Providence (Lat.providentia; Gr. πρόνοια; both signifying foresight), a term importing the wisdom and power which God continually exercises in the preservation and government of the world, for the ends which he proposes to accomplish.
I. The Doctrine Proved. —
1. From Reason. —
⇒Bible concordance for PROVIDENCE.
(1.) From the existence of a Supreme Creator. If there be a Supreme Being who created all things, it is reasonable to infer that he upholds and governs all things; hence, nearly all men concur in the belief of a superintending providence.
(2.) From the perfections of the Supreme Creator, viz., knowledge, power, wisdom, goodness, justice, and righteousness, all of which reason teaches us to ascribe to him in infinite measure. All things being known to him, and all things being possible to him (if not essentially contradictory), and he being able to discern the best plan, and preinclined to execute that plan, a providence becomes the natural and proper sphere for the activity of his attributes. Moreover, being just and righteous, his government of his rational creatures will necessarily be by the principles of justice and righteousness; for the end and perfection of these attributes consist in their exercise. Hence power must uphold, wisdom direct, goodness bestow, righteousness discriminate, and justice adjudge; and this constitutes a providence.
(3.) From the dependence of God's creatures. That which is not self- existent is contingent. The contingent may cease to be, there being nothing in the nature of things to insure its continuance; therefore, the perpetuity of the contingent is dependent upon the will of the self-existent. The Supreme Creator alone is self-existent: hence, upon his will the existence of the created depends; and that will, in exercise, implies a providence.
(4.) From the order, harmony, and regularity observable in the course of nature. The course of nature is that wise adjustment and counterpoise of natural forces by which the planets swing in their orbits, the seasons revolve with the year, the tides ebb and flow in their intervals, the currents of the atmosphere shift to their ever-changing conditions, the endless procession of life keeps pace with the dead-march of decay, and all the varied phenomena of the universe appear. Viewing these wonderful complications in the light of their necessary dependence upon the self- existent, God's handiwork is plainly evident in the complexities of their multiform evolutions, the equipoise of their contending forces, and the continuity of adjustment, which proclaim unceasing watchfulness and care.
⇒See also the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.
(5.) From the moral faculties of men. Conscience, which utters its authoritative "ought" or "ought not" concerning suggested actions, must be delusive, if there be no providence to note its verdict. But if our sense of responsibility be false, and we must hence discredit the affirmations of our highest faculties concerning ourselves, then is all truth visionary and all knowledge misleading.
Further, we have a faculty the legitimate expression of which is worship; hence all nations have their forms of devotion. But to stand in awe of the Creator's justice, to trust in his goodness, to submit to his will, to pray to him for the supply of our wants, to depend upon his wisdom for direction- all these acts of worship are not only unauthorized but absurd, and our noblest instincts are false to fact if there be no superintending providence by which his responses may be indicated.
(6.) From the system of compensations which prevails, embracing recompense for suffering, compensation for loss, and retribution for wrong. In this system, the recompense includes the natural benefits of discipline, and such compensative provisions of grace as the reason recognizes as matters of fact in present human experience. The compensation comprises the reparative processes by which loss in one direction is made up by increased efficiency in another, as in the added keenness of the senses of hearing and touch attending the loss of sight. The retribution comprehends not only the natural operation of the law, "As a man soweth, so also shall he reap," but all those special illustrations of that law in marked and mysterious judgments upon wrongdoing which occasionally occur, and which bear such likeness to the sin that men agree to call them retributive. In all these a providence is implied. The doctrine is further proven —
2. From the Scriptures. —
(1.) By a class of passages which declare in general his preserving power Ge 48:15; Ne 9:6; Job 7:20; Job 10:12; Job 33:18; Ps 16:5; Ps 36:6; Ps 46:9; Isa 46:3-4; Mt 10:29; Lu 12:6; Ac 17:28; Col 1:17).
(2.) By a class of passages which assert God's control of the regular operations of nature (Ex 9:18; Ex 23:26; 1Ki 18:1; Job 5:10; Job 9:5-6; Job 28:24-27; Job 36:29-32; Job 37:6-16; Job 38:25; Ps 74:17; Ps 89:9; Ps 104:10,13-15,19-21,24-30; Ps 105:32; Ps 135:6-7; Ps 136:25; Ps 145:15-16; Ps 147:8-9,18; Ps 148:8; Isa 45:7; Isa 1; Isa 3; Jer 5:22-24; Jer 10:13; Jer 14:22; Jer 31:35; Jer 33:20,25; Jer 51; Jer 16; Eze 32:7-8; Eze 38:22; Joe 2:23; Am 4:6-10,13; Zec 10:1; Mt 6:26,28-32; Ac 14:17).
