Monday, February 4, 2008

Mystery of Providence - Chapter One

The Work of Providence for the Saints

John Flavel opens The Mystery of Providence by presenting the following questions and objections, and then answers the questions and refutes the objections using copious references to Scripture and extra-Scriptural examples:

1. How comes it to pass that so many signal mercies and deliverances have befallen the people of God, above the power and against the course of natural causes, to make way for which there has been an obvious suspension and stop put to the course of nature? (pg. 29)

2. How is it if the saints’ affairs are not ordered by a special divine Providence that natural causes unite and associate themselves for their relief and benefit in so strange a manner as they are found to do? (pg. 31)

3. If the concerns of God’s people are not governed by a special Providence, how is it that the most apt and powerful means employed to destroy them are rendered ineffectual, while weak, contemptible means employed for their defence and comfort are crowned with success? (pg. 32)

4. If all things are governed by the course of nature and force of natural causes, how then comes it to pass that, like a bowl when it strikes another, men are turned out of the way of evil, along which they were driving at full speed? (pg. 34-35)

5. If there is not an over-ruling Providence ordering all things for the good of God’s people, how comes it to pass that the good and evil which is done to them in this world is accordingly repaid into the bosoms of them that are instrumental therein? (pg. 36)

6. If these things are merely accidental, how is it that they square and agree so exactly with the Scriptures in all particulars? (pg. 38)

7. If these things are contingent, how is it that they fall out so remarkably in the nick of time, which makes them so greatly observable to all that consider them? (pg. 40)

8. Lastly, were these things accidental and contingent, how can it be that they should fall out so immediately upon and consonantly to the prayers of the saints? So that in many providences they are able to discern a very clear answer to their prayers, and are sure they have the petitions they asked (1 John 5. 15). (pg. 41)

Truly, "His providences proclaim Him to be a God who hears prayer." (pg. 42)

No comments: