Of The Providence of God
Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? And one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. – Matt. 10:29
Our Lord is here encouraging his disciples against all the troubles and distresses they might meet with in their way, and particularly against the fear of men, by the consideration of the providence of God, which reaches unto the meanest of things, sparrows and the hairs of our head. Sparrows are of a mean price and small value; and yet, for as mean as they are, God preserves them, guides and disposes of all things concerning them, so that one of them cannot fall to the ground by shot or any other way, without his sovereign ordering and disposal.
The instruction deducible from the text is,
Doctrine. “There is a providence that extends itself to the least of things.
In discoursing from this doctrine, I shall.
I. Shew that there is a providence.
II. Consider its object.
III. Explain the acts thereof.
IV. Consider its properties.
V. Lastly,. make improvement.
I. I am to shew that there is a providence. This appears,
From plain scripture-testimonies; as Psalm 103:19. “His kingdom ruleth over all.” Acts 17:28. “In him we live, and move, and have our being,” Eph. 1:11. “Who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will.” Providence is also held forth by a threefold scripture-emblem. Chiefly, (1.) Mount Moriah, which upon occasion of the miraculous preservation of Isaac, and a ram to be put in his room in order to be sacrificed, was called JEHOVAH JIREH, i.e. The Lord will provide, Gen. 22:14. (3.) Ezekiel wheels, where there was a wheel in the middle of a wheel, denoting the agency of the first cause, and the superintending and directing providence of God, Ezek. 1.
From the nature of God, who being independent, and the first cause of all things, the creatures must needs depend upon him in their being and working. He is the end of all things, wise, knowing how to manage all for the best; powerful to effectuate whatever he has purposed; and faithful to accomplish all he has decreed, promised, or threatened.
From the harmony and order of the most confused things in the world. Every thing appears to a discerning eye to be wisely ordered, notwithstanding the confusions that seem to take place. What would become of the world, if there were not a providence seeing men that despise all order, and would fain give loose reins to their lusts and unbridled inclinations, are always the greatest party. and would overpower and destroy the smaller and most virtuous party? Herein the truth of providence clearly appears. The extraordinary judgments that have pursued and been inflicted upon wicked men, and the remarkable deliverances that have been granted to the church and people of God in all ages, do loudly proclaim a providence.
From the fulfilment of prophecies, which could not possibly be without a providence to bring them to pass.
II. Let us, in the next place, consider the object of providence, or that which it reacheth and extendeth to. And this is all the creatures, and all their actions, Heb. 1:3. –“Upholding all things by the word of his power,” Psalm 103:19. “His kingdom ruleth over all.” The angels are subject to this providence, Neh. 9:6. “Thou, even thou art Lord alone, thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all things that are therein, the seas and all that is therein, and thou preservest them all, and the host of heaven worshippeth thee.” So are also the devils, these infernal spirits, Matt. 8:31, “If thou cast us out (said they to Jesus), suffer us to go away unto the herd of swine.” It reacheth natural things, as clouds, snow, winds, &c. as appears from Psalm 104, 147. and from daily observation. Continue reading