(3.) By a class of passages which specifically declare his sovereignty over birth (Ge 33:5; Ge 48:9; Jos 24:3-4; 1Sa 1:27; Job 10:18; Ps 71:6; Ps 139:15-16; Isa 46:3); life (Jos 14:10; 2Sa 12:22; Job 7:1; Job 14:5; Ps 66:8-9; Ps 91:3-16; Isa 38:1-5; Php 2:27; Jas 5:14-15); disease (Ex 9:15; Ex 23:25; Job 2:10; Job 5:6,17-18; Ps 39:9,13; Joh 9:3); death (1Sa 2:6; 1Sa 25:29; Job 1:21; Job 12:10; Job 14:5-6; Job 34:14-15; Ps 68:20; Ps 90:3; Ps 104:29; Ps 118:8); afflictions (De 8:5; Job 5:17; Job 10:17; Ps 66:10-12; Ps 69:26; Ps 94:12-13; Ps 119:75; Pr 3:12; Isa 26:16; Isa 48:10; Jer 2:30; La 1:12-14; La 3:1,32-33; Am 8:10; Heb 12:5-6); prosperity (De 8:18; 1Sa 2:36; 2Sa 7:8-9; 2Sa 12:7-8; 1Ch 17:7-8; 1Ch 29:12,16; Ezr 5:5; Job 1:10; Job 34:24; Ps 30:7; Ps 75:6-8; Ps 113:7-8; Pr 29:26; Ec 9:11, compared with Pr 16:3,33; Lu 1:52-53; 1Co 16:2).
(4.) By a class which aver his government of chance and accident (Ex 21:12-13, compared with De 19:4-5; 1Ki 22:34,38, compared with 21:19; Pr 16:33).
(5.) By a class which proclaim his use of noxious animals for the purposes of his government (Ex 23:28; Le 26:21-22; De 7:20; Jos 24:12; Job 5:23; Jer 5:6; Ho 2:18; Joe 2:25; Am 4:9; Am 7:1).
(6.) By a class which affirm his righteous retributions (Le 10:1-3; Le 26:14-39; De 25:17-19; De 28:23-24; 2Sa 3:39; 2Ki 9:30-37; 2Ki 19:25-28; 2Ch 6:26-27; Job 5:13; Job 10:14; Job 34:11; Ps 35:6-8; Ps 75:6-8; Ps 89:30-32; Ps 94:23; Ps 107:33-34; Isa 5:11-16,22-25; Isa 9:13-14; Isa 13:11; Isa 28:15. Comp. 29:6; Jer 22:21-22; Eze 11:21; Eze 26:2-21; Eze 35; Da 5:18-30; Am 4; Am 5; Ob 1:10-15; Zephanaiah 1:17; 2:8-10; Hag 1:10-11).
(7.) By a class which ascribe deliverances to God (Jos 24:5-11; 2Ki 5:1; Eze 34:12,16,30; Eze 36:22-24; Eze 37:21-23).
(8.) By a class which declare his supreme authority over men (Ps 7:8; Ps 9:8; Ps 10:16; Ps 22:28; Ps 47:2,7-8; Ps 75:7; Ps 76:10; Ps 96:10,13; Ps 97:1; Ps 103:19; Ps 139:9-10; Ec 9:1; Isa 10:15; Isa 14:26-27; Eze 18:4; Da 4:35; Ro 9:19-21).
(9.) By a class which affirm his dominion over national prosperity and adversity (Ex 17:14; Ex 23:25-30; De 7:13; 2Sa 22:15; Ezr 5:12; Ps 18:13-14; Isa 5:3-30; Isa 13:1,6,9-22; Isa 45:7; Jer 27:2-8,12-13; Jer 49:36; Da 2:20-21,25,37-38; Da 5:21; Am 3:6; Ob 1:1-4; Hag 2:17; Zep 1:14-18; Zep 2; Zep 3:14-20; Ac 17:26).
