I came across this in Stephen Charnock’s “The Existence and Attributes of God” today, and thought it was worth sharing. I realize the style of writing is a bit archaic, but I don’t think it’s too difficult to understand what he’s saying. And it’s well worth thinking about…
“God were not eternal if he were mutable. In all change there is something that perishes, either substantially or accidentally. All change is a kind of death, or imitation of death; that which dies, and begins to be what it was not. The soul of man, though it ceaseth not to be and exist, yet when it ceaseth to be in quality what it was, is said to die. Adam died when he changed from integrity to corruption, though both his soul and body were in being (Genesis 2:17); and the soul of a regenerate man is said to “die to sin,” when it is changed from sin to grace (Romans 6:11). In all change there is a resemblance of death; so the notion of mutability is against the eternity of God. If anything be acquired by a change, then that which is acquired was not from eternity, ans so he was not wholly everlasting; if he did decrease by the change, something in him which had no beginning would have an end; if he did increase by that change, something in him would have a beginning that might have no end. What is changed doth not remain, and what doth not remain is not eternal.”
Wow. There is such a vast difference between the men who thought and wrote of the things of God three and four hundred years ago and those who do so today. I thank God that the wisdom of some of the mighty men of the Reformation have been preserved for those of us today who have the interest to learn from them. Men like John Calvin, John Owen, Thomas Watson, Jeremiah Burroughs, Thomas Brooks, Stephen Charnock, Richard Baxter, Matthew Mead, William Gurnall, John Bunyan, Jonathan Edwards… I’m sure I’ve left some out, but these names spring immediately to mind. Rare is the reader these days who goes to these monumental resources for wisdom, while books like “Your Best Life Now” and “The Shack” sell like candy (and nourish the spirit just as much as cotton candy does the body).
Peace & Blessings,