Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Stephen Charnock: God's Glory Manifest in the Church

"It is in a man’s house where his riches and state is seen: it is in the church God makes himself known in his excellency, more than in all the world besides: Ps. 76:1, ‘In Judah is God known; his name is great in Israel. In Salem also is his tabernacle, and his dwelling-place in Sion.’ It is in his church he doth manifest his power. It is called, therefore, ‘a glorious high throne: Jer. 17:12, ‘A glorious high throne from the beginning is the place of our sanctuary.’ Kings use to display all their glory and majesty upon their thrones; in this sense heaven is called God’s throne, Isa. 60:1, because the prospect of the heavens affords us discoveries of the wisdom and power of God, more than in any other visible thing, both in their essence, magnitude, and motion: so is there a greater discovery of God’s attributes in the church (which is also styled heaven in Scripture) than in the whole world besides; there it is that the angels look to learn more of the wisdom of God than they understood before, Eph. 3:10. It is there the day of his power dawns, Ps. 110:3. It is there his saints see his power and his glory, Ps. 63:2; the sanctuary is called the firmament of his power, Ps. 150:1. The glory of God’s attributes is centred in Christ in a higher manner than in the creation; and in that work did excel themselves in what they had done in the framing of the world; and the church being the glory of Christ, all those attributes which are glorified in Christ, do in and through him shine forth more clearly upon the church, than upon any other part of the world. He styles himself their Creator, as much as the Creator of the whole frame of heaven and earth: Isa. 43:15, ‘I am the Lord, your Holy One, the Creator of Israel, your King.’ As though all the attributes of God, his power in creation, his holiness in redemption, were designed for none else but them: and indeed by virtue of the covenant they were to be so; for if God be their God, then all of God is theirs. What wisdom, power, sufficiency, grace, and kindness he hath, is principally for them. If God be their God, it is in their concerns he will glorify himself as a God in the manifestation of his perfections. This cannot be without the ordering all providences for their advantage."

--Stephen Charnock, The Complete Works of Stephen Charnock, vol. 1 (Edinburgh; London; Dublin: James Nichol; James Nisbet and Co.; W. Robertson; G. Herbert, 1864–1866), 86–87.