(10.) By a class which declare that he sends bad laws and base rulers, stirs up adversaries, and sends adversity (Jg 9:22-23; 1Ki 11:14,23; 1Ki 19:15; 2Ki 8:12; 2Ki 18:25; 2Ki 19:25; 2Ki 24:20; 2Ch 15:5-6; Ps 105:25; Isa 22:17-19; Isa 37:26-27; Jer 27:6-7; Jer 28:14; Jer 48:11-12; Jer 52:3; La 2:7; Eze 20:24-26; Da 4:17; Ho 13:11; Mic 1:12).
The teaching of the more than five hundred passages cited might be confirmed, were it necessary, by nearly as many thousands more, showing with what emphasis the Scriptures proclaim the doctrine of divine providence.
II. The Doctrine Explained. —
1. As Preservation, or that by which all things are kept in being, with their several essences and faculties, and are enabled to act according to their respective natures (Heb 1:3).
2. As Government, or the control of all things in their several spheres of being and acting, and directing them to the ends which he proposed to himself in their creation. This government is —
(1.) Immediate; as in the direct control of the material universe by those modes of operation called forces of nature, such as gravitation, electricity, etc.
(2.) Mediate; as
(a) in the vegetable world, by the laws which regulate the germination, growth, and decay of its organizations;
(b) in the animal kiingdom, by their controlling instincts;
(c) in intelligent and moral creatures, by means of motives. This last is evidently the most important, as well as the most incomprehensible field of divine providence.
The motives which a righteous and benevolent Being places before his creatures can be only those which will directly tend to secure their holiness and happiness. But, as freedom of the will, in the sense of possible alternative moral action, is one of the endowments of such creatures, and as preservation, secures the functional activity of such will, whatever may result; hence it follows that those holy motives mav be disregarded, and, in such an event, moral government must be abandoned, or punitive and reformatory measures must be instituted that will originate a different class of motives to reinforce those which have proved insufficient. Hence, the system of natural evil is placed over against creature-freedom, both as a check and a corrective, and is in itself no arraignment of God's goodness, since it is a necessary means to a higher good. But the problem of God's concurrence in moral evil is the vexed question of the ages; yet, in point of principle, it is settled in the fact of the creation of intelligent beings with a capacity to sin and liability to become sinners. Hence the vindication of the divine character is legitimately the work of Theodicy, while the doctrine of providence need only explain God's conduct.
All moral evil consists in a wrong determination of a free will. God's purpose to preserve his creatures pledges his concurrence in such action of the will only so far as such concurrence may be necessary to enable the will to act according to its freedom. The moral character of the determination is fixed by the creature and he alone is responsible for it. But when the choice is made, the moral character of the determination is complete; and neither the occurrence nor non-occurrence of a resulting outward action can change, add to, or take from the moral quality of the original volition wherein the sin originated and was completed. As soon, however, as the execution ef a determination is attempted, the creature steps outside of his own independent and responsible sphere, and enters the realm of God's providence, where he assumes the control of all events. The actions of men (in distinction from their determinations), his control of the Church and of nations, special providences, the course of nature, and the works of grace are all included under the general term events, for which God takes the absolute responsibility. Hence it will be seen that the distinction often drawn between the permissive and active providences of God is of no practical value; and if any such distinction be allowed, it must be by confining the word "permissive" strictly to the free volitions of the will, and extending the word "active" to all events, as explained above.
In this way alone can the emphatic statements of the Scriptures, as classified above, be explained in harmony with other passages which distinctly deny his complicity with evil, i.e. in the sense of moral wrong. We first bring fully into view the seeming impeachment of his attributes contained in the classes of passages above referred to, which may be epitomized, in principle, as follows: Ex 4:21; Ex 7:13; Ex 10:1,20; Ex 14:7; De 2:30; De 13:1-3; Jos 11:20; 1Sa 16:14; 1Sa 18:10; 1Sa 19:9; 1Ki 12:15; 1Ki 22:20-22; 2Ch 18:22; 2Ch 25:20; Ps 78:49; Ps 105:25; Isa 6:9-10; Isa 19:14; Isa 44:18; Isa 66:4; Jer 6:21; Eze 3:20; Eze 14:9; Am 3:6; Zec 8:10; 2Th 2:11-12; 1Pe 2:8; Re 17:17. In striking contrast with these stands the revelation of his character and works in the following: Le 11:45; De 32:4; 1Sa 6:20; Job 8:3; Job 34:10,12,23; Job 36:3; Ps 5:4; Ps 11:7; Ps 33:5; Ps 89:14; Ps 92:15; Ps 97:2; Ps 119:137; Isa 5:16; Eze 18:29; Hab 1:13; Zep 3:5; Ro 2:2,5-6; Jas 1:13; 1Pe 1:15-16; Re 16:7.
