Away despair! my gracious Lord doth heare.
Though windes and waves assault my keel,
He doth preserve it: He doth steer,
Ev’n when the boat seems most to reel.
Storms are the triumph of His art:
Well may He close his eyes, but not His heart.
—George Herbert, The Temple (1633)
“For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” Philippians 2:13
It is not the vast bulk of an estate, but the vigilant care of divine providence that guards you from the stroke of ruin. The providence of God around us is the solid basis of all sanctified and durable prosperity. His providence enfolds all who bear his image in everlasting arms. He will advance you higher, and secure you better than any noble birth or estate could ever do. The delight and pleasure resulting from the observation of divine providence is very great. It would doubtless be a part of our entertainment in heaven to view with transporting delight how the designs and methods were laid to bring us there.
Providence not only brings you to heaven, it brings heaven to your soul now. God is providentially steering all to the port of his own praise and his people’s happiness, while the whole world is busily employed in managing the sails and tugging at the oars with a quite opposite design and purpose. They promote God’s design by opposing it, fulfil his will be resisting it, and enlarge his church by scattering it. They make the saint’s rest sweeter by making their condition so restless in the world.
What a history we might compile, as we trace the footsteps of providence along the way. Here it prevented, and there it delivered. Here it directed, and there it corrected. Here it grieved, and there it relieved. Here was the poison, and there, the antidote. This providence dispelled a dismal cloud. This one straitened, and that one enlarged. Here a want, and there a supply.
Words cannot express what delight we may find in such an employment. O reader, what a life of pleasure you might live by noticing the ways of providence towards you! What a heaven upon earth you may have! Taste and see the glory of the study of providence.
–John Flavel (1627-1691)