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The least glimpse of the glory of God in the face of Christ doth more exalt and ennoble the soul, than all the knowledge of those that have the greatest speculative understanding in divinity without grace

Thirdly, All may hence be exhorted, earnestly to seek this spiritual light. To influence and move to it, the following things may be considered.

1. This is the most excellent and divine wisdom that any creature is capable of. It is more excellent than any human learning; it is far more excellent than all the knowledge of the greatest philosophers or statesmen. Yea, the least glimpse of the glory of God in the face of Christ doth more exalt and ennoble the soul, than all the knowledge of those that have the greatest speculative understanding in divinity without grace. This knowledge has the most noble object that can be, viz. the divine glory and excellency of God and Christ. The knowledge of these objects that wherein consists the most excellent knowledge of the angels, yea, of God himself.

Jonathan Edwards- A Divine And Supernatural Light Immediately Imparted To The Soul, By The Spirit Of God, Shown To Be Both A Scriptual And Rational Doctrine. [Preached at Norhampton, and published at the desire of some of the hearers, in the year 1734.]

Charles Spurgeon’s Letters-Letter 175

WORDS OF SYMPATHY

To [Mr. Higgs].

WESTWOOD, Mar. 18, 1886.

DEAR FRIEND,—

I feel very grieved for you and the dear wife, for I know your tender hearts. Yet the bitterest elements of sorrow are not in the cup, for we have no doubt as to where little ones must be.

You have now a child among the angels — to whom we will soon go. So short is life that our wounds are staunched almost as soon as they begin to bleed. We part, and so soon meet.

Mrs. Spurgeon joins with me in loving sympathy.

Yours in our Lord Jesus,

C. H. SPURGEON.

The Wednesday Word – Jesus, God over All

Romans 9:5. “Of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is God over all, blessed for ever. Amen” (ESV)

God became a man. He became a member of the human race. He became flesh and blood.

Stunning!

Although He became human, He remained entirely and thoroughly the Lord God from Heaven.

Even more stunning!

He was and is the Mighty God, the eternal, self-existent one who was and is and is to come.

He is ‘over all.’

That means,

There is no one above Him.

He is over all angels.

He is above all created beings.

He governs all.

What exceedingly good news! It was the Lord of Glory Himself who came to redeem us. We were helpless, and God Himself loved us enough to come to the rescue.

The God of the Arians (Jehovah Witnesses and others) didn’t love us enough to come here to save us. He, according to their teaching, created and sent someone else to do the job for him.

Perhaps their god didn’t want to get his hands dirty? Or maybe it was because he didn’t like the idea of pain, suffering, rejection and humiliation? Or perhaps he was occupied with more pressing matters? But whatever the reason, he, according to them, stayed in Heaven and sent a substitute to represent Him. He can, therefore, be likened to a man who while walking over a bridge with his son spies someone drowning in the river below. His heart is so smitten with concern that he asks his son to jump over the side to rescue and save the drowning man. But, not so the God of the Bible! He laid down the vestiges of royalty, wrapped himself with humanity and came here Himself to rescue and save us from the river of death by bearing our sins on the cross. Jesus was man’s substitute, not God’s. As Bonar said,

‘Turn your eye to the cross and see these two things, – the Crucifiers and the Crucified——-See the Crucified. It is God himself; incarnate love. It is the God who made you, suffering, dying for the ungodly. Can you suspect his grace? Can you cherish evil thoughts of him? Can you ask anything farther to awaken in you the fullest and most unreserved confidence? Will you misinterpret that agony and death by saying that they do not mean grace, or that the grace which they mean is not for you? Call to mind that which is written, – “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us” 1 John 3:16.

Horatius Bonar: Christ Died for the Ungodly.

