Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Of Providence

O how ravishing and delectable a sight will it be to behold at one view the whole design of Providence, and the proper place and use of every single act, which we could not understand in this world! What Christ said to Peter is as applicable to some providences in which we are now concerned as it was to that particular action: 'What I do, thou knowest not now: but thou shalt know hereafter' (John 13:7). All the dark, intricate, puzzling providences at which we were sometimes so offended, and sometimes amazed, which we could neither reconcile with the promise nor with each other, nay, which we so unjustly censured and bitterly bewailed, as if they had fallen out quite against our happiness, we shall then see to be to us, as the difficult passage through the wilderness was to Israel, 'the right way to a city of habitation' (Ps. 107:7).


And yet, though our present views and reflections upon Providence are so short and imperfect in comparison to that in heaven, yet such as it is under all its present disadvantages, it has so much excellence and sweetness in it that I may call it a little heaven, or as Jacob called his Bethel, 'the gate of heaven.' It is certainly a highway of walking with God in this world, and a soul may enjoy as sweet communion with him in His providences as in any of His ordinances. How often have the hearts of its observers been melted into tears of joy at the beholding of its wise and unexpected productions! How often has it convinced them, upon a sober recollection of the events of their lives, that if the Lord had left them to their own counsels they had often been their own tormentors, if not executioners! Into what and how many fatal mischiefs had they precipitated themselves if Providence had been as short-sighted as they! They have given it their hearty thanks for considering their interest more than their importunity, and not allowing them to perish by their own desires. John Flavel's The Mystery of Providence pages 22-23

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