Truth cannot be inharmonious, much less contradictory; therefore, there must be some possible reconciliation of these apparently conflicting statements. We find that reconciliation in the divided sovereignty which allows man to be supreme within the sphere of his volition, and attributes all outside of the mere mental fact of free-will determinations to the will and operation or co-operation of God. Upon any other hypothesis it is not possible to draw the dividing line between divine and human responsibility; and therefore, if this be denied, the hope of constructing any consistent doctrine of divine providence must be abandoned.
III. Some Objections Considered. —
Objection 1. If providence be the care exercised over his creatures by a God of infinite goodness and purity, he cannot be implicated in the wicked actions of men. Answer. As a matter of fact, he is concerned in them. else they could not exist; for, were he to refuse the concurrence of his upholding power, men would drop into non-existence. Again, the objection is destroyed by considering that actions have no moral character whatever, as between the creature and the Creator, such character being vested entirely in the volitions of the will from which the actions result. Therefore, God can use the wicked actions of men as he does any other indifferent thing, provided that his own 1pupose in using them be right, which no one disputes.
Objection 2. God's majesty is degraded by the assumption contained in the doctrine of providence, viz. that he is interested in all the minutiae of nature. Answer. If he has created faculties or forces, nothing that they can evolve can be unworthy of his care; besides, things which seem to men most insignificant are often causatively linked with stupendous results. Again, the revelations of the microscope prove that the infinitesimal are embraced within the sweep of the same laws that pervade the infinite, and hence are under the same benign care. Further, the impression of the grandeur of the Infinite Intelligence, comprehensive as it may be, from the contemplation of the rolling spheres and interlocking systems of the universe, is, after all, less profound than that which results from tracing his handiwork in the conformation of the beautifully wrought shells of the animalcula, and their exquisite life-appliances and adjustments, which only the most powerful glasses can reveal to human sight.
Objection 3. The prosperity of the wicked and the afflictions of the righteous are inconsistent with the supposition of a just and holy providence. Answer. The equal dispensation which the objection assumes to be necessary under the government of God is an impossibility; for the affections and interests of men are so interlocked that exact justice could rarely, if ever, be meted to the transgressor without involving consequences to others which would be undeserved. Again, the prosperity of the wicked, if they continue in their evil courses, is always a curse to them in the end; and God's processes should not be condemned until their final issue is known. On the other hand, the adversities of the righteous have attending or following compensations which satisfy them that all is right; and if those who are chiefly interested are content, the objection of the mere observer should be esteemed of little weight.
Objection 4. It is alleged that the laws of nature sufficiently account for the order of nature; therefore, a providence is not necessary. Answer. The laws of nature are only the regular order which is found to subsist, termed laws because of the uniformity of the changes which occur, and signify certain results of power, but not power itself — effects, but not their causes. These uniformities are, therefore, only modes in which the self- existent controls the contingent, the manner in which God manipulates his material creation.
IV. History of the Doctrine. — The idea of a superintending or controlling Providence has appeared under various forms, sometimes scarcely recognisable, depending largely upon the culture of the age and the state of philosophical speculation at the time.
1. The primitive view, held during the childhood of superstition, identified the gods with the elements of nature. Thus Zeus, or Dis, originally meant sky, and was worshipped as a god, afterwards known as Jupiter, or Jove, and by the Canaanites and Babylonians called Baal, Bel, or Belus. The earth was also worshipped as Demeter and Cybele, called by the Anglo- Saxons Hertha; the sea as Neptune; the sun as Phaebus, or Apollo; the moon as Diana; light as Indra. Fire as Agni and summer heat as Dormer, or Thor, are other instances, in various localities, of the worship paid to the elements or forces of nature as gods, each being accredited a providence of its own. In the childhood of Occidental philosophy also, the Ionian philosophical physicists of Greece, in their search for the principle whose existence should give a rational explanation of all things (called the Beginning, or First Cause), identified it with some elements of nature, as the "Water" of Thales and Hippo of Samos; the "Air" of Anaximenes; the "Air-Intelligence" of Diogenes of Apollonia and Idaeus of Himera. Her mathematical philosophers, the Pythagoreans, looked for this first cause in incorporeal elements, as in the "Numbers" of Pythagoras and the "Infinite" of Anaximander. The Eleatics — metaphysical philosophers — regarded the world as the manifestation of God, as ill the "Sphere" of Xenophanes, Parmenides, and Zeno; while the dualism of the "Fire-ether" of Heraclitus, and the "Love-mingler" of Empedocles and Anaxagoras, and the materialism of the "Atoms" of Leucippus and Democritus were similar in their pantheistic notions, and contained the idea of a providence in but a very crude and unsatisfactory form. The Stoics taught that the working force in the universe is God; the consciousness of the universe is Deity; the human soul is a part of the Deity, or an emanation from him.
2. When the distinction between irregular and fortuitous "phenomena and the uniformities of nature became clear, the last were regarded as independent processes, broken in upon by the interferences of the gods, who were endowed with human passions; such interferences being the chances, accidents, irregularities, etc., of nature." Thus Minerva was the goddess of wisdom; Mars, the god of war; Mercury, the god of eloquence and traffic; Pan, the god of terror; Laverna, the goddess of thieves; Venus the goddess of beauty; Cupid, the god of love; Nemesis, of vengeance, etc.
3. The next advance was to the conception of one supreme God, infinite in his perfections and works; a sovereign Ruler bestowing rewards and inflicting penalties by using nature as the instrument of his will, he being a power above nature, and interfering with its processes at his pleasure. This seems to have been in part the view of Socrates, and was the Judaical notion modified into special or general providences according to personal interest in the event. That the Christian Church adopted this view in the main is evident from the fact that the Apostles' Creed, and the confessions of faith of Irenaeus and Tertullian, and the NiceenoConstantinopolitan symbol (A.D. 325 and 381. the only general confession covering the whole field of systematic divinity during 1500 years), contain no restatement of the doctrine.
The Catholic Church added to this view the dogma of Church infallibility, for which the Protestants substituted that of the infallibility of the Scriptures, both presupposing special providential watchfulness.
4. The doctrine of determinate concursus advocated by John Scotus Erigena in the middle of the 9th century holds that there are two causes in all effects, the first being in and not merely with the second, so that the first cause, and not the second, makes the act what it is. Augustine, the Schoolmen, the Thomists, and Dominicans in the Latin Church, the Lutherans, Reformed, and most Calvinistic divines in the Protestant Church have supported it, but in such sense that the moral quality of a sinful act is referred to the creature, and the effectual cause of the act only to God. General concursus is a modification of the foregoing view, and holds that God sustains creatures and their powers, and excites them to act according to their nature. The Franciscans and Jesuits, among the Romanists, and the Remonstrants and later Arminians, among the Protestants, have advocated this theory.
5. Cartesius, Malebranche, and Bayle developed the concursus into the occasionalism of philosophers, which represents God as the sole actor, the creature only furnishing him an occasion to act, and being merely the instrument by which he absolutely and irresistibly accomplishes his own designs. The dependence of the creature upon the Creator, superseding all efficiency of second causes, as held by Schleiermacher and the school to which he belongs, Schweizer and Dr. Emmons, classifies them practically with the Occasionalists.
6. Leibnitz rejected the concursus and Cartesian views, and propounded the theory of Pre-established Harmony, somewhat akin in its radical idea to the "Anima Mundi" of Pythagoras, Plato. and the Alexandrian School; the "Archaeus" of Cornelius Agrippa, Paracelsus, and Von Helmont; the "principium hvlarchicunm" of Henry More; the "plastic nature" of Cudworth, and the "unconscious organizing intelligence" lately advocated by Dr. Laycock and Mr. Murphy. This theory holds that there are two worlds, matter and mind, each incapable of acting upon the other, yet both so adjusted to each other by a divinely pre-arranged harmony that volition and muscular contraction are contemporaneous. The volition would exist just the same without the contraction, and the muscular movement would take place just the same without the volition, each being moved by a force within, but the prearranged harmony secures that they shall seemingly stand related as cause and effect. God is a being of infinite perfections, and the imperfections of creation are accounted for by the nature of the monads of which souls and bodies are composed.