In the scheme which denies Christ’s Deity, we are presented with a god who was either unwilling or unable to come here himself and rescue us. We must then ask, had their god become too frail to undertake the mission? Did he need someone more energetic and youthful to complete the task? Candidly speaking, this business of God creating some super-angel to do His redeeming work leaves God looking somewhat suspect in His commitment to us. Frankly, I’m not impressed with a god who wouldn’t come here Himself to rescue me! A god who stayed in heaven while I was utterly ruined cannot melt my heart. A god who delegates my redemption to another cannot command my loyalty. On this matter, I take my stand with Luther who said,

“Wherefore, he that preaches a God to me that died not for me the death on the cross, that God will I not receive.”

Martin Luther: Smalcald Articles.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination Chapter VI-The Foreknowledge of God

The Reformed Doctrine Of Predestination

Chapter VI

The Foreknowledge of God

The Arminian objection against foreordination bears with equal force against the foreknowledge of God. What God foreknows must, in the very nature of the case, be as fixed and certain as what is foreordained; and if one is inconsistent with the free agency of man, the other is also. Foreordination renders the events certain, while foreknowledge presupposes that they are certain.

Now if future events are foreknown to God, they cannot by any possibility take a turn contrary to His knowledge. If the course of future events is foreknown, history will follow that course as definitely as a locomotive follows the rails from New York to Chicago. The Arminian doctrine, in rejecting foreordination, rejects the theistic basis for foreknowledge. Common sense tells us that no event can be foreknown unless by some means, either physical or mental, it has been predetermined. Our choice as to what determines the certainty of future events narrows down to two alternatives — the foreordination of the wise and merciful heavenly Father, or the working of blind, physical fate.

The Socinians and Unitarians, while not so evangelical as the Arminians, are at this point more consistent; for after rejecting the foreordination of God, they also deny that He can foreknow the acts of free agents. They hold that in the very nature of the case it cannot be known how the person will act until the time comes and the choice is made. This view of course reduces the prophecies of Scripture to shrewd guesses at best, and destroys the historic Christian view of the Inspiration of the Scriptures. It is a view which has never been held by any recognized Christian church. Some of the Socinians and Unitarians have been bold enough and honest enough to acknowledge that the reason which led them to deny God’s certain foreknowledge of the future acts of men, was, that if this be admitted it would be impossible to disprove the Calvinistic doctrine of Predestination.

Many Arminians have felt the force of this argument, and while they have not followed the Unitarians in denying God’s foreknowledge, they have made it plain that they would very willingly deny it if they could, or dared. Some have spoken disparagingly of the doctrine of foreknowledge and have intimated that, in their opinion, it was not of much importance whether one believed it or not. Some have gone so far as to tell us plainly that men had better reject foreknowledge than admit Predestination. Others have suggested that God may voluntarily neglect to know some of the acts of men in order to leave them free; but this of course destroys the omniscience of God. Still others have suggested that God’s omniscience may imply only that He can know all things, if He chooses,—just as His omnipotence implies that He can do all things, if He chooses. But the comparison will not hold, for these certain acts are not merely possibilities but realities, although yet future; and to ascribe ignorance to God concerning these is to deny Him the attribute of omniscience. This explanation would give us the absurdity of an omniscience that is not omniscient.

When the Arminian is confronted with the argument from the foreknowledge of God, he has to admit the certainty or fixity of future events. Yet when dealing with the problem of free agency he wishes to maintain that the acts of free agents are uncertain and ultimately dependent on the choice of the person,—which is plainly an inconsistent position. A view which holds that the free acts of men are uncertain, sacrifices the sovereignty of God in order to preserve the freedom of men.

Furthermore, if the acts of free agents are in themselves uncertain, God must then wait until the event has had its issue before making His plans. In trying to convert a soul, then He would be conceived of as working in the same manner that Napoleon is said to have gone into battle-with three or four plans in mind, so that if the first failed, he could fall back upon the second, and if that failed, then the third, and so on, —a view which is altogether inconsistent with a true view of His nature. He would then be ignorant of much of the future and would daily be gaining vast stores of knowledge. His government of the world also, in that case, would be very uncertain and changeable, dependent as it would be on the unforeseen conduct of men.

