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of the soul, that the soul cannot look up to God, nor do for God, nor receive from God, nor wait on God, nor walk with God, nor act faith upon God.
9. Murmuring unmans a man (Isa. v. 18-20). It strips him of his reason and understanding ; it makes him call evil good, and good evil ; it puts light for darkness, and darkness for light; bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter; it calls saviours destroyers, and deliverers murderers; as you see in the murmuring Israelities (Exod. xiv., xv., xvi.) Murmuring clouds a man's understanding, it perverts his judgment, it puts out the eye of reason, it stupifies his conscience, it sours the heart, dis. orders the will, and distempers the affections; it be-beasts a man, yea, it sets him below the beasts that perish : for a man had better be a beast, than be like a beast. The murmurer is the hieroglyphic of folly; he is a comprehensive vanity; he is a man, and no man; he is sottish and senseless ; he neither understands God, nor himself, nor anything as he should (Isa. ii. 8; Jer. vii. 6). He is the man that must be sent to school, to learn of the beasts of the field, and the birds of the air, and the creeping things of the earth (Matt. vi. ; Prov. vi.)
10. Murmuring is a time-destroying sin. Ah, the precious time that is buried in the grave of murmuring! When the murmurer should be a-praying, he is a-murmuring against the Lord; when he should be a-hearing, he is a-murmuring against Divine providence ; when he should be a-reading, he is a-murmuring against instruments. The murmurer spends much precious time in musing—in musing how to get out of such a trouble, how to get off such a yoke, how to be rid of such a burden, how to revenge himself for such wrong, how to supplant such a person, how to reproach those that are above him, and how to affront those that are below him; and a thousand other ways murmurers have to expend that precious time that some would redeem with a world. As Queen Elizabeth on her death-bed cried out, “ Time, time! a world of wealth for an inch
TIME WASTED BY DISCONTENT,
of time." The murmurer lavishly and profusely trifles away that precious time, that is his greatest interest in this world to redeem (Eph. v. 16; Rev. ii. 21). Every day, every hour in the day, is a talent of time, and God expects the improvement of it, and will charge the non-improvement of it upon you at last. Cæsar, observing some ladies at Rome to spend much of their time in making much of little dogs and monkeys, asked them whether the women in that country had no children to make much of ? Ah, murmurers ! murmurers ! you who by your murmuring trifle away so many golden hours, and seasons of mercy, have you no God to honour ? have you no Christ to believe in ? have you no hearts to change, no sins to be pardoned, no souls to save, no hell to escape, no heaven to seek after! Oh! if you have, why do you spend so much of your precious time in murmuring against God, against men, against this or that thing? Eternity rides upon the back of time. Hoc est momentum, this is the moment; if it be well improved, you are made up for ever; if not, you are undone for ever.
11. Consider this, Christians, that of all men in the world you have least cause, yea, no cause to be murmuring and muttering under any dispensations that you meet with in this world (Lam. iii. 24; Eph. iii. 8; 1 Peter i. 3, 4). Is not God thy portion ? Chrysostom propounds this question, "Was Job miserable when he had lost all that God had given him ?” and gives this answer, “ No, he had still that God who gave him all.” Is not Christ thy treasure ? is not heaven thine inheritance ? and wilt thou murmur? Hast thou not much in hand, and more in hope ? hast thou not much in possession, but much more in reversion, and wilt thou murmur ? Hath not God given thee a changed heart, a renewed nature, and a sanctified soul ? and wilt thou murmur? Hath not God given thee Himself to satisfy thee? His Son to save thee? His Spirit to lead thee? His grace to adorn thee? His covenant to assure thee ? His mercy to pardon thee? His righteousness to clothe thee? and wilt thou murmur ? Hath he not made thee a friend, a son, a brother, a bride, an heir ? and wilt thou murmur ? Hath not God often turned thy water into wine, thy brass into silver, and thy silver into gold ? and wilt thou murmur ? When thou wast dead, did not He quicken thee ? and when thou wast lost, did not He seek thee ? and when thou wast wounded, did not He heal thee ? and when thou wert falling, did not He support thee? and when thou wert down, did He not raise thee ? and when thou wert staggering, did not He establish thee? and when thou wert erring, did not He reduce thee? and when thou wert tempted, did not He succour thee? and when thou wert in danger, did not He deliver thee ? and wilt thou murmur? What, thou that art so highly advanced and exalted above so many thousands in the world ? Murmuring is a black garment, and it becomes none so ill as saints.
