
ix. 24; but because the angels seem to be termed holy ones, Dan. iv. 13, 17, 
and the most sacred place in the temple was also called the holy of holies, 
I shall not insist upon that. But you find our Saviour particularly applauded 
by the angels, as holy, when this perfection of the divine nature, together 
with the incommunicable name of God, are linked together, and 'ascribed 
to him : Isa. vi. 3, ' Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts : and the 
whole earth is full of his glory,' which the apostle interprets of Christ, 
John xii. 39, 41. 'Isaiah [saith] again, 'He hath blinded their eyes, and 
hardened their hearts ; that they should not see with their eyes, nor under- 
stand with their hearts, and be converted, and I should heal them. These 
things said Isaiah, when he saw his glory, and spake of him.' He that 
Isaiah saw environed with the seraphims in a reverential posture before his 
face, and praised as most holy by them, was the true and eternal God ; such 
acclamations belong to none but the great Jehovah, God blessed for ever. 
But, saith John, it was the glory of Christ that Isaiah saw in this vision ; 
Christ therefore is ' God blessed for ever,' of whom it was said, ' Holy, holy, 
holy. Lord God of hosts.'* The evangelist had been speaking of Christ, 
the miracles which he wrought, the obstinacy of the Jews against believing 
on him ; his (flonj therefore is to be referred to the subject he had been 
speaking of. The evangelist was not speaking of the Father, but of the 
Son, and cites those words out of Isaiah ; not to teach anything of the 
Father, but to shew that the Jews could not believe in Christ. He speaks 
of him that had wrought so many miracles ; but Christ wrought those 
miracles ; he speaks of him whom the Jews refused to believe on ; bat 
Christ was the person they would not believe on, while they acknowledged 
God. It was the glory of this person Isaiah saw, and this person Isaiah 
spake of, if the words of the evangelist be of any credit. The angels are 
too holy to give acclamations belonging to God, to any but him that is God. 

8. It informs us that God is fully fit for the government of the world. 
The righteousness of God's nature qualifies him to be judge of the world. 
If he were not perfectly righteous and holy, he were uncapable to govern 
and judge the world : Rom. iii. 5, ' If there be unrighteousness with God, 
bow shall he judge the world ?' ' God will not do wickedly, neither will 
the Almighty pervert judgment,' Job xxxiv 12. How despicable is a judge 

* Placeus de Deitat. Christi in locum. 

256 chaenock's works. [Exod. XV. 11. 

that wants innocence ! As omniscience fits God to be a judge, so holiness 
fits him to be a righteous judge : Ps. i. 6, ' The Lord knows,' that is, loves, 
• the way of the righteous : but the way of the ungodly shall perish.' 
' 9. Information. If holiness be an eminent perfection of the divine 
nature, the Christian religion is of a divine extraction. It discovers the 
holiness of God, and forms the creature to a conformity to him. It gives 
us a prospect of his nature, represents him in the ' beauty of holiness,' Ps. 
ex. 3, more than the whole glass of the creation. It is in this evangelical 
glass the glory of the Lord is beheld, and rendered amiable and imitable, 
2 Cor. iii. 18. It is a doctrine * according to godliness,' 1 Tim. vi. 3, 
directing us to live the life of God ; a life worthy of God, and worthy of our 
first creation by his hand. It takes us off from ourselves, fixeth us upon a 
noble end, points our actions and the scope of our lives to God. It quells 
the monsters of sin, discountenanceth the motes of wickedness ; and it is 
no mean argument for the divinity of it, that it sets us no lower a pattern 
for our imitation, than the holiness of the divine majesty. God is exalted 
upon the throne of his holiness in it, and the creature advanced to an image 
and resemblance of it : 1 Peter i. 16, * Be ye holy, for I am holy.' 

Use 2. The second use is for comfort. This attribute frowns upon lapsed 
nature, but smiles in the restorations made by the gospel. God's holiness, 
in conjunction with his justice, is terrible to a guilty sinner, but now, in 
conjunction with his mercy, by the satisfaction of Christ, it is sweet to a 
believing penitent. In the first covenant, the purity of his nature was 
joined with the rigours of his justice ; in the second covenant, the purity of 
his nature is joined with the sweetness and tenderness of his mercy. In 
the one, justice flames against the sinner in the right of injured holiness ; 
in the other, mercy yearns towards a believer, with the consent of righted 
holiness. To rejoice in the holiness of God is the true and genuine spirit 
of a renewed man : ' My heart rejoiceth in the Lord.' What follows ? 
' There is none holy as the Lord,' 1 Sam. ii. 1, 2. Some perfections of the 
divine nature are astonishing, some afi'righting, but this may fill us both with 
astonishment at it, and a joy in it. 