To deny God the perfections of foreknowledge and immutability is to represent Him as a disappointed and unhappy being who is often checkmated and defeated by His creatures. But who can really believe that in the presence of man the Great Jehovah must sit waiting, inquiring, “What will he do?” Yet unless Arminianism denies the foreknowledge of God, it stands defenseless before the logical consistency of Calvinism; for foreknowledge implies certainty and certainty implies foreordination.

Speaking through the prophet Isaiah the Lord said: “I am God, and there is none like me; declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done; saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure,” Isa_46:10. “Thou understandest my thoughts afar off,” said the psalmist, 139:2. He “knoweth the heart,” Act_15:8. “There is no creature that is not manifest in His sight; but all things are naked and laid open before the eyes of Him with whom we have to do,” Heb_4:13.

Much of the difficulty in regard to the doctrine of Predestination is due to the finite character of our mind, which can grasp only a few details at a time, and which understands only a part of the relations between these. We are creatures of time, and often fail to take into consideration the fact that God is not limited as we are. That which appears to us as “past…… present,” and “future,” is all “present” to His mind. It is an eternal “now.” He is “the high and lofty One that inhabits eternity,” Isa_57:15. “A thousands years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, And as a watch in the night,” Psa_90:4. Hence the events which we see coming to pass in time are only the events which He appointed and set before Him from eternity. Time is a property of the finite creation and is objective to God. He is above it and sees it, but is not conditioned by it. He is also independent of space, which is another property of the finite creation. Just as He sees at one glance a road leading from New York to San Francisco, while we see only a small portion of it as we pass over it, so He sees all events in history, past, present, and future at one glance. When we realize that the complete process of history is before Him as an eternal “now,” and that He is the Creator of all finite existence, the doctrine of Predestination at least becomes an easier doctrine.

In the eternal ages back of the creation there could not have been any certainty as to future events unless God had formed a decree in regard to them. Events pass from the category of things that may or may not be, to that of things that shall certainly be, or from possibility to fruition, only when God passes a decree to that effect. This fixity or certainty could have had its ground in nothing outside of the divine Mind, for in eternity nothing else existed. Says Dr. R. L. Dabney: “The only way in which any object can by any possibility have passed from God’s vision of the possible into His foreknowledge of the actual, is by His purposing to effectuate it Himself, or intentionally and purposely to permit its effectuation by some other agent whom He expressly purposed to bring into existence. This is clear from this fact. An effect conceived in posse only rises into actuality by virtue of an efficient cause or causes. When God was looking forward from the point of view of His original infinite prescience, there was but one cause, Himself. If any other cause or agent is ever to arise, it must be by God’s agency. If effects are embraced in God’s infinite prescience, which these other agents are to produce, still, in willing these other agents into existence, with infinite prescience, God did virtually will into existence, or purpose, all the effects of which they were to be efficients.” 1

And to the same effect the Baptist theologian, Dr. A. B. Strong, who for a number of years was President and Professor in the Rochester Theological Seminary, writes: “In eternity there could have been no cause of the future existence of the universe, outside of God Himself, since no being existed but God Himself. In eternity God foresaw that the creation of the world and the Institution of its laws would make certain its actual history even to the most insignificant details. But God decreed to create and to institute these laws. In so decreeing He necessarily decreed all that was to come. In fine, God foresaw the future events of the universe as certain, because He had decreed to create; but this determination to create involved also a determination of all the actual results of that creation; or, in other words, God decreed those results.”

Foreknowledge must not be confused with foreordination. Foreknowledge presupposes foreordination, but is not itself foreordination. The actions of free agents do not take place because they are foreseen, but they are foreseen because they are certain to take place. Hence Strong says, “Logically, though not chronologically, decree comes before foreknowledge. When I say, ‘I know what I will do,’ it is evident that I have determined already, and that my knowledge does not precede determination, but follows it and is based upon it.”

Since God’s foreknowledge is complete, He knows the destiny of every person, not merely before the person has made his choice in this life, but from eternity. And since He knows their destiny before they are created, and then proceeds to create, it is plain that the saved and the lost alike fulfill His plan for them; for if He did not plan that any particular ones should be lost, He could at least refrain from creating them.

