Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Sinking into the Abyss

‘This great man never ventured into “the deep recesses of the Divine Majesty,” as he called certain themes. “That prospect of election and predestination,” said he, “is a great abyss into which I choose to sink”, rather than attempt to sound it. And truly,” he adds, “any attempt at throwing light upon it, makes it only a greater abyss, and is a piece of blameable presumption.” And thus we should feel with regard to all those things which are shrouded (to use John Howe’s words) “in venerable darkness.” A simple trust in God, returning from all our perplexing thoughts and confounding speculations, and resting in his rectitude, wisdom, and love, is the only antidote for those surmisings, perplexities, and painful conflicts which such facts as the existence of evil, and the absolute sovereignty of the Almighty, and the exercise of so many foreign influences over the will of man, are enough to produce.’

(John Stoughton on John Howe, in Lights of the World, 1852, 47-48. Picture of John Howe thanks to National Portrait Gallery.)

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