Part the First
OF THE NATURAL KNOWLEDGE OF GOD AS LEADING
US TO EVANGELICAL FAITH
Of the universal providence of God, extending over every created being, man as the noblest of them all, enjoys a special degree of solicitude.
The special Providence of God with regard to Man.
The special providence of God t an is manifest in the following circumstances:–First, From its pointing out to men different ways and means for becoming virtuous. One is prevented from vice by fear; another is led to what is good by benefits received. We see one person corrected by poverty; another awakened to virtuous actions by his riches. Our preparation also for future happiness we must trace to the same source; that is, when He has vouchsafed us to be born of honest and virtuous parents, to receive a good education, and likewise when he grants us opportunities of becoming virtuous by the force of good examples, and by the reading of and listening to useful books. We may also add in this place the great changes of the powers that be, and the transition of a kingdom from one nation to another; all of which happen under the most evident demonstrations of Divine Providence for the good of man. Secondly the Divine Providence is traced whenever it directs and changes to good all the most perverse counsels and enterprises of men. To these belong the persecutions which the wicked inflict upon the virtuous, when, by the sufferings of the latter, their virtue is proved (which otherwise would remain unknown), and the perverse are shamed, and imperceptibly guided to discover their own wickedness. This wonderful providence has been rendered especially manifest in the redemption of mankind, whose multitude of sins has displayed the infinity of Divine mercy. “But where sin abounded, grace mush more did abound.” (Rom. v. 20.) “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God.” (Rom. viii. 28.)