We conclude, then, that the Christian doctrine of the Foreknowledge of God proves also His Predestination. Since these events are foreknown, they are fixed and settled things; and nothing can have fixed and settled them except the good pleasure of God, — the great first cause,— freely and unchangeably foreordaining whatever comes to pass. The whole difficulty lies in the acts of free agents being certain; yet certainty is required for foreknowledge as well as for foreordination. The Arminian arguments, if valid, would disprove both foreknowledge and foreordination. And since they prove too much we conclude that they prove nothing at all.

1 Theology, p. 212.

Loraine Boettner- The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination

Twelve dissimilarities between the crossing of the Red Sea and the crossing of the Jordan

It is both interesting and instructive to compare the supernatural passages of Israel through the Red Sea and the Jordan. There are at least twelve details of resemblance between them, which we will leave the reader to work out for himself. Here, we will consider their points of dissimilarity.

First, the one terminated Israel’s exodus from the house of bondage, the other initiated their entrance into the land of promise.

Second, the former miracle was wrought in order that they might escape from the Egyptians, the latter to enable them to approach and conquer the Canaanites.

Third, in connection with the one the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind (Exodus 14:21), but with reference to the other no means whatever were employed—to demonstrate that He is not tied to such, but employs or dispenses with them as He pleases.

Fourth, the earlier miracle was performed at nighttime (14:21), the latter in broad daylight.

Fifth, at the Red Sea multitudes were slain, for the Lord made the waters to return upon the Egyptians so that they

“covered the chariots, and the horsemen, and all the host of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them; there remained not so much as one of them” (14:28), whereas at the Jordan not a single soul perished.

Sixth, the one was wrought for a people who just previously had been full of unbelief and murmuring (Exodus 14:11), the other for a people who were believing and obedient (Joshua 2:24; 3:1).

Seventh, with the sole exception of Caleb and Joshua, all the adults who benefited from the former miracle died in the wilderness; whereas the great majority of those who were favored to share in the latter “possessed their possessions.”

Eighth, the waters of the Red Sea were “divided” (Exodus 14:21), those of the Jordan were made to “stand upon an heap” (Joshua 3:13).

Ninth, in the former the believer’s judicial death unto sin was typed out; in the latter his legal oneness with Christ in His resurrection, followed by a practical entrance into his inheritance.

Tenth, consequently, there was no “sanctify yourselves” before the former, but such a call was an imperative requirement for the latter (Joshua 3:5).

Eleventh, the response made by Israel’s enemies to the Lord’s interposition for His people at the Red Sea was, “I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil; my lust shall be satisfied upon them” (Exodus 15:9); but in the latter,

“It came to pass, when all the kings of the Amorites… heard that the Lord had dried up the waters of the Jordan… their heart melted, neither was there spirit in them any more” (Joshua 5:1).

Twelfth, after the former, “Israel saw the Egyptians dead upon the sea shore” (Exodus 14:30); after the latter, a cairn of twelve stones memorialized the event (Joshua 4:20-22).

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures

Can it be said that it is the Holy Ghost who strives in men’s souls, that it is the Holy Ghost who brings them to the foot of Sinai, and then guides them into the sweet place that is called Calvary — can it be said that he does all these things, and yet is not a person?

But is it not said in Scripture, and do we not feel it, dear brethren, that it is the Holy Ghost who regenerates the soul? It is the Holy Ghost who quickens us. “You hath he quickened who were dead in trespasses and sins.” It is the Holy Spirit who imparts the first germ of life, convincing us of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment to come. And is it not the Holy Spirit who after that flame is kindled, still fans it with the breath of his mouth and keeps it alive? Its author is its preserver. Oh! can it be said that it is the Holy Ghost who strives in men’s souls, that it is the Holy Ghost who brings them to the foot of Sinai, and then guides them into the sweet place that is called Calvary — can it be said that he does all these things, and yet is not a person? It may be said, but it must be said by fools; for he never can be a wise man who can consider that these things can be done by any other than a glorious person — a divine existence.

