Stephen Charnock (1628-1680) on the hypostatic union and Christ’s mediatorship



“If [Christ] were in all things only like to man, he would be at a distance from God: if he were in all things only like to God, he would be at a distance from man. He is a true Mediator between mortal sinners and the immortal righteous One. He was near to us by the infirmities of our nature, and near to God by the perfections of the Divine; as near to God in his nature, as to us in ours; as near to us in our nature as he is to God in the Divine. Nothing that belongs to the Deity, but he possesses; nothing that belongs to the human nature, but he is clothed with. He had both the nature which had offended, and that nature which was offended: a nature to please God, and a nature to pleasure us: a nature, whereby he experimentally knew the excellency of God, which was injured, and understood the glory due to him, and consequently the greatness of the offence, which was to be measured by the dignity of his person: and a nature whereby he might be sensible of the miseries contracted by, and endure the calamities due to the offender, that he might both have compassion on him, and make due satisfaction for him. He had two distinct natures capable of the affections and sentiments of the two persons he was to accord; he was a just judge of the rights of the one, and the demerit of the other. He could not have this full and perfect understanding if he did not possess the perfections of the one, and the qualities of the other; the one fitted him for ‘things appertaining to God’ (Heb. v. 1), and the other furnished him with a sense of the ‘infirmities of man’ (Heb. iv. 15).”

– Stephen Charnock (1628-1680), Discourses upon the Existence and Attributes of God, p. 366

Stephen Charnock (1628–1680) on the cross as the “spring of our happiness”


“Let us delight in the knowledge of Christ crucified, and be often in the thoughts and study of him. Study Christ, not only as living but dying, not as breathing in our air, but suffering in our stead; know him as a victim, which is the way to know him as a Conqueror. Christ as crucified is the great object of faith. All the passages of his life, from his nativity to his death, are passed over in the creed without reciting, because, though they are things to be believed, yet the belief of them is not sufficient without the belief of the Cross; in that alone was our redemption wrought. Had he only lived, he would have not been a Savior. If our faith stops in his life, and does not fasten upon his blood, it will not be a justifying faith. His miracles, which prepared the world for his doctrine, and his holiness, which fitted himself for his suffering, would have been insufficient for us without the addition of the Cross. Without this, we had been under the demerit of our crimes, the venom of our natures, the slavery of our sins, and the tyranny of the devil; without this, we should forever have had God for our enemy, and Satan for our executioner; without this, we had lain groaning under the punishment of our transgressions, and despaired of any smile from heaven. It was this death as a sacrifice that appeased God and as a price redeemed us. Nothing is so strong to encourage us; nothing so powerful to purify us; how can we be without thinking of it? …

This will be the foundation of all our comforts. What comfort can be wanting, when we can look upon Christ crucified as our surety, and look upon ourselves as crucified in him, when we can consider our sins as punished in him, and ourselves accepted by virtue of his Cross? It was not an angel which was crucified for us, but the Son of God; one of an equal dignity with the Father; one that shed blood enough to blot out the demerit of our crimes, were they more than could be numbered by all the angels of heaven, if all were made known to them. He was not crucified for a few, but for all sorts of offenses. When we shall see judgment in the world, what comfort can we take without a knowledge and sense of a crucified Christ? What a horror is it for a condemned man to see the preparation of the gibbets, halters and executioners? But when he shall see a propitiation made for him, the anger of the Prince atoned, the Law some other way satisfied, and his condemnation changed into remission; all his former terrors vanish, and a sweet and pleasing calm possesses him… When we tremble under a sense of our sins, the terrors of the Judge and the curses of the Law, let us look upon a crucified Christ, the remedy to all our miseries. His Cross has procured a crown. His passion [death] has expiated our transgressions. His death has disarmed the Law. His blood has washed a believers soul. This death is the destruction of our enemies, the spring of our happiness, the eternal testimony of divine love. We have good reason, as well as the apostle Paul, to determine with ourselves to know nothing but Jesus Christ, and especially him crucified.”

– Stephen Charnock (1628–1680), “A Discourse of the Knowledge of Christ Crucified”Works, p. 844-845

Stephen Charnock (1628–1680) on God’s wrath abiding on the yet-unbelieving elect


This is something I myself have often wondered about. A couple of years ago, in coming to grips with my conversion and consequently becoming more and more acquainted with Reformed Theology and especially the covenant of grace and sovereign election, I often wondered whether God’s wrath abides on the yet-unbelieving elect (those who are elect but who have not yet heard the Gospel, or those who are elect and have heard the Gospel but have not yet believed it), or whether they abide under his love based on his covenantal promises to them, their sins having been being atoned for, and their pending faith and repentance which the Holy Spirit will still work in them. While throughout the Bible, especially in the Old Testament prophets, we can see God’s love toward the yet-unbelieving elect, there is nonetheless a sense in which they abide under the wrath of God in their unbelieving state. Stephen Charnock (1628–1680) explains:

“God doth hate his elect in some sense before their actual reconciliation. God was placable before Christ, appeased by Christ. But till there be such conditions which God hath appointed in the creature, he [the creature] hath no interest in this reconciliation of God; and whatsoever person he be in whom the condition is not found, he remains under the wrath of God, and therefore is in some sense under God’s hatred.”

– Stephen Charnock (1628–1680), A Discourse of God’s Being the Author of Reconciliation, in The Works of Stephen Charnock, 3:345

Therefore we see that, while in a genuine sense God loves his elect even in their pre-converted and unbelieving state – based on the atonement of Christ and the covenant of grace – there nonetheless is a sense in which God’s wrath abides on the yet-unbelieving elect until the God-ordained condition of reconciliation (viz. justification by faith alone – Rom. 3:28) is met. “And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled.” (Col. 1:21)