Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Right Conceptions of God

Stephen Charnock, The Existence and Attributes of God, Vol. 1, pp. 272-273:

Nourish right conceptions of the majesty of God in your minds. Let us consider that we are drawing near to God, the most amiable object, the best of beings, worthy of infinite honor, and highly meriting the highest affections we can give; a God that made the world by a word, that upholds the great frame of heaven and earth; a Majesty above the conceptions of angels; who uses not his power to strike us to our deserved punishment, but his love and bounty to allure us; a God that gave all the creatures to serve us, and can, in a trice, make them as much our enemies as he hath now made them our servants. Let us view him in his greatness, and in his goodness, that our hearts may have a true value of the worship of so great a majesty, and count it the most worthy employment with all diligence to attend upon him. When we have a fear of God, it will make our worship serious; when we have a joy in God, it will make our worship durable. Our affections will be raised when we represent God in the most reverential, endearing, and obliging circumstances. We honor the majesty of God, when we consider him with due reverence according to the greatness and perfection of his works, and in this reverence of his majesty doth worship chiefly consist. Low thoughts of God will make low frames in us before him. If we thought God an infinite glorious Spirit, how would our hearts be low than our knees in his presence! How humbly, how believingly pleading is the Psalmist, when he considers God to be without comparison in the heavens; to whom none of the sons of the mighty can be likened; when there was none like to him in strength and faithfulness round about (Ps. lxxxix 6-8). We should have also deep impressions of the omniscience of God, and remember that we have to deal with a God that searcheth the heart and trieth the reins, to whom the most secret temper is as visible as the loudest words are audible; that though man judges by the outward expressions, God judges by inward affections. As the law of God regulates the inward frames of the heart, so the eye of God pitches upon the inward intentions of the soul. If God were visibly present with us, should we not approach to him with strong affections, summon our spirits to attend upon him, behave ourselves modestly before him? Let us consider he is as really present with us, as if he were visible to us; let us, therefore, preserve a strong sense of the presence of God. No man, but one out of his wits, when he were in the presence of a prince, and making a speech to him, would break off at every period, and run after the catching of butterflies. Remember in all worship you are before the Lord, to whom all things are open and naked.

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