Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1975
Born in Nottingham, England in 1886, Arthur Walkington Pink was converted to Christ while a spiritualist medium. He briefly attended the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, Illinois, in 1910, before taking up his first pastorate at Silverton, Colorado. Little-known to the outside world, he pastored other churches in the United States and Australia before finally returning to his homeland in 1934. Settling in Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis, Scotland, there he died almost unnoticed in 1952. By that date, however, the magazine he had started in 1922 – Studies in the Scriptures – was feeding several of the men who were leading a return to doctrinal Christianity, including Martyn Lloyd-Jones and Douglas Johnson (founder of Inter-Varsity) and, in book form after his death, his writings became very widely read across the world. The Trust publishes his The Sovereignty of God, Gleanings from Paul, Profiting from the Word, The Life of Elijah, and a number of titles which have been translated into Spanish (from a blurb on Iain H. Murray’s biography of Pink – The Life of Arthur W. Pink.)
The one thing I knew for sure about Pink, before picking up this book was that he had a very high view of God. For Pink, as the Bible clearly teaches, all things are by God and for God. He the Sovereign God of the universe. However, unlike many other Calvinists that I’ve read Pink does not quote from the great confessions of the Church, e.g. The Westminster Confession of Faith, The London Baptist Confession of Faith, The Augsburg Confession of Faith, the Canons of Dort, etc. By the way, I don’t believe it’s wrong to cite the great confessions of faith because in doing so it demonstrates that one’s view is not just his own, but the Church’s as a whole. However, I am disappointed when an author, quotes them so much that he puts, probably unwittingly, the creeds at the same level, or even above, divinely inspired Scripture.
If you’re looking for a light study of the characteristics of God with lots of illustrations and practical applications, this is not your book. On the other hand, if you desire a deeply biblical study of God’s attributes, one that includes some devotional thoughts along the way, even an occasional evangelistic appeal, you will likely find this book very beneficial.
In this short 92 page book Arthur Pink does not treat all the attributes of God mentioned in the Bible, but he covers many of them, some that other authors neglect, for example, the solitariness of God, the foreknowledge of God, the patience of God, and the wrath of God. By the way in the latter chapter, he scolds preachers for failing to preach on God’s wrath.
Here is a complete table of contents:
- The Solitariness of God
- The Decrees of God
- The Knowledge of God
- The Foreknowledge of God
- The Supremacy of God
- The Sovereignty of God
- The Immutability of God
- The Holiness of God
- The Power of God
- The Faithfulness of God
- The Goodness of God
- The Patience of God
- The Grace of God
- The Mercy of God
- The Love of God
- The Wrath of God
- The Contemplation of God
Below is a sample from chapter 12 on the patience of God.
The patience of God is that excellency which causes Him to sustain great injuries without immediately avenging Himself. He has a power of patience as well as a power of justice. Thus the Hebrew word for the Divine longsuffering is rendered “slow to avenge” in Nehemiah 9:17, Psalm 103:8, etc. Not that there are any passions in the Divine nature, but that God’s wisdom and will is pleased to act with stateliness and sobriety which is becoming to His exalted majesty.
In support of our definition above let us point out that it was to this excellence in the Divine character that Moses appeared, when Israel sinned so grievously at Kadesh-Barnea, and there provoked Jehovah so sorely. Unto His servant the Lord said, “I will smite them with the pestilence and disinherit them.” Then it was that the mediator Moses, as a type of the Christ to come, pleaded, “I beseech Thee, let the power of my Lord be great according as Thou hast spoken, saying, “The Lord is longsuffering,” etc. (Numbers 14:17). Thus His “longsuffering” is His power of self-restraint.
Again, in Romans 9:22 we read, “What if God, willing to show His wrath, and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction… ? Were God to immediately break these reprobate vessels into pieces, His power of self-control would not so eminently appear; by bearing with their wickedness and forbearing punishment so long, the power of His patience is gloriously demonstrated. True, the wicked interpret His longsuffering quite differently – “Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil” (Ecclesiastes 8:11) – but the anointed eye adores what they abuse.
“The God of patience” (Romans 15:5) is one of the Divine titles. Deity is thus denominated, first because God is both the Author and Object of the grace of patience in the saint. Secondly, because this is what He is in Himself: patience is one of His perfections. Thirdly, as a pattern for us: “Put on mercy, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering (Colossians 3:12). And again “Be ye therefore, followers (emulators) of God, as dear children” (Ephesians 5:2). When tempted to be disgusted at the dullness of another, or to be revenged on one who has wronged you, call to remembrance God’s infinite patience and longsuffering with yourself.”