12. Lastly, Consider, that murmuring makes the life of man invisibly miserable. Every murmurer is his own executioner. Murmuring vexes the heart, it wears and tears the heart, it enrages and inflames the heart, it wounds and stabs the heart. Every murmurer is his own martyr. No man is so inwardly miserable as the murmurer; no man hath such inward gripes and griefs as he, such inward bitterness and heaviness as he, such inward contentions and combustions as he. Every murmurer is his own tormentor; murmuring is a fire within that will burn up all; it is an earthquake within, that will overturn all; it is a disease within, that will infect all ; it is poison within, that will prey upon all. And thus I have done with those motives that may persuade us not to murmur or mutter, but to be mute and silent under the greatest afflictions, the saddest providences, and sharpest trials that we meet with in this life,
STEPHEN CHARNOCK, B.D.
STEPHEN CHARNOCK, B.D. In his work on “ Philosophical Necessity," Toplady says, “ I have met with many treatises on the Divine perfections, but with none which any way equals that of Mr Charnock. Perspicuity and depth, metaphysical sublimity and evangelical simplicity, immense learning and plain but irrefragable reasoning, conspire to render that performance one of the most inestimable productions that ever did honour to the sanctified judgment and genius of a human being. If I thought myself at all adequate to the task, I would endeavour to circulate the outlines of so great a treasure into more hands, by reducing the substance of it within the compass of an octavo volume. Were such a design properly executed, a more important service could hardly be rendered to the cause of religion, virtue, and knowledge. Many people are frightened at a folio of more than 800 pages, who might have both leisure and inclination to avail themselves of a well-digested compendium.”
The work is worthy of this fervent eulogy. Chamock was not a popular preacher. He read his sermons, and, being near-sighted, had frequent recourse to a magnifying glass; and altogether his manner in the pulpit was too recluse and embarrassed to give him full command of an auditory. On the other hand, save one sermon, he published nothing in his lifetime. But finding a continual feast in his own deep thoughts and holy contemplations, he went on accumulating those discourses of which the two published folios are among the stateliest remains of Nonconformist theology. The volume on the attributes, was the occupation of the last three years of his life; and, to borrow the touching reference of his editors, it was not a little of “the beauty of the Lord” which those worshippers beheld who “dwelt in his house" during the days when these discourses were delivered,
Charnock was born in 1628. He was educated at Oxford, and was a Fellow of New College. He died in London in 1680.
Che Wisdom of God.
Arguments to prove that God is wise.
Reason 1. God could not be infinitely perfect without wisdom. A rational nature is better than an irrational nature. A man is not a perfect man without reason ; how can God, without it, be an infinitely perfect God? Wisdom is the most eminent of all virtues ; all the other perfections of God without this, would be as a body without an eye, a soul without understanding. A Christian's graces want their lustre when they are destitute of the guidance of wisdom. Mercy is a feebleness, and justice a cruelty; patience a timorousness, and courage a madness, without the conduct of wisdom. So, the patience of God would be cowardice, His power an oppression, His justice a tyranny, without wisdom as the spring, and holiness as the rule. No attribute of God could shine with a due lustre and brightness without it. Power is a great perfection, but wisdom a greater. The pilot is more valuable because of his skill than the galley-slave because of his strength ; and the conduct of a general more estimable than the might of a private soldier. Generals are chosen more by their skill to guide than their strength to act. This is the salt which gives relish to all other perfections in a creature. This is the jewel in the ring of all the excellencies of the Divine Nature, and holiness is the splendour of that jewel.
Reas. 2. The creatures working for an end, without their own knowledge, demonstrate the wisdom of God that guides them. All things in the world work for some end; the ends are unknown to them, though many of their ends are visible to