1. By covenant we have an interest in this attribute as well as any other. 
In that clause of God's being our God, entire God with all his glory, all his 
perfections are passed over as a portion, and a gracious soul is brought into 
union with God as his God, not with a part of God, but with God in the 
simplicity, extent, integrity of his nature, and therefore in this attribute. 
And upon some account it may seem more in this attribute than in any other, 
for if he be our God, he is our God in his life and glory, and therefore in 
his purity especially, without which he could not live, he could not be happy 
and blessed. Little comfort will it be to have a dead God or a vile God 
made over us, and, as by this covenant he is our Father, so he gives us his 
nature, and communicates his holiness in all his dispensations, and in those 
that are severest as well as those that are sweetest : Heb. xii. 10, ' But he 
corrects us for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness.' Not 
simply ' partakers of holiness ' but of ' his holiness,' to have a portraiture of 
it in our nature, a medal of it in our hearts, a spark of the same nature 
with that immense splendour and flame in himself. The holiness of a 
covenant soul is a resemblance of the holiness of God, and formed by it, as 
the picture of the sun in a cloud is a fruit of his beams, and an image of its 
author. The fulness of the perfection of holiness remains in the nature of 
God, as the fulness of the light doth in the sun ; yet there are transmissions 
from the sun to the moon, and it is a light of the same nature both in the 
one and in the other. The holiness of a creature is nothing else but the 

ExoD. XV. 11.] god's holiness. 257 

reflection of the divine holiness upon it ; and to make the creature capable 
of it, God takes various methods, according to his covenant grace. 

2. This attribute renders God a fit object for trust and dependence. The 
notion of an unholy and unrighteous God, is an uncomfortable idea of him, 
and beats off our hands from laying any hold of him. It is upon this attri- 
bute the reputation and honour of God in the world is built. What encour- 
agement can we have to believe him, or what incentives could we have to 
serve him, without the lustre of this in his nature ? The very thought of 
an unrighteous God, is enough to drive men at the greatest distance from 
him. As the honesty of a man gives^a reputation to his word, so doth the 
holiness of God give credit to his promise. It is by this he would have us 
stifle our fears, and fortify our trust : Isa xli. 14, ' Fear not, thou worm 
Jacob, and ye men of Israel ; I will help thee, saith the Lord, and thy 
Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.' He will be in his actions what he is in 
his nature. Nothing shall make him defile his own excellency. Unright- 
eousness is the ground of mutability ; but the promise of God doth never 
fail, because the rectitude of his nature doth never languish. Were his 
attributes without the conduct of this, they would be altogether formidable. 
As this is the glory of all his other perfections, so this only renders him 
comfortable to a believing soul. Might we not fear his power to crush us, 
his mercy to overlook us, his wisdom to design against us, if this did not 
influence them ! What an oppression is power without righteousness in the 
hand of a creature, destructive instead of protecting ; the devil is a mighty 
spirit, but not fit to be trusted, because he is an impure spirit. When God 
would give us the highest security of the sincerity of his intentions, he 
swears by this attribute, Ps. Ixxxix. 35. His holiness as well as his truth, 
is laid to pawn for the security of his promise. As we make God the judge 
between us and others, when we swear by him, so he makes his holiness 
the judge between himself and his people, when he swears by it. 

(1.) It is this renders him fit to be confided in for the answer of our 
prayers. This is the ground of his readiness to give. ' If you, being evil, 
know how to give good gifts, how much more shall your Father which is in 
heaven give good things to them that ask him ?' Mat. vii. 11. Though the 
holiness of God be not mentioned, yet it is to be understood ; the emphasis 
lies in those words, if you heiinj evil ; God is then considered in a disposition 
contrary to this, which can be nothing but his righteousness. If you that 
are unholy, and have so much corruption in you to render you cruel, can 
bestow upon your children the good things they want, how much more shall 
God, who is holy, and hath nothing in him to check his mercifulness to his 
creatures, grant the petitions of his suppliants ! It was this attribute edged 
the fiduciary importunity of the souls under the altar, for the revenging 
their blood unjustly shed upon the earth : Rev. vi. 10, ' How long, Lord, 
holy and true, dost thou not avenge our blood on them that dwell on the 
earth ?' Let not thy hoHness stand with folded arms, as careless of the 
eminent suflerings of those that fear thee ; we implore thee by the holiness 
of thy nature, and the truth of thy word. 

