August 18, 2007

Charnock on Head and Heart Knowledge

"There is an excellency in divine knowledge that cannot be discovered by the tongues of men or angels; an experience and spiritual sensation renders a man more intelligent than all discourses can. As the natural sense best judgeth of sensible objects, so doth the spiritual sense of divine. He that hath tasted honey hath a more lively knowledge of it than the most learned man that never tasted the sweetness, or felt the operations of it. Nor can any conceive so clearly of the excellency of the sun, by the discourses of the richest fancies, as by seeing its glory and feeling the warmth of its beams. A man's own sense will better inform him of the beauty of the heavens than the elevated reasonings of philosophers. Divine truth acted upon the heart, and felt in its influence, is more plainly known than by discourse and reason. I would rather have the feeling which a sincere soul hath of God, than all the descriptions of him by a notional apprehension. One is knowledge in the notion, the other in reality; the one is the effect of well-educated nature and common grace, the other the fruit of a spiritual eye-salve, Rev. iii. 18, and an inward breathing; the one is a shining upon the head, the other a shining into the heart, 2 Cor. iv. 6."

Stephen Charnock, "A Discourse on the Knowledge of God," in The Complete Works of Stephen Charnock (Edinburgh, 1865), 4:21.

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