Charles H. Spurgeon- “The Personality of the Holy Ghost,” A Sermon Delivered On Sabbath Morning,

January 21, 1855

It is of great importance whether we have thus been taught by the Spirit of God

Secondly, This doctrine may well put us upon examining ourselves, whether we have ever had this divine light let into our souls. If there be such a thing, doubtless it is of great importance whether we have thus been taught by the Spirit of God; whether the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, hath shined unto us, giving us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ; whether we have seen the Son and believed on him, or have that faith which arises from a spiritual sight of Christ.

Jonathan Edwards- A Divine And Supernatural Light Immediately Imparted To The Soul, By The Spirit Of God, Shown To Be Both A Scriptual And Rational Doctrine. [Preached at Norhampton, and published at the desire of some of the hearers, in the year 1734.]

Charles Spurgeon’s Letters-Letter 174

WORDS OF SYMPATHY

WESTWOOD, May 24, 1884.

DEAR FRIEND, —

May you be sustained under your heavy trial! Now that you and your dear companion are most fully realizing the void which is made in your household, may you find living consolations flowing into your hearts! “It is well,” and faith knows it is so; and worships the Lord from under the cloud. How time has flown! It seems but the other day that you were married; and now you are an old father, bereaved of a daughter. Dear Caleb Higgs, too, is gone home long ago.

We shall meet above before long. Till then, in our Lord’s business we will find solace, and in Himself delight.

Yours ever heartily,

C. H. SPURGEON.

The Wednesday Word – Grace and Truth

“The law was given by Moses; grace and truth came by Jesus Christ” John 1:17.

Moses gave the Law, but the Law it did not come by Moses. Moses, for all his moral rectitude, was not the originator of Law. He gave the Law, but he didn’t invent it.

Moses had to receive the Law. It was not his own. It was not a part of his being. He was not Law incarnate. The Law was delivered to him and he, in turn, gave it to others.

Grace and truth, on the other hand, were not “given” to Christ, they came by Christ for grace and truth were His essence. He was grace and truth incarnate. It is interesting to note that Christ could have come as Law incarnate for, indeed, He was the quintessence of the Law. But when He came to us, He came as the embodiment of grace and truth.

The Law was given to, among other reasons, expose our inability to please God. Our hearts towards God had been frozen in a glacier of self-will and destruction. God, therefore, did not hope that we would keep the Law, He knew we couldn’t. Rather, He gave it so that every mouth would be stopped and all the world become guilty before Him (Romans 3:19).

But there’s good news! Grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. When Christ appeared, grace and truth appeared in all its fullness. Grace and truth descended to earth in the person of Jesus the God/Man. He alone is our Gospel. We dare not add to or subtract from Him.

There are no two things in the Bible more different than Law and Gospel. Either we obtain salvation in all its facets by contributing our works, or we freely receive salvation by faith alone in the doing, dying and rising again of our Lord Jesus …plus nothing!

For a moment then, let’s consider some of the differences and contrasts between Law and Gospel!

The Law demands righteousness; the Gospel gives it.

The Law requires good works; the Gospel provides them.

Under the Law, the source of our blessings is from our obedience. But under the Gospel, blessings are a gift based upon Christ’s obedience.

“The Law threatens, the Gospel heals.

The Law shows us our wretchedness. The Gospel takes our misery away.

The Law was not given to save us but to damn us.

The Gospel, on the other hand, was given, not to damn us but to save us.

The Law was not given to bless us, but to curse us.

The gospel was given to set us free from the curse .

The Law puts on its black cap of damnation and sentences men to death. The Gospel, by contrast, put on the white cap of mercy and brings dead men to life.”

The Law tells us what we must do to get right with God. Grace, on the other hand, tells us what God has done for us to get us right with Himself.

When Moses gave the Law, his face shone. But when grace and truth came, the full light of the knowledge of the glory of God was revealed in the face of Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 4:6).