(2.) This renders him fit to be confided in, for the comfort of our souls 
in a broken condition. The reviving the hearts of the spiritually afflicted is a 
part of the holiness of his nature : Isa. Ivii. 15, ' Thus saith the high and 
lofty One that inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy ; I dwell in the high and 
holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive 
the spirit of the humble.' He acknowlegeth himself the lofty One, they might 
therefore fear he would not revive them, but he is also the holy One, and 
therefore he will refresh them ; he is not more lofty than he is holy. Besides 


258 charnock's works. [Exod. XV. 11. 

the argument of the immutability of his promise, and the might of his 
power, here is the holiness of his nature moving him to pity his drooping 
creature. His promise is ushered in with the name of power, ' high and lofty 
One,' to bar their distrust of his strength, and with a declaration of hia 

♦ holiness,' to check any despair of his will. There is no ground to think I 
should be false to my word or misemploy my power, since that cannot be, 
because of the holiness of my name and nature. 

(3.) This renders him fit to be confided in for the maintenance of grace, 
and protection of us against our spiritual enemies. What our Saviour 
thought an argument in prayer, we may well take as a ground of our confi- 
dence. In the strength of this he puts up his suit, when in his mediatory 
capacity he intercedes for the preservation of his people : John xvii. 11, 

* Holy Father, keep through thy own name those that thou hast given me, 
that they may be one, as we are.' Holy Father, not merciful Father, or power- 
ful, or wise Father, but holy, and, verse 25, righteous Father. Christ pleads that 
attribute for the performance of God's word, which was laid to pawn when 
he passed his word, for it was by his holiness that he swore, ' that his seed 
should endure for ever, and his throne as the sun before him,' Ps. Ixxxix. 
36, which is meant of the perpetuity of the covenant which he had made with 
Christ, and is also meant of the preservation of the mystical seed of David, 
and the perpetuating his loving-kindness to them, ver. 32, 33. Grace is an 
image of God's holiness, and therefore the holiness of God is most proper 
to be used as an argument to interest and engage him in the preservation of 
it. In the midst of church provocations he will not utterly extinguish, be- 
cause he is the holy One in the midst of her, Hos. xi. 9 ; nor in the midst 
of judgments will he condemn his people to death, because he is their holy 
One, Hab. i. 12, but their enemies shall be ordained for judgment, and 
established for correction. One prophet assures them in the name of the 
Lord upon the strength of this perfection, and the other upon the same 
ground is confident of the protection of the church, because of God's holi- 
ness engaged in an inviolable covenant. 

(3.) Comfort. Since holiness is a glorious perfection of the nature of 
God, he will certainly value every holy soul. It is of a greater value with 
him than the souls of all men in the world that are destitute of it ; wicked 
men are the worst of vileness, mere dross and dunghill ; Ps. xii. 8, ' The 
vilest men, /T)^^ Purity then, which is contrary to wickedness, must be the 
precious thing in his esteem ; he must needs love that quality which he is 
most pleased with in himself, as a father looks with most delight upon the 
child which is possessed with those dispositions he most values in his own 
nature. ' His countenance doth behold the upright,' Ps. xi. 7. He looks 
upon them with a full and open face of favour, with a countenance clear, 
unmasked, and smiling, with a face full of delight. Heaven itself is not such 
a pleasing object to him, as the image of his own uncreated holiness, in the 
created holiness of men and angels ; as a man esteems that most which is 
most like him of his own generation, more than a piece of art, which is 
merely the product of his wit or strength. And he must love holiness in 
the creature ; he would not else love his own image, and consequently would 
undervalue himself. He despiseth the image the wicked bears, Ps. Ixxiii. 20, 
but he cannot disesteem his own stamp on the godly ; he cannot but delight 
in his own work, his choice work, the master-piece of all his works, the 
new creation of things, that which is next to himself, as being a divine nature 
like himself, 2 Pet. i. 4. When he overlooks strength, parts, knowledge, he 
cannot overlook this ; ' he sets apart him that is godly for himself,' Ps. iv. 
3, as a peculiar object to take pleasm-e in ; he reserves such for his own com- 

ExoD. XV. 11.] god's holiness. 259 

placency, when he leaves the rest of the world to the devil's power ; he 
is choice of them above all his other works, and will not let any have so 
great a propriety in them as himself. If it be so dear to him here in its 
imperfect and mixed condition, that he appropriates it as a peculiar object 
for his own delight, how much more will the unspotted purity of gloriiied 
saints be infinitely pleasing to him, so that he will take less pleasure in the 
material heavens than in such a soul. Sin only is detestable to God, and 
when this is done away, the soul becomes as lovely in his accouat, as before 
it was loathsome. 

