Friday, April 29, 2011

Heavenly Providence and Fatherly Kindness

8. God's sovereign sway over the life of men

To this end, the prophet is mindful that in their desperate straits God suddenly and wonderfully and beyond all hope succors the poor and almost lost; those wandering through the desert he protects from wild beasts and at last guides them back to the way [Ps. 107:4-7]; to the needy and hungry he supplies food [v. 9]; the prisoners he frees from loathsome dungeons and iron bands [vs. 10-16]; the shipwrecked he leads back to port unharmed [vs. 23-30]; the half dead he cures of disease [vs. 17-20]; he burns the earth with heat and dryness, or makes it fertile with the secret watering of grace [vs. 33-38]; he raises up the humblest from the crowd, or casts down the lofty from the high level of their dignity [vs. 39-41]. By setting forth examples of this sort, the prophet shows that what are thought to be chance occurrences are just so many proofs of heavenly providence, especially of fatherly kindness. And hence ground for rejoicing is given to the godly, while as for the wicked and the reprobate, their mouths are stopped [v. 43]. But because most people, immersed in their own errors, are struck blind in such a dazzling theater, he exclaims that to weigh these works of God wisely is a matter of rare and singular wisdom [v. 43], in viewing which they who otherwise seem to be extremely acute profit nothing. And certainly however much the glory of Gdd shines forth, scarcely one man in a hundred is a true spectator of it!

-John Calvin in the Institutes of the Christian Religion
(Book 1, Chapter 5) 

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