Sunday, March 2, 2008

The Mystery of Providence Chapter 11

Chapter 11 begins the third, and final, section of Flavel's book The Mystery of Providence. In this last section Flavel will attempt application of the doctrine of Providence. He begins the section, here in chapter 11, by noting the practical implications. Because God performs all things for you (see Rom. 8:28) then these truths must be inferred:
  • God is to be owned by you in all that befalls you in this world, whether it is a way of success and comfort, or of trouble and affliction
  • How great is His condescension to and care over His people
  • See how obliged you are to perform all duties and services for God
  • Do not distrust Him then when new or great difficulties arise
  • Seek God for all by prayer, and never undertake any design without Him
  • It is our great interest and concern in all things to study to please Him, upon whom we depend for all things


The implications that Flavel makes in this chapter are much needed. They have been considered at arms length in the past, now Flavel draws them in closer and expounds a little deeper on each. Are any of these new thus far? Do any of his implications leap out at you as nothing you had considered previously?

If we know that God is sovereign, and if we know that God "performs all things for us", why is it that we so often do not seek God for all in prayer and occasionally will undertake designs without Him? Oh, how foolish we are at times.

How would one go about "studying to please Him"?

Flavel understands that sanctification is synergestic. "Is Providence every moment at work for you, and will you be idle?" If we remain idle while God is at work, then certainly we will not grow as we ought.

I would be remiss if I did not add this excellent quote: "Fear nothing but sin. Study nothing so much as how to please God". Oh, to think of all that I fear that is not sin. (Wait, should we not fear God?) To think of all that I study that does not necessarily relate to pleasing God.

You may be wondering who is Borromeus? Or who is Silentiarius? Borromeus appears to be the Italian cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church, Charles Borromeo (early-mid 1500's). (Borromeus is the Latinized name) He was much opposed for the formation of the Brothers of Humility and other strict orders. Silentiarius (6th century) appears to be a reference to Paul the Silentiary. He was responsible for the silence in the imperial palace, but is best known for his famous hymns of praise. He was an epigrammatist that wrote for the Byzantine emperor Justinian. The line quoted by Flavel is probably from one of Silentiarius' works.

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