4. It is comfort upon this account, that God will perfect holiness in every 
upright soul. We many times distrust God and despond in ourselves, be- 
cause of the infinite holiness of the divine nature, and the dunghill corrup- 
tions in our own ; but the holiness of God eugagsth him to the preservation of 
it, and consequently to the perfection of it ; as appears by our Saviour's 
argument, John xvii. 11, ' Holy Father, keep through thy own name those 
whom thou hast given me.' "To what end ? ' That they may become as we 
are,' one with us in the resemblances of purity. And the holiness of the 
soul is used as an argument by the psalmist : Ps. Ixxxvi. 2, ' Preserve my 
soul, for I am holy,' that is, I have au ardent desire to holiness ; thou hast 
separated me from the mass of the corrupted world, preserve and perfect me 
with the assembly of the glorified choir. The more holy any are, the more 
communicative they are. God being most holy, is most communicative of 
that which he most esteems in himself, and delights to see in his creature ; 
he is therefore more ready to impart his holiness to them that beg for it, 
than to communicate his knowledge or his power. Though he were holy, 
yet he let Adam fall, who never petitioned his holiness to preserve him ; he 
let him fall, to declare the holiness of his own nature, which had wanted its 
due manifestation without it ; but since that cannot be declared in a higher 
manner than it hath been already in the death of the surety that bore our 
guilt, there is no fear he should cast the work out of his hands, since the 
design of the permission of man's apostasy in the discovery of the perfections 
of his nature has been fully answered. The finishing the good work he hath 
begun, bath a relation to the glory of Christ, and his own glory in Christ to 
be manifested in the day of his appearing, Philip, i. 6, wherein the gloiy, 
both of his own holiness and the holiness of the mediator, are to receive 
their full manifestation. As it is a part of the holiness of Christ to sanctify 
his church, Eph, v. 26, till not a wrinkle or spot be left, so it is the part of 
God not to leave that work imperfect, which his holiness hath attempted a 
second time to beautify his creature with. He will not cease exalting this 
attribute, which is the believer's by the new covenant, till he utters that ap- 
plauding speech of his own work, Cant. iv. 7, ' Thou art all fair, my love, 
there is no spot in thee.' 

Use 3. Is for exhortation. Is holiness an eminent perfection of the 
divine nature ? Then, 

1. Let us get and preserve right and strong apprehensions of this divine 
perfection. Without a due sense of it, we can never exalt God in our hearts ; 
and the more distinct conceptions we have of this and the rest of his attri- 
butes, the more we glorify him. When Moses considered God as his 
strength and salvation, he would exalt him, Exod. xv. 2, and he could never 
break out in so admirable a doxology as that in the text, without a deep 
sense of the glory of his purity, which he speaks of with so much admiration. 
Such a sense will be of use to us, 

(1.) In promoting genuine convictions. A deep consideration of the 
holiness of God cannot but be followed with a deep consideration of our im- 

260 chaenock's wokks. [Exod. XV. 11. 