7. Durandus, in the 14th century, proposed the mechanical theory, which affirms the independent activity of God's creatures in the use of powers given to them at their creation — like a wound-up clock which goes of itself. It has been advocated by Scotus, Richard Baxter, and others. Closely akin to this is the theory of such writers as Prof. Tyndall, Dr. H. Bence Jones, and Dr. Bastian, concerning "molecular attractions and repulsions communicated to matter at the creation." Its extreme pantheistic development is found in the "self-evolving powers of nature" of Owen, Huxley, and Baden Powell.
8. Another view represents God as an all-perfect being, the upholder of all things, but denies his interference with the laws of nature in miracles, and maintains that his only interposition is by using natural causes to effect his purposes. Thus providence is law, and no interppsitions are possible unless provided for in the nature of the uniformities. Thus Hippocrates, the contemporary of Socrates, regarded all phenomena as both divine and scientifically determinable. Anaxagoras, in his "Arranging Intelligence," held substantially to this view. Duncanson (Providence of God) is a strong modern advocate of this theory.
9. The Mind-efficiency Theory denies that there are any physical forces apart from mind, either divine or created. The only efficiency in the material universe is the ever-operating will of God. Dr. Samuel Clarke, Dugald Stewart, John Wesley, Nitzsch. Muller, Chalmers, Harris, Young, Whedon, Channing, Martineau, Hedge, Whewell, Bascom. Prof. Tulloch, Sir John Herschel, the duke of Argyll, Mr. Wallace, Proctor, Crocker, and many among the ablest recent writers have defended this view.
10. The true doctrine represents God as a being of infinite perfections, upholding all things by a direct exercise of his potency; the uniformities of nature as his ordinary method of working; its irregularities his method upon occasional conditions; its interferences, his method under the pressure of a higher law, which law is the necessary manifestation of his own nature. It thus adopts the Judaic view of God's perfections, and the complete subservience of nature to his will; admits the general concursus, especially as relates to the freedom of the finite will, accepts the Law theory in its application to miracles, and sustains the Mind-efficiency theory, with the distinct disclaimer of pantheistic leanings in the admission of the separate existence of material substance.
V. Special or Particular Providence. — Providence has been defined as the wisdom and power which God continually exercises in the preservation and government of the world for the ends which he proposes to accomplish. Special providence consists in such particular exhibitions of his wisdom and power in emergencies as are calculated to awaken the conviction of his interest in and guardianship over his creatures.
1. Proof. — The doctrine in question is proved by the following considerations:
(1.) It is necessarily includel in the general providence already established. (See above.) The whole is made up of parts. If God has no care of the whole, he has none of the parts. If he has for the whole, the parts are included. Furtherthe end which he proposes to accomplish in providence is the revelation of himself as infinitely worthy of the love of his creatures. This needs a special providence. Moreover, a God who does not care for us as individuals is tantamount to no God.
(2.) Special providence is implied in the doctrine of prayer. Prayer is an instinct. The Scriptures direct that instinct by coupling with the encouragement to pray the announcement of a special providence that watches over the very hairs of our heads, thus making special providence the complement of prayer. Prayer without a special providence to note and reward would be a mere mockery of our impotence. Moreover, the enlarged charter of prayer-privilege given to believers under the (Gospel dispensation is a personal application of the Old-Test. doctrine of special providence over the Jewish nation. That providence had relation to the covenant detailed in Deuteronomy 26-30; this privilege is conveyed in such promises as Mt 7:7-11; Mt 18:19; Mt 21:22; Mr 11:24; Joh 15:7; Heb 4:16; Jas 5:15; 1Jo 5:14-15; and, being such, it necessarily implies such special watch-care as was involved in the Mosaic covenant cited above. SEE PRAYER.
(3.) The same doctrine is inferred from the fatherhood of God. The denial of his fatherhood changes him into a desolate abstraction, the contemplation of which pours an ice-floe over the tide of human trusts, and causes us to feel that we are "orphaned children in a godless world." But "As a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him" comes to us genial with the warmth of a sympathy and care that we can appreciate and confide in.
(4.) It is involved in the atonement of Christ. The propitiatory sacrifice — as prefigured in the separate sacrifices for each — was for men, not en masse, but as individuals, thus furnishing the greatest possible evidence of care in the interests of utmost moment to the soul. The agency by which this sacrifice is conveyed to the mind — the Holy Spirit — is likewise personal in his ministry of impression, and as personal in his communication of the remedial efficacy of the one atonement, thus demonstrating in appeal and in succor the loving care of God.
