Saturday, February 9, 2008

The Mystery of Providence Chapter 2

Now that Flavel has convinced us of the providential care of God, he will now attempt to show us the "most remarkable performances of Providence." This chapter mainly concerns itself with the providential care of God in our birth and upbringing. He gives three of these remarkable performances of Providence:
  1. In our formation and protection in the womb.
  2. The place and time of our birth
  3. The designation of the stock and family out of which we should spring and rise

Flavel does a wonderful job in this chapter of helping us appreciate all of those things that we take for granted. Even such natural things as eye sight, walking, hearing, etc. that we take for granted, Flavel helps us see that they are indeed blessings. "If you have low thoughts of this mercy, ask the blind, the deaf, the lame and the dumb, the value and worth of those mercies, and they will tell you."

Wherever you are, whatever parents you have had, whatever lot you have been given is yours by the providence of God. Are you born in the luxuries of America (which Flavel said was "savegery" in his day)? You could have been born in a bush tribe of Africa, not knowing where your next meal would come from. Do you have eye sight? You could have easily been prevented from reading this very statement. All of these are mercies given to us by the gracious providence of God.


As I read through this chapter I wondered how it would be received by those that are not as blessed as I. How would a starving child in Africa receive a copy of Flavel's work? Even if he had to have it read to him. What then would be his view of providence? Could he look at his situation and bless God that it were not worse? Could the deaf man read this with joy? What do you think?

On page 46, Flavel notes that we could have just as well have been miscarried. In that discussion he says this, "Had this been your case...supposing your salvation, yet you had been unservicable to God in the world..." This causes me to ask a question. What was the Puritan view of infancy? Did they believe that an infant that died was granted salvation? Did it depend upon their parents? Why does Flavel say, "supposing your salvation" (Of course the you is referring to a miscarried baby)?

Stories Flavel Uses:

Who is Galeacius?
Augustine and Monica

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