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination Chapter V-The Providence of God

The Reformed Doctrine Of Predestination

Chapter V

The Providence of God

God’s works of providence are His most holy, wise, and powerful preserving and governing all his creatures and all their actions.” (Shorter Catechism, answer to Question 11.) The Scriptures very clearly teach that all things outside of God owe not merely their original creation, but their continued existence, with all their properties and Powers, to the will of God. He upholds all things by the word of His power, Heb_1:3. He is before all things, and in Him all things consist, Col_1:17. “Thou art Jehovah, even thou alone; thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their hosts, the earth and all things that are therein, the seas and all that is in them, and thou preservest them all,” Neh_9:6. “In Him we live, and move and have our being,” Act_17:28. He is “over all, and through all, and in all,” Eph_4:6.

Throughout the Bible the laws of nature, the course of history, the varying fortunes of individuals, are ever attributed to God’s providential control. All things, both in heaven and earth, from the seraphim down to the tiny atom, are ordered by His never-failing providence. So intimate is His relationship with the whole creation that a care- less reader might be led toward pantheistic conclusions. Yet individual personalities and second causes are fully recognized, — not as independent of God, but as having their proper place in His plan. And alongside of this doctrine of His Immanence the Scripture writers also present the kindred doctrine of His Transcendence, in which God is distinctly set forth as entirely separate from and above the whole creation.

Yet as regards God’s providence we are to understand that He is intimately concerned with every detail in the affairs of men and in the course of nature. “To suppose that anything is too great to be comprehended in His control,” says Dr. Charles Hodge, “or anything so minute as to escape His notice; or that the infinitude of particulars can distract His attention, is to forget that God is infinite . . . . The sun diffuses its light through all space as easily as upon any point. God is as much present everywhere, and with everything, as though He were only in one place, and had but one object of attention.” And again, “He is present in every blade of grass, yet guiding Arcturus in his course, marshalling the stars as a host, calling them by their names; present also in every human soul, giving it understanding, endowing it with gifts, working in it both to will and to do. The human heart is in His hands; and he turneth it even as the rivers of water are turned.” 1

It is almost universally admitted that God determines when, where, and under what circumstances, each individual of our race shall be born, live, and die, whether it shall be male or female, white or black, wise or foolish. God is no less sovereign in the distribution of His favors. He does what He will with His own. To some He gives riches, to others honor, to others health, to others certain talents for music, oratory, art, finance, statesmanship, etc. Others are poor, unknown, born in dishonor, the victims of disease, and live lives of wretchedness. Some are placed in Christian lands where they receive all the benefits of the Gospel; others live and die in the darkness of heathenism. Some are brought through faith unto salvation; others are left to perish in unbelief. And to a very large extent these external things, which are not the result of individual choice, decide the person’s life course and eternal destiny. Both Scripture and every day experience teach us that God gives to some what He withholds from others. If it be asked why He does this, or why he does not save all, the only available answer is found in the words of the Lord Jesus, “Yea, Father, for so it was well – pleasing in thy sight.” Only the Scripture doctrine of the fall and redemption will give us any light on what we see about us.

It is to be remembered that those who receive these gifts, whether spiritual or temporal, receive them through pure grace, while in regard to the others God simply withholds those gifts which He was under no obligation to bestow. Nations, as well as individuals, are thus in the hands of God, who appoints the bounds of their habitation, and controls their destiny. He controls them as absolutely as a man controls a rod or a staff. They are in His hands, and He employs them to accomplish His purposes. He breaks them in pieces as a potter’s vessel, or He exalts them to greatness, according to His good pleasure. He gives peace and fruitful seasons, property and happiness, or He sends the desolations of war, famine, drought and pestilence. All of these things are of His disposing, and are designed for intelligent ends under His universal providence. God is no mere spectator of the universe He has made, but is everywhere present and active, the all-sustaining ground, and all-governing power of all that is.

