Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Mystery of Providence Chapter 4

In this chapter Flavel considers a much neglected area in thinking of Providence; our employment. Flavel makes five particular points, showing how the Providence of God is displayed in our civil callings:
  1. In directing you to a calling in your youth, and not permitting you to live and idle, useless and sinful life.
  2. In ordering you to such callings and employments in the world as are not only lawful in themselves but most suitable to you.
  3. In settling you in such a calling and employment in the world, as possibly neither yourselves nor parents could ever expect you should attain to.
  4. In securing your estates from ruin.
  5. In making your calling sufficient for you.

Flavel labors to help us rejoice in the hand of Providence concerning our earthly toil. He spends much time upon the fifth point. As he closes he draws out a few specific instructions. He urges us to not abuse any of these providences. How do we do that? By not being slothful and idle in our vocations, and by being intent in our particular callings while not neglecting our general calling. Through all of this we must remember that the success of our particular callings hinges on divine blessing.


On page 75, when discussing our particular callings Flavel says that they have, "not only an eye upon your well-being in the world to come, but upon your well-being in this world also..." What do you think he means by our well-being in the world to come? What was the Puritan view of heaven?

Flavel would be very hard on those on welfare in our day and age. Certainly, he would have been merciful to the orphans, widows. elderly, and disabled. But he, like the apostle Paul before him, saw that it is a sin to eat what other earn. Or to put it as Paul did, "if a man will not work he shall not eat."

Did you notice that Flavel is making a distinction between our particular callings (notice the plural) and our general callling. What is the difference between these two? Do ministers have the same particular calling as they do general calling? What is our general calling? How often do we "lose our God" in the hurry and business of every day labor?

Stories from Flavel:

Who was Oecolampadius?
From Carpentry to Concordia
Who was Pareus?

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