God is Spirit

Some great quotes from the puritan Stephen Charnock’s The Existence and Attributes of God, volume 1–

As it is impossible for the eye of man to see [God], it is impossible for the art of man to paint him upon walls, and carve him out of wood. None knows him but himself, none can describe him but himself….No corporeal [material] thing can represent a spiritual substance; there is no proportion in nature between them. God is a simple, infinite, immense, eternal, invisible, incorruptible being; a statue is a compounded, finite, limited, temporal, visible, and corruptible body. God is a living spirit; but a statue nor sees, nor hears, nor perceives anything (p. 193).

No creature, nor all creatures together, can furnish us with such a magnificent notion of God, as can give us a clear view of him. Yet God in his word is pleased to step below his own excellency, and point us to those excellencies in his works, whereby we may ascend to the knowledge of those excellencies which are in his nature (p. 196).

We are to elevate and refine all our notions of God, and spiritualize our conceptions of him. Every man is to have a conception of God; therefore he ought to have one of the highest elevation. Since we cannot have a full notion of him, we should endeavor to make it as high and as pure as we can (p. 200).

These next two I especially liked–

Whatsoever God is, he is infinitely so: he is infinite Wisdom, infinite Goodness infinite Knowledge, infinite Power, infinite Spirit; infinitely distant from the weakness of creatures, infinitely mounted above the excellencies of creatures: as easy to be known that he is, as impossible to be comprehended what he is (p. 200).

The world perishes; friends change and are dissolved; bodies moulder, because they are mutable [changeable]. God is a Spirit in the highest excellency and glory of spirits; nothing is beyond him; nothing above him; no contrariety within him. This is our comfort, if we devote ourselves to him; this God is our God; this Spirit is our Spirit; this is our all, our immutable, our incorruptible support; a Spirit that cannot die and leave us (p. 202).

If you’re interested in reading Charnock’s work, it’s available for free at Google books to read online or download. Click here to go there.

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Author: Dan Greenfield

I am an undeserving sinner saved by God's grace through Jesus Christ, a happy husband, proud father of 6 great kids, pastor of Orwell Bible Church, Executive Secretary of the American Council of Christian Churches, and member of the Ohio Bible Fellowship .

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