The following quote is adapted from John Bunyan’s (1628 – 1688) book An Exposition on the First Ten Chapters of Genesis, and Part of the Eleventh, as found in The Works of Bunyan, by Banner of Truth Publishing. This book is “an unfinished commentary on the Bible, found among the author’s papers after his death, in his own handwriting.” This work was published in 1691.
John Bunyan is best known as the author of the classic The Pilgrim’s Progress. During his lifetime (60 years), he wrote 60 books, some of which are of significant length. He was never formally educated or trained. In fact, he had to leave school when he was only ten years old. He was a peasant and tinker (repairer of pots and pans), yet he was passionate about the study of Scripture. While in prison for nearly thirteen years for preaching without a license from the Church of England, his only possessions were a Bible and a copy of Foxe’s Book of Martyrs. He had no other library.
Chapter one of this book concerns the doctrine of God – who He is in His attributes. I found this passage to be theologically rich and inspiring. It demonstrates the keen insight into the Scriptures that Bunyan had. I believe that in reading it you will be edified and blessed.
“God is a Spirit, eternal, infinite, incomprehensible, perfect, and unspeakably glorious in his being, attributes, and works. ‘The eternal God.’ ‘Do not I fill heaven and earth? Saith the Lord’ (Jeremiah 23:24). ‘Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight’ (Hebrews 4:13; Proverbs 15:11).
In his attributes of wisdom, power, justice, holiness, mercy, &c., he is also inconceivably perfect and infinite, not to be comprehended by things in earth, or things in heaven; known in the perfection of his being only to himself. The seraphim cannot behold him, but through a veil; no man can see him in his perfection and live.
His attributes, though apart (separately) laid down in the word of God, that we, being weak, might the better conceive of his eternal power and godhead; yet in him they are without division; one glorious and eternal being. Again, though sometimes this, as of wisdom, or that, as of justice and mercy, is most manifest in his works and wonders before men; yet every such work is begun and completed by the joint concurrence of all his attributes. No act of justice is without his will, power, and wisdom; no act of mercy is against his justice, holiness and purity.
Besides, no man must conceive of God, as if he consisted of these attributes, as our body doth of its members, one standing here, another there, for the completing personal subsistence. For though by the word we may distinguish, yet may we not divide them, or presume to appoint them their places in the Godhead. Wisdom is in his justice, holiness is in his power, justice is in his mercy, holiness is in his love, and power is in his goodness.
Wherefore, he is in all his attributes almighty, all wise, holy and powerful. Glory is in his wisdom, glory is in his holiness, glory is in his mercy, justice and strength; and ‘God is love’ (1 John 4:16).”