Saturday, February 16, 2008

The Mystery of Providence Chapter 6

In this chapter Flavel hopes to show the Providence of God in the preservation of the saints from evil. Flavel says that there are, "two eminent ways by which the force and efficacy of temptation is broken in believers." The first is the operation of "internal grace". The second, which Flavel concerns himself here, is the "external working of Providence". Flavel gives 5 ways that Providence blocks us from sin:
  1. By stirring up others to interpose with seasonable counsels
  2. By hindering the means and instruments
  3. By laying some strong affliction upon the body
  4. By the better information of their minds at the sacred oracles of God (reminding us of Scripture, etc.)
  5. By removing them out of the way of temptations by death

Because of this, Flavel admonishes us to walk, "suitably to this obligation of Providence also. And see that you thankfully own it. Do not impute your escapes from sin to accidents, or to your own watchfulness or wisdom".

Not only is it our souls that God has preserved but also our bodies. We are given numerous refrences to this point; some from Scripture, others from history.

This chapter closes with three "particulars". By considering these things we will be reminded of the Providence of God and hopefully follow his previous admonition to "walk suitably":

  1. Consider what you owe to Providence for your protection
  2. Consider how every member which has been so tenderly kept, has nevertheless been an instrument of sin against the Lord
  3. Consider what is the aim of Providence in all the tender care it has manifested for you.


Have you ever considered death as "removing the way of temptations"?

This sentence spoke to me; "you have often provoked Him to afflict you in every part, and lay penal evil upon every member that has been instrumental in moral evil." I have never thought that when I sin with my instruments (mind, eyes, hands, etc.) that God should strike each of them individually.

Do you struggle with pride after "conquering a sin"? How might considering these "particulars" keep us from such prideful arrogance?

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