Friday, February 29, 2008

Do Not Pry Too Curiously

Do not pry too curiously into the secrets of Providence, nor allow your shallow reason arrogantly to judge and censure its designs.

Like the previous, this section, falls under the heading of "cautions, to prevent the abuse of Providence". We have been encouraged to dig deeply into the workings of Providence. Such an endeavor can be discouraging and can lead to gross sins. This is why Flavel encourages us not to pry too curiously, nor let our shallow reason arrogantly think that we have the answers.

"There are hard texts in the works as well as in the Word of God. It becomes us modestly and humbly to reverence, but not to dogmatize too boldly and positively upon them," says our author. Therefore, we ought to be very cautious in approaching these difficult texts. Flavel crafts a wonderful sentence when he says, "...our reason never shows itself more unreasonable than in summoning those things to its bar which transcend its spehere and capacity."

What happens when we do not heed Flavel's advice of caution? We are drawn into "unworthy suspicion and distrust of the faithfulness of God", for one thing. We also are drawn into a "despondency of mind and faintness of heart". From these things comes, "temptations to deliver ourselves by indirect and sinful means".

Flavel closes the chapter by saying, "Beware therefore you do not lean too much on your own reasonings and understandings. Nothing is more plausible, nothing more dangerous."

Return to The Mystery of Providence Chapter 9

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