(5.) It is revealed in the Scriptures as clearly as the biographies of its noted characters, such as Joseph. Samuel, Elijah, Ruth, Esther, Daniel, etc., can illustrate it, and proclaimed as strongly as such texts as Lu 12:6-7,22-31 can express it, and enforced as powerfully as such prayer-examples as The friend seeking bread and The unjust judge can impress it.
(6.) It is illustrated in the experiences of Christians of every age, until George Neumark's hymn "Leave God to order all thy ways,
And hope in him, whate'er betide; Thou'lt find him in the evil days An all-sufficient strength and guide. Who trusts in God's unchanging love, Builds on the rock that naught can move" —
has become a type of a distinct class of literature both in verse and prose that is inexpressibly sweet to the experienced believer, and of untold value to those who are weak in faith.
2. The moral uses of the doctrine are —
(1.) It deters from sin. Theon of Alexandria taught that "a full persuasion of God's seeing everything we do is the strongest incentive to virtue;" and he advised the civil magistrate to place the inscription at the corners of the streets "God seeth thee, O sinner!" A full belief in special providence places that inscription not upon the corners of the streets, but within the chambers of the memory.
(2.) It excites watchfulness for his interpositions. Abraham, after Mount Moriah; the three Hebrews, after the fiery furnace; Daniel, after the lions' den; Elijah, after Cherith's cave, never failed to look for other deliverances in the time of need.
(3.) It gives the assurance that all is right in our present circumstances, in view of the discipline needed, and the final adjustment of rewards and penalties.
(4.) It leads to cheerful trust in all trials, and thus sweetens the bitter draughts of life.
(5.) It inspires with hope in emergencies, and thus enables the believer to meet unforeseen exigencies with all his resources of mind and faith at hand, confident, buoyant, and if possible conquering.
(6.) It imparts a patience that outlasts adversities, a fortitude that yields to no disaster, and a confidence that emerges unscathed from all furnaces of trial.
VII. Literature. — We cite in alphabetical order a portion only of the very numerous works extant on this subject: Aquinas, Summa Theol. p. i, q. 15, art. iii; Backerus, De Dei Providentia circa Mal.; Bairus, De Proverbs Dei circa Peccata liominum; Beza, De Proverbs Dei circa Res Temporales; Bormann, Lehre der Vorsehung; the same, Betrachtungen iiber die wichtigsten Warheiten der Religion; Chrysostom, De Providentia Dei; Clement, Strom. 6:17, p. 821 sq.; De Maree, Gottesvertheidigung iiber die Zulassung des Bosenm; De Vries, Exercitationes Rationales; Feldmann, Moira oder iiber die ygttliche Vorsehung; Fur Anbeter Gottes (Loud. 1780); Gomari Conciliatio Doct. Orthodoxac de Providentia; Hugo of St. Victor, De Sacram. c. 19-21; Jacobi, Betrachtungen iiber die weisen Absichten Gottes; Jerome, Comment. in Abacuc, c. 1; Junilius, De Partibus Legis Divince, bk. ii, c. 3 sq.; Koppen, Die Bibel ein Werk der gottlichen Weisheit; Lactantius, De Via Dei, c. 13; the same, De Opificio Dei, vel Formatione lIom1inis, c. 5-17; Leibnitz, Essais de Theodicee; Martinii Corn. de Gubernatione Munci; Muller, Briefe uber das Studium der Wissenschtaften, besonders der Geschichie (Ziirich, 1798); Nemesius, De Natura Hominis, c. 42 sq.; Plutarch, De Sera Numinius Vindicta; Rechenbergius, De Proverbs Dei circa Minima; Salvianus Massiliensis, De Gubernatione Dei sive de Proverbs; Sanders, Ueber die Vorsehung; Schrickh, Disp. Historica circa Providentiamn Divinuam, quando et quam cldare loquatur (Vitembergge, 1776); Seneca, De Providentia, De Beneficiis; Theodoret, Sermones de Providentia; 'Turrettini Dissertationes, diss. 4, 5, 6; Twisse, Vindicatio Providentice Dei; Viret,
De la Providence; Weismannus, De Proverbs Dei contra Malum; Zollikofer, Betrachtungemn iber das Uebel in der Welt. (S. H. P.)