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wise, sovereign, profound, irresistible, harmonious, and for the peculiar good of the saints.
1. It is holy. Though he permits, limits, orders, and overrules many unholy persons and actions, yet he still works like himself, most holily and purely throughout. "The Lord is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works.” Psalm 145 : 17. It is easier to separate light from a sun-beam, than holiness from the works of God. The best of men cannot escape sin in their most holy actions. But no sin cleaves to God in whatever he doeth.
2. Christ's providential working is also most wise and judicious. "The wheels are full of eyes.” Ezek. 1:18. They are not moved by a blind impetus, but in deep counsel and wisdom. And, indeed, the wisdom of Providence manifests itself principally in the choice of such states for the people of God, as shall most effectu. ally promote their eternal happiness. And herein it goes quite beyond our understanding and comprehension. It makes that medicinal and salutary which we judge destructive to our comfort and good. Suarez, speaking of the felicity of the other world, says, " Then the blessed shall see in God all things and circumstances pertaining to them, excellently accommodated and attempered;" then shall they see that the crossing of their desires was the saving of their souls; and that otherwise they had perished. The most wise Providence looks beyond
eyes the end, and suits all things thereto, and not to our fond desires.
3. The providence of Christ is most supreme and sovereign. Whatsoever he pleaseth, that he doeth in heaven and in earth, and in all places. Psalm 135 : 6. 'He is Lord of lords, and King of kings.” Rev. 19:16. The greatest monarchs are but as the worms of the earth to him : they all depend on him, “By me kings reign, and princes decree justice; by me princes rule,
and nobles, even all the judges of the earth.” Prov.
16. 4. Divine Providence is profound and inscrutable. The judgments of Christ are "a great deep, and his. footsteps are not known.” Psalm 36:6. There are hard texts in the works as well as in the words of Christ. The wisest heads have been at a loss in interpreting some events. Jer. 12:1, 2; Job, 21:7. The angels had the hands of a man under their wings, Ezek. 1:8; that is, they wrought secretly and mysteriously.
5. Divine Providence is irresistible in its designs and motions ; for all providences are but fulfillings and accomplishments of God's immutable decrees." He works all things according to the counsel of his own will." Eph. 1:11. Hence the instruments by which God executed his wrath are called "chariots coming from between two mountains of brass,” Zech. 6:1; that is,
the firm and immutable decrees of God.” When the Jews put Christ to death, they did only what " the hand and counsel of God had before determined to be done." Acts, 4 : 28. None can oppose or resist providence. “I will work, and who shall let it ?" Isaiah, 43 : 13.
6. The providences of Christ are harmonious. There are secret chains and invisible connections between the works of Christ. We know not how to reconcile promises and providences together, nor yet providences one with another; but certainly they all work together, Rom. 8:28, by the influence of the first cause. He doth not do, and undo ; destroy by one providence, what he built by another. But, just as all seasons of the year, the nipping frosts, as well as the halcyon days of summer, conspire and conduce to the harvest; so it is in providence.
7. The providences of Christ work in a special and peculiar way for the good of the saints. His providential is subordinated to his spiritual kingdom. "He is
the Saviour of all men, especially of them that believe." 1 Tim. 4:10. Things are so laid and ordered, as that their eternal good shall be promoted and secured by all that Christ doeth,
INFERENCE 1. If so, see then to whom you are indebted for your lives, liberty, comforts, and all that you enjoy in this world. Is it not Christ that orders all for you! He is, indeed, in heaven, out of your sight; but though you see him not, he sees you, and takes care of all your concerns. When one was told of a plot laid to take away his life, he answered, "If God take no care of me, how do I live ?” how have I escaped hitherto ? " In all thy ways acknowledge him.” Prov. 3:6. It is he that hath appointed the state thou art in, as most proper for thee. It is Christ that doeth all for you ihat is done. He looks down from heaven upon all that fear him; he sees when you are in danger by temptation, and interposes something, you know not how, to hinder it. He sees when you are sad, and orders reviving providences to refresh you. He sees when corruptions prevail, and orders humbling events to purge them. Whạtever mercies you have received, all along the way you have gone hitherto, are the orderings of Christ for you. And you should carefully observe how the promises and providences have kept equal pace with one another, and both gone step by step with you until now.
