Home > Calvinism, Christian Institutes > Special Providence proved by passages relating to the human race

Special Providence proved by passages relating to the human race

calvin.jpg_7MA21605611-0015Special Providence proved by passages relating to the human race, and the more especially that for its sake the world was created.

6. But as we know that it was chiefly for the sake of mankind that the world was made, we must look to this as the end which God has in view in the government of it. The prophet Jeremiah exclaims, “O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps,” (Jeremiah 10:23.) Solomon again says, “Man’s goings are of the Lord: how can a man then understand his own way?” (Proverbs 20:24.) Will it now be said that man is moved by God according to the bent of his nature, but that man himself gives the movement any direction he pleases? Were it truly so, man would have the full disposal of his own ways. To this it will perhaps be answered, that man can do nothing without the power of God. But the answer will not avail, since both Jeremiah and Solomon attribute to God not power only, but also election and decree. And Solomon, in another place, elegantly rebukes the rashness of men in fixing their plans without reference to God, as if they were not led by his hand. “The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the Lord,” (Proverbs 16:1.) It is a strange infatuation, surely for miserable men, who cannot even give utterance except in so far as God pleases, to begin to act without him! Scriptures moreover, the better to show that every thing done in the world is according to his decree, declares that the things which seem most fortuitous are subject to him. For what seems more attributable to chance than the branch which falls from a tree, and kills the passing traveler? But the Lord sees very differently, and declares that He delivered him into the hand of the slayer, (Exodus 21:13.) In like manners who does not attribute the lot to the blindness of Fortune? Not so the Lord, who claims the decision for himself, (Proverbs 16:33.) He says not, that by his power the lot is thrown into the lap, and taken out, but declares that the only thing which could be attributed to chance is from him. To the same effect are the words of Solomon, “The poor and the deceitful man meet together; the Lord lighteneth both their eyes,” (Proverbs 29:13.) For although rich and poor are mingled together in the world, in saying that the condition of each is divinely appointed, he reminds us that God, Who enlightens all, has his own eye always open, and thus exhorts the poor to patient endurance, seeing that those who are discontented with their lot endeavor to shake off a burden which God has imposed upon them. Thus, too, another prophet upbraids the profane, who ascribe it to human industry, or to fortune, that some grovel in the mire while others rise to honor. “Promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. But God is the judge: he putteth down ones and setteth up another,” (Psalm 75:6, 7.) Because God cannot divest himself of the office of judge, he infers that to his secret counsel it is owing that some are elevated, while others remain without honor.

John Calvin-Institutes of the Christian Religion-Book I-Chapter 16-Henry Beveridge Translation

Advertisements
  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: