English Puritan theologian and preacher
Charnock, a London solicitor’s son, accepted the Puritan position while a student at Emmanuel College, Cambridge. Shortly after graduating he went to Oxford, in 1654 becoming proctor of New College during the chancellorship of Oliver Cromwell, leader of the Puritan party. In 1655 Charnock went to Ireland as chaplain to the lord deputy, Henry Cromwell. After the lord deputy’s death, Charnock returned to London, devoting himself to study and occasional preaching. In 1675, along with another Puritan, Thomas Watson, he was appointed joint pastor of a large Presbyterian congregation in London.
Charnock was recognized during his lifetime as a preacher having deep conviction, practical insight, and great learning. Shortly after his death a number of his writings were edited by Messrs. Adams and Veal and published over a period of years. They included A Discourse on Divine Providence; Discourses on Christ Crucified; and Discourses on Regeneration, the Lord’s Supper, and Other Subjects. His fame as a theologian, however, rests principally on his Discourses Upon the Existence and Attributes of God (1682). A massive work that ran to some thirteen hundred pages in the first American printing, it demonstrated both Charnock’s thorough scholarship and his practical concern. It remains one of the most exhaustive treatments of the doctrine of God in the English language, having been reprinted many times. A complete edition of his works was published in nine volumes in 1815. J. N. Akers
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Who’s Who in Christian History
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