pure and miserablei condition by reason of sin ; we cannot glance upon it 
without reflections upon our own vileness. Adam no sooner heard the voice 
of a holy God in the garden, but he considered his own nakedness with 
shame and fear, Gen. iii. 10, much less can we fix our minds upon it, but 
we must be touched with a sense of our own uncleanness. The clear beams 
of the sun discover that filthiness in our garments and members, which was not 
visible in the darkness of the night. Impure metals are discerned by com- 
paring them with that which is pure and perfect in its kind. The sense of 
guilt is the first natural result upon a sense of this excellent perfection, and 
the sense of the imperfection of our own righteousness is the next. Who 
can think of it, and reflect upon himself as an object fit for divine love ? Who 
can have a due thought of it, without regarding himself as stubble before a 
consuming fire ? Who can, without a confusion of heart and face, glance 
upon that pure eye, which beholds with detestation the foul motes as well as 
the filthier and bigger spots ? When Isaiah saw his glory, and heard how 
highly the angels exalted God for this perfection, he was in a cold sweat, 
ready to swoon, till a seraphim with a coal from the altar both purged and 
revived him, Isa. vi. 5-7. They are sound and genuine convictions, which 
have the prospect of divine purity for their immediate spring, and not a fore- 
sight of our own misery, when it is not the punishment we have deserved, 
but the holiness we have ofiended, most grates our hearts. Such convictions 
are the first rude draughts of the divine image in our spirits, and grateful 
to God because they are an acknowledgment of the glory of this attribute, 
and the first mark of honour given to it by the creature ; those that never 
had a sense of their own vileness, were alway destitute of a sense of God's 
holiness. And by the way, we may observe, that those that scoff at any for 
hanging down the head under the consideration and conviction of sin (as is 
too usual with the world), scoff' at them for having deeper apprehensions of 
the purity of God than themselves, and consequently make a mock of the 
holiness of God, which is the ground of those convictions ; a sense of this 
would prevent such a damnable reproaching. 

(2.) A sense of this will render us humble in the possession of the greatest 
holiness a creature were capable of. ' We are apt to be proud, with the Pha- 
risee, when we look upon others wallowing in the mire of base and unnatural 
lusts ; but let any clap their wings, if they can, in a vain-boasting and exul- 
tation, when they view the holiness of God. What torch, if it had reason, 
would be proud and swagger in its own light, if it compared itself with the 
sun ! * Who can stand before this holy Lord God ?' is the just reflection of 
the holiest person, as it was of those, 1 Sam. vi. 20, that had felt the marks 
of his jealousy after their looking into the ark, though likely out of affection 
to it, and triumphant joy at its return. When did the angels testify, by the 
covering of their faces, their weakness to bear the lustre of his majesty, but 
when they beheld his glory ! When did they signify, by their covering their 
feet, the shame of their own vileness, but when their hearts were fullest of 
the applaudings of this perfection ! Isa. vi. 2, 3. Though they found them- 
selves without spot, yet not with such a holiness, that they could appear 
either with their faces or feet unveiled or unmasked in the presence of God. 
Doth the immense splendour of this attribute engender shaming reflections 
in those pure spirits ? What will it, what should it do in us, that dwell in 
houses of clay, and creep up and down with that clay upon our backs, and 
too much of it in our hearts ? The stars themselves, which appear beauti- 
ful in the night, are masked at the awaking of the sun. What a dim light 
is that of a glow-worm to that of the sun ! The apprehensions of this made 
the elders humble themselves in the midst of their glory, by ' casting down 

ExoD. XY. 11.1 god's holiness. 261 

their crowns before his throne,' R«v. iv. 8, 10 ; a metaplior taken from the 
triumphing generals among the Romans, who hung up their victorious laurels 
in the capitol, dedicating them to their gods, acknowledging them their supe- 
riors in strength, and authors of their victory. This self-emptiness at the 
consideration of divine purity, is the note of the true church represented by 
the four and twenty elders, and a note of a true member of the church ; 
whereas boasting of perfection and merit is the property of the antichristian 
tribe, that have mean thoughts of this adorable perfection, and think them- 
selves more righteous than the unspotted angels. What a self-annihilation 
is there in a good man, when the sense of divine purity is most lively in 
him; yea, how detestable is he to himself? There is as little proportion 
between the holiness of the divine majesty and that of the most righteous 
creature, as there is between the nearness of a person that stands upon a 
mountain to the sun, and of him that beholds him in a vale ; one is nearer 
than the other, but it is an advantage not to be boasted of, in regard of the 
vast distance that is between the sun and the elevated spectator. 

(3.) This would make us full of an afiectionate reverence in all our 
approaches to God. By this perfection God is rendered venerable, and fit 
to be reverenced by his creature ; and magnificent thoughts of it in the crea- 
tui-e would awaken him to an actual reverence of the divine majesty : 
Ps. cxi. 9, ' Holy and reverend is his name ;' a good opinion of this would 
engender in us a sincere respect towards him ; we should then ' serve the 
Lord with fear,' as the expression is, Ps. ii. 11 ; that is, be afi-aid to cast 
anything before him that may oftend the eyes of his purity. Who would 
ventm-e rashly and garishly into the presence of an eminent moralist, or of 
a righteous king upon his throne ? The fixedness of the angels arose from 
the continual prospect of this. What if we had been with Isaiah when he 
saw the vision, and beheld him in the same glory, and the heavenly choir 
in their reverential postiu'e in the service of God ; would it not have barred 
our wanderings, and staked us down to our duty ? Would not the fortify- 
ing an idea of it in om- minds produce the same effect ? It is for want of 
this we carry om-selves so loosely and unbecomingly in the divine presence, 
with the same or meaner affections than those wherewith we stand before 
some vile creature, that is our superior in the world ; as though a piece of 
filthy flesh were more valuable than this perfection of the divinity. How 
doth the psalmist double his exhortation to men to sing praise to God : 
Ps. xlvii. 6, * Sing praise to God, sing praises ; sing praise to our King, 
sing praise,' because of his majesty, and the purity of his dominion : and 
ver. 8, ' God reigns over the heathen ; God sits upon the throne of his 
holiness.' How would this elevate us in praise, and prostrate us in prayer, 
when we praise and pray with an understanding and insight of that nature 
we bless or implore ; as he speaks, ver. 7, * Sing ye praise with understand- 
ing.' The holiness of God in his government and dominion, the holiness of 
his nature, and the holiness of his precepts, should beget in us an humble 
respect in our approaches. The more we grow in a sense of this, the more 
shall we advance in the true performance of all our duties.* Those nations 
which adored the sun, bad they at first seen his brightness wrapped and 
masked in a cloud, and paid a veneration to it, how would their adorations 
have mounted to a gi-eater point, after they had seen it in its full brightness, 
shaking off those veils, and chasing away the mists before it ; what a pro- 
found reverence would they have paid it, when they beheld it in its glory and 
meridian brightness ? Our reverence to God in all our addresses to him 
will arrive to greater degrees, if every act of duty be ushered in, and seasoned 
* Amyrald, Moral, torn. v. p. 402. 

202 ' charnock's works. [Exod. XV. 11. 

with the thoughts of God as sitting upon a throne of holiness ; we shall 
have a more becoming sense of our own vileness, a greater ardour to his 
service, a deeper respect in his presence, if our understanding be more 
cleared, and possessed with notions of this perfection. Thus take a view of 
God in this part of his glory, before you fall down before his throne, and 
assure yourselves you will find your hearts and services quickened with a 
new and lively spirit. 

(4.) A due sense of this perfection in God would produce in us a fear of 
God, and arm us against temptations and sin. What made the heathens so 
wanton and loose, but the representations of their gods as vicious. Who 
would stick at adulteries and more prodigious lusts, that can take a pattern 
for them from the person he adores for a deity ! Upon which account Plato 
would Lave poets banished from his commonwealth, because by dressing up 
their gods in wanton garbs in their poems, they encouraged wickedness in 
the people ; but if the thoughts of God's holiness were impressed upon us, 
we should regard sin with the same eye, mark it with the same detestation 
in our measures, a? God himself doth. So far as we are sensible of the 
divine purity, we shouid account sin vile, as it deserves ; we should hate it 
entirely, without a grain of love to it, and hate it perpetually : Ps. cxix. 104, 
' Through thy precepts I get understanding ; therefore I hate every false 
way.' He looks into God's statute-book, and thereby arrives to an under- 
standing of the purity of his nature, whence his hatred of iniquity com- 
menced. This would govern our motion, check our vices ; it would make 
us tremble at the hissing of a temptation : when a corruption did but peep 
out, and put forth its head, a look to the divine purity would be attended 
with a fresh convoy to resist it. There is no such fortification as to be 
wrapped up in the sense of this : this would fill us with an awe of God : we 
should be ashamed to admit any filthy thing into us, which we know is 
detestable to his pure eye. As the approach of a grave and serious man 
makes children hasten their trifles out of the way, so would a consideration 
of this attribute make us cast away our idols, and fling away our ridiculous 
thoughts and designs. 

(5.) A due sense of this perfection would inflame us with a vehement 
desire to be conformed to him. All our desires would be ardent to regulate 
ourselves according to this pattern of holiness and goodness, which is not to 
be equalled ; the contemplating it as it shines forth in the face of Christ 
will ' transform us into the same image,' 2 Cor. iii. 19. Since our lapsed 
state, we cannot behold the holiness of God in itself without afii'ightment ; 
nor is it an object of imitation, but as tempered in Christ to our view. 
When we cannot without blinding ourselves look upon the sun in its 
brightness, we may behold it through a coloured glass, whereby the lustre 
of it is moderated without dazzling our eyes. The sense of it will furnish 
us with a greatness of mind, that little things will be contemned by us ; 
motives of a greater alloy would have little influence upon us ; we should 
have the highest motives to every duty, and motives of the same strain 
which influence the angels above. It would change us, not only into an 
angelical nature, but a divine nature. We should act like men of another 
sphere, as if we had received our original in another world, and seen with 
angels the ravishing beauties of heaven. How little would the mean employ- 
ments of the world sink us into dirt and mud ! How often hath the 
meditation of the courage of a valiant man, or acuteness and industry of a 
learned person, spurred on some men to an imitation of them, and transformed 
them into the same nature ; as the looking upon the sun imprints an 
image of the sun upon our eye, that we seem to behold nothing but the sun 


a while after. The view of the divine puritj would fill us with a holy 
generosity to imitate him, more than the examples of the best men upon 
earth. It was a saying of a heathen, that if virtue were visible, it would 
kindle a noble flame of love to it in the heart by its ravishing beauty. Shall 
the infinite purity of the author of all virtue come short of the strength of 
a creature ? Can we not render that visible to us by frequent meditation, 
which though it be invisible in its nature, is made visible in his law, in his 
ways, in his Son ? It would make us ready to obey him, since we know he 
cannot command anything that is sinful, but what is holy, just, and good. 
It would put all our affections in their due place, elevate them above the 
creature, and subject them to the Creator. 

(6.) It would make us patient and contented under all God's dispensa- 
tions. All penal evils are the fruits of his holiness, as he is judge and 
governor of the world. He is not an arbitrary judge, nor doth any sentence 
pronounced, nor warrant for execution issue from him, but what bears upon 
it a stamp of the righteousness of his nature ; he doth nothing by passion 
or unrighteousness, but according to the eternal law of his own unstained 
nature, which is the rule to him in his works, the basis and foundation of 
his throne and sovereign dominion, Ps. Ixxxix. 14, * Justice,' or righteous- 
ness, ' and judgment are the habitation of thy throne ; ' upon these his 
sovereign power is estabUshed, so that there can be no just complaint or 
indictment brought against any of his proceedings with men. How doth 
our Saviour, who had the highest apprehensions of God's holiness, justify 
God in his deepest distresses, when he cried and was not answered in the 
particular he desired, in that prophetic psalm of him : Ps. xxii. 2, 3, * I cry 
day and night, but thou hearest not.' Thou seemest to be deaf to all my 
petitions, ' afar off from the words of my roaring, but thou art holy.' I cast 
no blame upon thee ; all thy dealings are squared by thy holiness, this is 
the only law to thee, in this I acquiesce. It is part of thy holiness to hide 
thy face from me, to shew thereby thy detestation of sin. Our Saviour 
adores the divine purity in his sharpest agony, and a like sense of it would 
guide us in the same steps to acknowledge and glorify it in our greatest 
desertions and affiictions, especially since, as they are the fruit of the holi- 
ness of his nature, so they are the means to impart to us clearer stamps of 
holiness, according to that in himself, which is the original copy, Heb. 
xii. 10. He melts us down as gold, to fit us for the receiving a new im- 
pression, to mortify the affections of the flesh, and clothe us with the graces 
of his Spirit. The due sense of this would make us to submit to his stroke, 
and to wait upon him for a good issue of his dealings. 

2. Exhortation. Is holiness a perfection of the divine nature ? Is it the 
glory of the Deity ? Then let us glorify this holiness of God. Moses 
glorifies it in the text, and glorifies it in a song, which was a copy for all 
ages. The whole corporation of seraphims have their mouths filled with 
the praises of it. The saints, whether militant on'earth, or triumphant in 
heaven, are to continue the same acclamation, ' Holy, holy, holy. Lord God 
of hosts,' Rev. iv. 8. Neither angels nor glorified spirits exalt at the same 
rate the power which formed them creatures, nor goodness which preserves 
them in a blessed immortality, as they do holiness, which they bear some 
beams of in their own nature, and whereby they are capacitated to stand 
before his throne. Upon the account of this, a debt of praise is demanded 
of all rational creatures by the psalmist : Ps. xcix. 3, ' Let them praise thy 
great and terrible name, for it is holy.' Not so much for the greatness of 
his majesty, or the treasures of his justice, but as they are considered in 
conjunction with his holiness, which renders them beautiful ; * for it is holy.' 

264 cha.rnock's works. [Exod. XV. 11. 

Grandeur and majesty simply in themselves are not objects of praise, nor do 
they merit the acclamations of men, when destitute of righteousness ; this 
only renders everything else adorable, and this adorns the divine greatness 
with an amiableness : Isa. xii. 6, ' Great is the Holy One of Israel in the 
midst of thee,' and makes his might worthy of praise, Luke i. 49. In 
honouring this, which is the soul and spirit of all the rest, we give a 
glory to all the perfections which constitute and beautify his nature ; and 
without the glorifying this we glorify nothing of them, though we should 
extol every other single attribute a thousand times. He values no other 
adoration of his creatures, unless this be interested, nor accepts anything as 
a glory from them : Lev. x. 3, 'I will be sanctified in them that come near 
me, and I will be glorified.' As if he had said. In manifesting my name to 
be holy, you truly, you only honour me. And as the Scripture seldom 
speaks of this perfection without a particular emphasis, it teaches us not to 
think of it without a special elevation of heart. By this act only, while we 
are on earth, can we join concert with the angels in heaven ; he that doth not 
honour it, delight in it, and in the meditation of it, hath no resemblance of 
it; he hath none of the image, that dehghts not in the original. Everything 
of God is glorious, but this most of all. If he built the wo'rld principally 
for anything, it was for the communication of his goodness, and display of 
his holiness. He formed the rational creature to manifest his holiness in 
that law whereby he was to be governed. Then deprive not God of the 
design of his own glory. 

We honour this attribute, 

(1.) When we make it the ground of our love to God ; not because he 
is gracious to us, but holy in himself. As God honours it in loving him- 
self for it, we should honour it by pitching our aifections upon him chiefly 
for it. What renders God amiable to himself, should render him lovely to 
all his creatures. Isa. xhi, 21, ' The Lord is well pleased for his righteous- 
ness' sake.' If the hatred of evil be the immediate result of a love to God, 
then the pecuHar object or term of our love to God must be that perfection 
which stands in dii'ect opposition to the hatred of evil. Ps. xcvii. 10, 
' Ye that love the Lord hate evil.' When we honour his holiness in every 
stamp and impression of it, his law, not principally because of its useful- 
ness to us, its accommodateness to the order of the world, but for its innate 
purity, and his people, not for our interest in them so much as for bearing 
upon them this glittering mark of the Deity, we honom- then the purity of 
the lawgiver, and the excellency of the sanctifier. 

(2.) We honour it when we regard chiefly the illustrious appearance of 
this in his judgments in the world. In a case of temporal judgment, Moses 
celebrates it in the text ; in a case of spiritual judgments, the angels applaud 
it in Isaiah. All his severe proceedings are nothing but the strong breath- 
ings of this attribute. Purity is the flash of his revenging sword. If he 
did not hate evil, his vengeance would not reach the committers of it. He 
is a 'refiner's fii-e' in the day of his anger, Mai. iii. 2. By his separating 
judgments, he ' takes away the wicked of the earth like dross,' Ps. cxix. 119. 
How is his holiness honoured, when we take notice of his sweeping out the 
rubbish of the world ; how he suits punishment to sin, and discovers his 
hatred of the matter and cii'cumstances of the evil in the matter and circum- 
stances of the judgment. This perfection is legible in every stroke of his 
sword ; we honour it when we read the syllables of it, and not by standing 
amazed only at the greatness and severity of the blow, when we read how 
holy he is in his most terrible dispensations. For as in them God magnifies 
the greatness of his power, so he sanctifies himself ; that is, declares the 

ExoD. XV. 11. J god's holiness. 265 

purity of his nature as a revenger of all impiety : Ezek. xxxviii, 22, 23, 
* And I will plead against him with pestilence and with blood ; and I will 
rain upon him, and upon his bands, and upon the people that are with him, 
an overflowing rain, and great hailstones, fire, and brimstone. Thus will I 
magnify myself, and sanctify myseK.' 

(3.) We honour this attribute when we take notice of it in every accom- 
plishment of his promise, and every grant of a mercy. His truth is but a 
branch of his righteousness, a sUp from this root. He is ' glorious in hoU- 
ness ' in the account of Moses, because he ' led forth his people whom he 
had redeemed,' Exod.