2. Hath God committed the government of the world to Christ, and trusted him over all ? Then do
also leave all your particular concerns in the hands of Christ, and know that the infinite wisdom and love which rules the world, manages every thing that relates to you. It is in good hands, infinitely better than if it were in your own. I remember when Melancthon was under some despondency of spirit about the situation of God's people in Germany, Luther chides him thus for it, "Let Philip cease to rule the world.” It is not ours to guide
the course of providence, or direct its motions, but to submit quietly to God. Yet how apt are we to regret providences, as if they had no tendency at all to the glory of God, or to our good, Exod. 5 : 22; yea, to limit the Almighty to our way and time! Thus, the "Israelites tempted God, and limited the holy One." Psalm 78 : 18, 41. How often also do we, unbelievingly, distrust God, as though he could never accomplish what we profess to expect and believe! "Our bones are dry, our hope is lost; we are cut off.” Ezek. 37 : 11. So Gen. 18 : 13, 14 ; Isa. 40 : 17. There are but few Abrahams among believers, who " against hope believe in hope," "giving glory to God.” Rom. 4 : 20. And it is but too common for good men to repine and fret at providences, when their wills are crossed : this was the great sin of Jonah. Brethren, these things ought not to be so: did you but seriously consider, either the design of these providential dealings, which is to bring about the gracious purposes of God towards you, formed before the world was, Eph. 1 : 4; or that it is opposing your wisdom to his, as if you could better order affairs ;
you have to do herein with a great and dreadful God, in whose hands you are, who may do what he will with you, and all that is yours, without giving you an account of any of his matters, Job, 33:13; I say, if such considerations as these could but have place with you in troubles and temptations, they would quickly mould your hearts into a better and more quiet frame.
Oh that I could but persuade you to resign all to Christ. He is a skilful workman, Prov. 8: 25–30, and can effect what he pleaseth. It is a good rule, De operibus Dei non est judicandum, ante quintum actum. "Let God work out all that he intends, but have patience till he hath accomplished his design, and then find fault with it, if you can." "Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord.” James, 5 : 11.
3. If Christ be Lord over the providential kingdom, and that for the good of his people, let none that are Christ's henceforth indulge a slavish fear of creatures. "It is a great consolation” says Grotius on my text “that Christ hath so great an empire, and that he governs it for the good of his people, as a head consulting the good of the body.” Our Head and Husband is Lord of all the hosts of heaven and earth; no creature can move hand or tongue without him: the power
have is given them from above. John, 19 : 11, 12. The serious consideration of this truth will make the feeblest spirit cease trembling, and cause it to shout, " The Lord is King of all the earth, sing ye praises with understanding." Psalm 47: 7. Has he not given you abundant security in many express promises, that all shall issue well for you that fear him? "All things shall work together for good to them that love God.” Rom. 8: 28. Verily " it shall be well with them that fear God,” even with them that fear before him. Eccl. 8: 12. And
suppose he had not, yet the very understanding of our relation to such a King should, in itself, be sufficient security: for he is the universal, supreme, absolute, meek, merciful, victorious, and immortal King. He sits in glory, at the Father's right hand; and his enemies are a footstool for him.* His love to his people is unspeakably tender and fervent, he that touches them, "touches the apple of his eye.” Zech. 2:8. Till this be forgotten, the wrath of man is not feared; he that fears a man that shall die, forgets the Lord his Maker. Isa. 51 : 12, 13.
4. If the government of the world be in the hands of Christ, then to acknowledge Christ and engage his blessing in all our affairs and business, is the true and ready way to success. If all depend upon his pleasure, surely
* See my Saint Indeed.