Wednesday, 15 June 2011

The Mystery of Providence: marvellous, majestic and mighty.

Reading from John Flavel's work, The Mystery of Providence, which has been published by the Banner of Truth Trust (BTT), is a joy. It was first published in 1678, when John Flavel was in his early fifties; he died in 1691. I bought a copy of the 1963 edition, which cost me four shillings and sixpence, when the BTT operated from Chiltern Street, London W1.

Over the years this book has helped me to understand and to appreciate the wonderful workings of divine providence in my life and in the lives of other Christians.  There are areas of mystery when one looks back on decisions, doubts and disappointments as well as the manifold blessings, benefits and the bounty of God's care.
God's providential care has been very evident in conversion, employment including church ministry, family life and marvellous answers to prayer.  Hallelujah!  To serve the Lord is to love Him, and to love the Lord is to serve Him!  He is faithful and just.  He cares for us and He corrects us.

In providence we see the hand of God at work in human hearts and lives.  He cares for our needs and our spiritual development.  He shares His grace and loving kindness, so that we enjoy true inner peace, even in the turmoils of life, and salvation bringing us into eternal life, life that has the quality of eternity.  He bears us up when we falter, fall and fail, giving us strength to endure to the end and to carry on to the eternal kingdom, where our true citizenship resides.

Our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Saviour from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.

 ημων γαρ το πολιτευμα εν ουρανοις υπαρχει εξ ου και σωτηρα απεκδεχομεθα κυριον ιησουν χριστον

Philippians 3:20.

John Flavel wrote:
           Consider your spiritual mercies and privileges with which the Lord Jesus has invested you, and complain at your providential lot if you can.  One of these mercies alone has enough in it to sweeten all your troubles in this world.  When the apostle considered them, his heart was overwhelmed with astonishment, so that he could not forbear in the midst of all his outward troubles to cry out, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings (Eph. 1:3).  Oh, who that sees such an inheritance settled upon him in Christ, can ever open his mouth again to complain at his providential lot!

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