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safety, whereon he resteth ; yet his eyes are upon their ways,' &c. Psal. Ixxiii. 12, &c. behold, these are the ungodly who prosper in the world,' &C...... until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end. xcii. 7. when the wicked spring as the grass,' &c. .... it is that they shall be destroyed for ever.'
Eccles. vii. 18. it is good that thou shouldest take hold of this; yea also from this withdraw not thine hand; for he that feareth God shall come forth of them all.' viii. 12. • though a sinner do evil an hundred times, and his days be proJonged; yet surely I know that it shall be well with them that fear God.' Jer. xii. 1. wherefore doth the way of the wicked prosper?' Dan. xii. 10. many shall be purified, and made white, and tried.'l
The whole of creation. Gen. viii. 1. God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the cattle.' ix. 9, 10, 12, 15. I, behold I establish my covenant with you....and every living creature that is with you.' Prov. xv. 3. the eyes of Jehovah are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.'
Even the smallest objects. Job xxxiv. 21. .for his eyes are upon the ways of man, and he seeth all his goings.' Psal. civ. 21. the young lions roar after their prey, and seek their meat from God.' cxlvii. 9. • he giveth to the beast his food.' Matt. vi. 26. x. 29, 30. “a sparrow shall not fall on the ground without your Father: but the very hairs of your head are all numbered.'
At the same time, God does not extend an equal share of his providential care to all things indiscriminately. 1 Cor. ix. 9. doth God take care for oxen ?? that is, as much care as he takes for man? Zech.
î. 8. he that toucheth you, toucheth the apple of his eye.' 1 Tim. iv. 10. “the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.'
Natural things. Exod. iii. 21. “I will give this people favour in the sight of the Egyptians;' that is, by operating a change in their natural affections. Jer. li. 16. he utiereth his voice, there is a multitude of waters in the heavens ; and he causeth the vapours to ascend from the ends of the earth.' Amos v. 8. that calleth for the waters of the sea, and poureth them out upon the face of the earth; Jehovah is his name.'
Even such as are supernatural. Lev. xxv. 20, 21. 6 and if
What shall we eat the seventh year ?....it shall bring forth fruit for three years.' Deut. vii. 3, 4. he fed thee with manna.... thy raiment waxed not old upon thee, neither did thy foot swell these forty years.' See also xxix. 5. 1 Kings xvii. 4. I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there.' v. 14. the barrel of meal shall not waste,' &c.
Events contingent or fortuitous. Exod. xxi. 13. • if God deliver him into his hand.' Prov. xvi. 33. the whole disposing of the lot is of Jehovah.' Nor is anything derogatory to divine providence intended by Scripture, even where (as sometimes happens) it scruples not to employ the names of fortune or chance ; all that is meant is to exclude the idea of human causation. Eccles. ix. 11. time and chance happeneth to them all.' Luke x. 31. óby chance there came down a certain priest that way.'
Voluntary actions. 2 Chron. x. 15. .so the king hearkened not unto the people : for the cause was of God.' Prov. xvi. 9. 'a man's heart deviseth his way ; but Jehovah directeth his steps. xx. 24. 'man's goings are of Jehovah.' xxi. 1. 'the king's heart is in the hand of Jehovah as the rivers of water; he turneth it whithersoever he will.' Jer. x. 23. 10 Jehovah, I know that the way of man is not in himself.' In this, however, there is no infringement on the liberty of the human will; otherwise man would be deprived of the power of free agency, not only with regard to what is right, but with regard to what is indifferent, or even positively wrong.
Lastly, temporal evils no less than blessings. Exod. xxi. 13. • if God deliver him into his hand.' Isai. xlv. 7. •I make peace, and create evil,'—that is, what afterwards became evil, and now remains so; for whatever God created was originally good, as he himself testifies, Gen. i. Matt. xviii. 7. 'woe unto the world because of offences; for it must needs be that offences come : but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh.' 1 Cor. xi. 19. for there must be also heresies amongst you, that they which are approved may be made manifest amongst you.'
God, however, is concerned in the production of evil only in one of these two ways; either he permits its existence by throwing no impediment in the way of natural causes and free agents, (as, Acts. ïi. 23. ‘him being delivered by the determinate counsel of God....ye have slain.' xiv. 16. who in times past suffered all nations to walk in their own ways.' 1 Pet. iii. 17. it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well-doing. iv. 19. them that suffer according to the will of God,') or, secondly, he causes evil by the infliction of judgements, which is called the evil of punishment. 2 Sam. xii. 11. "be
hold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own kouse,'— that is, punishment. Prov. xvi. 4. Jehovah hath made all things for himself; yea, even the wicked for the day of evil;' that is, him who, having been created good, became subsequently wicked by his own fault, in conformity with the explanation already given of Isai. xlv. 7. liv. 16. •I created the waster to destroy. Lam. iï. 38, 39, out of the mouth of the Most High proceedeth not evil and good ? wherefore doth a living man complain, a man for the punishment of his sins ?' Amos iii. 6. shall there be evil in a city, and Jehovah hath not done it?' For God, who is infinitely good, cannot be the doer of wickedness, or of the evil of sin ; on the contrary, out of the wickedness of men he produces good. Gen. xlv. 5. “God did send me before you to preserve life.' 1. 20. as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good.'
If (inasmuch as I do not address myself to such as are wholly ignorant, but to those who are already competently acquainted with the outlines of Christian doctrine) I may be permitted, in discoursing on the general providence of God, so far to anticipate the natural order of arrangement, as to make an allusion to a subject which belongs properly to another part of my treatise, that of sin, I might remark, that even in the matter of sin God's providence finds its exercise not only in permitting its existence, or in withdraw. ing his grace, but also in impelling sinners to the commission of sin, in hardening their hearts, and in blinding their understandings.
In impelling sinners to the commission of sin. Exod. ix. 16. for this cause have I raised thee up.'
Judges ix. 23. “God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the men of Shechem.' 2 Sam. xii. 11, 12. I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house, and I will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give them unto thy neighbour....I will do this thing.' xvi. 10. • Jehovah hath said unto him, Curse David.' xxiv. 1. •Jehovah moved David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah.' Compare 1 Chron. xxi. 1. 1 Kings xxii. 20. who shall persuade Ahab?' Psal. cv. 25. he turned their heart to hate his people.' Ezek. xiv. 9. I Jehovah have deceived that prophet.'
In hardening their hearts. Exod. iv. 21. vii. 3. • I will harden Pharaoh's heart.' Deut. ii. 30. Jehovah thy God hardened his spirit.' Josh. xi. 20. “it was of Jehovah to harden their hearts.' John xii. 39, 40. therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again.... he hath hardened their heart.' Rom. ix. 18. whom he will he hardeneth.'
In blinding their understandings. Deut. xxviii. 28. • Jehovah shall smite thee with madness, and blindness, and astonishment of heart.' 1 Sam. xvi. 14. • an evil spirit from Jehovah troubled him.' 1 Kings xxii. 22. •I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets : and Jehovah said, Thou shalt persuade him.' Isai. viii. 14. he shall be for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel; for a gin and for a snare—.' xix. 14. “Jehovah hath mingled a perverse spirit in the midst thereof, and they have caused Egypt to err.' xxix. 10. • Jehovah hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes. Matt. xiii. 13. therefore speak I to them in parables, because they