God’s Preserving Power

Stephen Charnock wrote an excellent tome on “The Existence and Attributes of God.” This work is full of rich truth of great benefit to the Christian. For your edification I am going to periodically post heavily edited excerpts from Charnock’s writings on the goodness of God.

God is the great Father of the world, to nourish it as well as create it. Man and beast would perish if there were not herbs for their food; and herbs would wither and perish, if the earth were not watered with fruitful showers. Hence, God is called the “Preserver of man and beast” (Psalm 36:6). He is the subsistence of all things.

By the same word whereby He gave being to things, He gives to them continuance and duration in being. As they were “created by his word,” they are sustained by His word (Heb. 1:3). The same powerful fiat, “Let the earth bring forth grass” (Gen. 1:11), when the plants first peeped upon man out of nothing, is expressed every spring when they begin to lift up their heads from their naked roots and winter graves. The resurrection of light every morning, the reviving of all things pleasing to the eye, the watering the valleys from the mountain springs, the curbing of the waters from covering the earth, every draught that the beasts drink, every lodging the fowls have, every bit of food for the sustenance of man and beast, is ascribed to the “opening of his hand.” (Psalm 104:27) His sustaining power is as great as that displayed in the first creation of things when He endowed them with their particular nature. The plants, which are so serviceable, are called “the trees of the Lord” (Psalm 104:16) and only have being and power in Him. The whole 104th Psalm is but the description of His preserving power as the first chapter of Genesis is the description of His creating power.

By His power angels have remained for thousands of years in the power of understanding and willing. By His power things distant in their natures have been joined together- a spiritual soul and a dusty body knit in a marriage knot. By His power the heavenly bodies have for so many ages rolled in their spheres, and the tumultuous elements have persisted in their order. By His power hath the matter of the world been continued to this day, and remain as capable of sustaining life as it was at the first creation.

What an amazing sight would it be to see a man hold a pillar of the Exchange upon one of his fingers? What is this to the power of God, “who holds the waters in the hollow of his hand, metes out the heaven with a span, and weighs the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance” (Isa. 40:12)?