Although the price of the sparrow is small, and its flight seems giddy and at random, yet it does not fall to the ground, nor slight anywhere without your Father. “His all-wise providence hath before appointed what bough it shall perch upon; what grains it shall pick up; where it shall lodge and where it shall build; on what it shall live and where it shall die.” 2

Every raindrop and every snowflake which falls from the cloud, every insect which moves, every plant which grows, every grain of dust which floats in the air has had certain definite causes and will have certain definite effects. Each is a link in the chain of events and many of the great events of history have turned on these apparently insignificant things.

Throughout the whole course of events there is progress toward a predetermined end. Dr. Warfield has well written: “It was not accident that brought Rebecca to the well to welcome Abraham’s servant (Genesis 24), or that sent Joseph into Egypt (Gen_45:8; Gen_50:20,. ‘God meant it for good’), or guided Pharaoh’s daughter to the ark among the flags (Exodus 2), or that, later. directed the millstone that crushed Abimelech’s head (Jdg_9:53), or winged the arrow shot at a venture to smite the king in the joints of the armor (1Ki_22:34). Every historical event is rather treated as an item in the orderly carrying out of an underlying Divine purpose; and the historian is continually aware of the presence in history of Him who gives even to the lightning a charge to strike the mark (Job_36:32).” 3

“In the great railroad stations,” said Dr. Clarence E. Macartney, “you can see a metallic pencil come out and write in great characters on the wall the time of the arrival or departure of the trains. The metallic pencil seems to write of itself, but we know that hidden in an office somewhere the mind and hand of a man are operating the pencil. So in our own life, we note our own deliberations and choices and decisions, and yet in the fabric of our destiny there seem to be other strands, strands not of our own weaving. Apparently trivial events play their part in great issues.” 4

Man’s sense of moral responsibility and dependence, and his instinctive appeal to God in times of danger, show how universal and innate is the conviction that God does govern the world and all human events. But while the Bible repeatedly teaches that this providential control is universal, Powerful, wise, and holy, it nowhere attempts to inform us how it is to be reconciled with man’s free agency. All that we need to know is that God does govern His creatures and that His control over them is such that no violence is done to their natures. Perhaps the relationship between divine sovereignty and human freedom can best be summed up in these words: God so presents the outside inducements that man acts in accordance with his own nature, yet does exactly what God has planned for him to do.

This subject, as it relates to human responsibility, will be more fully treated in the chapter on Free Agency.

SCRIPTURE PROOF

That this is the Scripture doctrine of Providence is so plain that it is admitted by many whose philosophical views lead them to reject it for themselves. We shall now present a summary of Scripture proof, showing that all events have a divinely appointed place and purpose, that God’s providence is universal, and that He thus secures the complete fulfillment of His plans. God’s providential control extends over:

(a) Nature or the physical world. “Jehovah doeth His will in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet,” Nah_1:3. “Only in the land of Goshen where the children of Israel were, there was no hail,” Exo_9:26. “He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sendeth rain on the just and the unjust,” Mat_5:45. The famine in Egypt appeared to men to be only the result of natural causes; yet Joseph could say, “The thing is established of God, and God will shortly bring it to pass.” Gen_41:32. “And I also have withholden the rain from you, when there were yet three months before the harvest; and I caused it to rain upon one city, and caused it not to rain upon another city,” Amo_4:7. “He gave you from heaven rains and fruitful seasons, filling your heart with food and gladness,” Act_14:17. “Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance?” Isa_40:12.

(b) The animal creation. “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny and not one of them shall fall to the ground without your Father,” Mat_10:29. “Behold the birds of the heavens, that they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; and your heavenly Father feedeth them,” Mat_6:26. “My God hath sent His angel and hath shut the lions’ months, that they have not hurt me,” Dan_6:22. “The young lions roar after their prey, and seek their meat from God,” Psa_104:21. “Thus God hath taken away the cattle of your father (Laban) and given them to me” (Jacob), Gen_31:9.

(c) Nations. (Nebuchadnezzar’s humiliation was) “to the intent that the living may know that the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever He will, and setteth up over it the lowest of men,” Dan_4:17. “Behold, the nations are as a drop in the bucket, and are accounted as the small dust of the balance; behold, He taketh up the isles as a very little thing,” Isaiah 40-15. “Let them say among the nation Jehovah reigneth,” 1Ch_16:31. “For God Is the King of all the earth,” Psa_47:7. “He changeth the times and the seasons; He removeth kings, and setteth up kings,” Dan_2:21. “Jehovah bringeth the counsel of the nations to naught; He maketh the thoughts of the people to be of none effect,” Psa_33:10. “And Jehovah gave them rest round about …. Jehovah delivered all their enemies into their hands,” Jos_21:44. “And the children of Israel did that which was evil in the sight of Jehovah; and Jehovah delivered them into the hands of Midian seven years,” Jdg_6:1. ‘Shall evil befall a city, and Jehovah hath not done it?” Amo_3:6. “For, lo, I raise up the Chaldeans, that bitter and hasty nation, that march through the breadth of the earth, to possess dwelling places that are not theirs,” Hab_1:6.

(d) Individual men. “The king’s heart is in the hand of Jehovah as the watercourses; He turneth it whithersoever He will,” Pro_21:1. “A man’s goings are established of Jehovah,” Psa_37:23. “A man’s heart deviseth his way, but the Lord directeth his steps,” Pro_16:9. “For we ought to say, if the Lord will, we shall both live, and do this or that,” Jam_4:15. “Of Him, and through Him, and unto Him are all things,” Rom_11:36. “Who maketh thee to differ? And what hast thou that thou didst not receive?” 1Co_4:7. “The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear Him, And delivereth them,” Psa_34:7. “If it be so our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace; and He will deliver us out of thy hand,O king,” Dan_3:17. “Jehovah is on my side; I shall not fear; What can man do unto me?” Psa_118:6. But now, O Jehovah, thou art our Father; we are the clay and thou our potter; and we are the work of thy hands,” Isa_64:8. “And the hand of our God was upon us, and He delivered us (the returning exiles) from the hand of the enemy and the lier-in-wait by the way,” Ezr_8:31. “And God brought their counsel to naught,” Neh_4:15. “But against any of the children of Israel shall not a dog move his tongue, against man or bent; that ye way know how Jehovah doth make a distinction between the Egyptians and Israel,” Exo_11:7. “And the Lord said unto Paul in the night by a vision, Be not afraid, but speak and hold not thy peace; for I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to harm thee,” Act_18:9.

(e) The free acts of men. “It is God who worketh in you both to will and to work, for His good pleasure,” Phi_2:13. “And Jehovah gave the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they let them have what they asked.” Exo_12:36. “And the king (of Persia, Artaxerxes) granted him (Ezra) all his request, according to the hand of Jehovah his God upon him,” Ezr_7:6. “For Jehovah had made them joyful, and had turned the heart of the king of Assyria unto them, to strengthen their hands in the work of the house of God” (rebuilding the temple), Ezr_6:22. “And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep mine ordinances, and do them,” Ezekiel 36:27.

(f) The sinful acts of men. “For of a truth in this city against thy holy servant Jesus, whom thou didst anoint, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, and the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together, to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel foreordained to come to pass,” Act_4:27, Act_4:28. “Jesus answered him (Pilate), Thou wouldst have no power against me, except it were given thee from above,” Joh_19:11. (David, rebuking Abishai, in regard to Shimei) “Because he curseth, and Jehovah bath said, Curse David…. Let him alone, and let him curse; for Jehovah bath bidden him” 2Sa_16:10, 2Sa_16:11. “Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee; and the residue of wrath shalt thou gird upon thee’ (or restrain), Psa_76:10. “And I, behold I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians and they shall go in (the Red Sea) after them; and I will get me honor upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host, and upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen,” Exo_14:17. (g) To the fortuitous events or “chance happenings. “See section 4 (Ch. III).”

1 Systematic Theology, I, p. 583.

2 Toplady, Preface to Zanchius’ Predestination, p. 14.

3 Biblical Doctrines, p. 14.

4 Moderator’s sermon on Predestination, preached before the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A., 1924.

Loraine Boettner- The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination