I. God, the great Creator of
all things, doth uphold,a
direct, dispose, and govern all creatures, actions, and things,b
from the greatest even to the least,c
by his most wise and holy providence,d
according to his infallible foreknowledge,e and the free and immutable counsel of his own will,f
to the praise of the glory of his wisdom, power, justice, goodness, and mercy.g
a Heb. 1:3. b Dan. 4:34,35; Ps.
135:6; Acts 17:25,26,28; Job chap. 38 to 41. c Matt. 10:29-31. d Prov. 15:3; Ps.
104:24; Ps. 145:17. e Acts 15:18; Ps.
94:8-11. f Eph. 1:11; Ps.
33:10,11. g Isa. 63:14; Eph. ; Rom. ;
Gen. 45:7; Ps. 145:7.
II. Although, in relation to
the foreknowledge and decree of God, the first cause, all things come to pass
immutably and infallibly:h
yet, by the same providence, he ordereth them to fall out, according to the
nature of second causes, either necessarily, freely, or contingently.i
h Acts . i Gen. 8:22; Jer.
31:35; Exod. with
Deut. 19:5; 1 Kings ,34; Isa.
III. God in his ordinary
providence maketh use of means,k
yet is free to work without,l
above,m and against
them,n at his
k Acts 27:31,44; Isa.
55:10,11; Hos. 2:21,22. l Hos. 1:7; Matt.
4:4; Job 34:20. mRom.
4:19-21. n 2 Kings 6:6; Dan.
IV. The almighty power,
unsearchable wisdom, and infinite goodness of God, so far manifest themselves
in his providence, that it extendeth itself even to the first fall, and all
other sins of angels and men,o
and that not by a bare permission,p
but such as hath joined with it a most wise and powerful bounding,q
and otherwise ordering and governing of them, in a manifold dispensation, to
his own holy ends;r
yet so as the sinfulnessthereof proceedeth only from the creature,
and not from God; who, being most holy and righteous, neither is nor can be
the author or approver of sin.s
11:32-34; 2 Sam. 24:1 with 1 Chron. 21:1; 1 Kings ,23; 1
Chron. 10:4,13,14; 2 Sam. ; Acts; Acts ,28. p Acts . q Ps. 76:10; 2 Kings
19:28. r Gen. 50:20; Isa.
10:6,7,12. s James 1:13,14,17;
1 John 2:16; Ps. 50:21.
V. The most wise, righteous,
and gracious God, doth oftentimes leave for a season his own children to
manifoldtemptations, and the corruption of their own hearts, to
chastise them for their former sins, or to discoverunto them the
hidden strength of corruption, and deceitfulness of their hearts, that they
may be humbled;t and
to raise them to a more close and constant dependence for their support upon
himself, and to make them morewatchful against all future
occasions of sin, and for sundry other just and holy ends.u
t 2 Chron.
32:25,26,31; 2 Sam. 24:1. u 2 Cor. 12:7-9; Ps.
73 throughout; Ps. 77:1-12; Mark 14:66 to the end, with John 21:15-17.
VI. As for those wicked and
ungodly men, whom God as a righteous judge, for former sins, doth blind and
harden,w from them
he not only withholdeth his grace, whereby they might have beenenlightened
in their understandings, and wrought upon in their hearts;x
but sometimes also withdraweth the gifts which they had,y
and exposeth them to such objects as their corruption makes occasions of sin;z
and, withal, gives them over to their own lusts, the temptations of the world,
and the power of Satan:a
whereby it comes to pass that they hardenthemselves, even under
those means which God useth for the softening of others.b
w Rom. ,26,28; Rom. 11:7,8. x Deut. 29:4. y Matt. 13:12; Matt.
25:29. z Deut. 2:30; 2
Kings 8:12,13. a Ps. 81:11,12; 2
Thess. -12. b Exod. 7:3 with
Exod. 8:15,32; 2 Cor. 2:15,16; Isa. 8:14; 1 Pet. 2:7,8; Isa. 6:9,10 with Acts
VII. As the providence of God
doth, in general, reach to all creatures; so, after a most special manner, it
taketh care of his church, and disposeth all things to the good thereof.c