Stephen Charnock's Existence and Attributes of God make up the first two volumes in this five volume set of Stephen Charnock's Works.
The Existence and Attributes of God is the greatest Puritan treatise on the perfections of God, and perhaps the greatest of all times. Here, Stephen Charnock reflects on Scripture to develop a better understanding of the nature and being of God. In true Puritan fashion, Charnock makes practical application of all the doctrinal content he develops. Thus, Charnock's work is rightly regarded as simultaneously a scholarly and devotional classic (emphases added).
- Dr. Joel Beeke
This book covers topics such as: the existence of God; the failure of practical atheism; the spiritual nature of God; spiritual worship; God's eternality; God's immutability; God's omnipresence; God's knowledge (omniscience); God's wisdom; God's power; God's holiness; God's goodness; God's dominion; God's patience.
Stephen Charnock was an English minister during the seventeenth century. In the late 1650s he spent some time in Ireland as chaplain to the Governor, where his preaching attracted considerable attention. After King Charles II came to power in 1660, Charnock returned to England but was not permitted to hold a public ministry. He could only minister privately. This changed in 1675 when government restrictions were relaxed, and Charnock became co-pastor with Thomas Watson of a Presbyterian church in London. Charnock died in 1680.
William Symington, in his brief biography of Charnock at the beginning of this set, notes that Charnock had few friends, though those he had were godly and intelligent. "But his best and most highly cherished companions were his books, of which he had contrived to secure a valuable though select collection. With these he held frequent and familiar intercourse. Great part of his time, indeed, was spent in his study" (p. 13, emphases added).
To a person of these studious habits it may easily be conceived what distress it must have occasioned to have his library swept away from him. In that dreadful misfortune which befell the metropolis in 1666, ever since known as 'the fire of London,' the whole of Charnock's books were destroyed. The amount of calamity involved in such an occurrence can be estimated aright only by those who know from experience the strength and sacredness of that endearment with which the real student regards those silent but instructive friends which he has drawn around him by slow degrees; with which he has cultivated a long and intimate acquaintance; which are ever at hand with their valuable assistance, counsel and consolation, when these are needed; which, unlike some less judicious companions, never intrude upon him against his will; and with whose very looks and positions, as they repose in their places around him, he has become so familiarized, that it is no difficult thing for him to call up their appearance when absent, or to go directly to them in the dark without the risk of a mistake. Some may be disposed to smile at this love of books. But where is the scholar who will do so? Where is the man of letters who, for a single moment, would place the stately mansions and large estates of the 'sons of earth' in comparison with his own well-loaded shelves? Where the student who, on looking round upon the walls of his study, is not conscious of a satisfaction greater and better far than landed proprietor ever felt on surveying his fields and lawns -- a satisfaction which almost unconsciously seeks vent in the exclamation, 'My library! a dukedom large enough!' Such, and such only, can judge what must have been Charnock's feelings, when he found that his much cherished volumes had become a heap of smouldering ashes (p. 14).
Symington also points out that,
All Charnock's writings are distinguished for sound theology, profound thinking, and lively imagination. They partake of that massive divinity for which the Puritan Divines were in general remarkable, and are of course orthodox in their doctrinal statements and reasonings. . . . In a word, for weight of matter, for energy of thought, for copiousness of improving reflection, for grandeur and force of illustration, and for accuracy and felicitousness of expression, Charnock is equalled by few, and surpassed by none of the writers of the age to which he belonged. . . . There were giants in literature in those days, and STEPHEN CHARNOCK was not the least of the noble fraternity (p. 17).
And because his theology was so sound, there is "not one of all the Puritan Divines whose writings can with more safety be recommended to the attention of students of divinity and young ministers" (p. 18).
Volume 1 of the Works of Stephen Charnock includes:
Volume 2 of the Works of Stephen Charnock includes:
Volume 3 of the Works of Stephen Charnock includes:
Volume 4 of the Works of Stephen Charnock includes:
Volume 5 of the Works of Stephen Charnock includes:
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