Friday, December 4, 2009

Consociation of Providence

And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil. (Matt. 15.22)

Samuel Rutherford, Sermon 10 (re Matt. 15.22), in The Trial and Triumph of Faith, pp. 74-78:

"My daughter:" Observe the rise of this passage of providence. (1.) Christ, wearied of Judea, came to the borders of Tyre and Sidon. (2.) He went to a house to hide himself from her. (3.) She heard of Christ. (4.) The hard condition her daughter was in, tormented with a devil; upon this, God driveth her to Christ. (5.) Christ is hereby declared to be the Saviour of the Gentiles. (6.) An illustrious miracle is wrought. See a wise consociation of many acts of providence, as one cluster of passages of the art of wise omnipotency; as many herbs and various sorts of flowers make up one pleasant and well-smelled meadow; many roses, lilies, and the like, one sweet-smelling garden.
2. The book of providence is full, both page and margin: God hath been adding to it sundry new editions; and like children, we are in love with the golden covering, the ribbons, filleting, and the pictures in the frontispiece, but understand little of the argument of providence. "Whoso is wise, and will observe these things, even they shall understand the loving kindness of the Lord." (Psalm 107:43.) "I said (said Elihu) days (things of providence) shall speak, and multitude of years should teach wisdom." (Job 32:7.) God is worthy to be chronicled.
5. Slander not God's ways of providence, with the reproach of confusion and disorder: to God all his works are good, very good, as were the works of creation. There is a long chain and concatenation of God's ways, counsels, decrees, actions, events, judgments, mercies; and there is white and black, good and evil, crooked and straight, interwoven in this web; and the links of this chain, partly gold, partly brass, iron, and clay, and the threads of his dispensation, go along through the patriarchs' days, Adam, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, and are spun through the ages of Moses, and the church in Egypt, and the wilderness, and come through the times of the kings of Israel and Judah, and the captivities of the church, and descend along through the generations of prophets, Christ, the apostles, persecuting emperors, and martyrdoms of the witnesses of Jesus, slain by the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, till the end of the thread and last link of the chain be tied to the very day of the marriage of the Lamb. Now, in this long contexture of divine providence you see, (1.) Not one thread broken. "My Father worketh hitherto, and I work," (saith Christ). Providence hath no vacancy, but causes, events, actions, ways, are all bordered one upon another, by the wisdom of providence, so that links are chained and fettered to links, not by hazard or chance. (2.) Though this web be woven of threads of divers colours, black and white, comfortable and sad passages of God's providence, yet all maketh a fair order in this long way. Jacob weepeth for his dead child Joseph; Joseph rejoiceth to come out of the prison to reign: David danceth with all his might before the ark; David weepeth sore for Absalom his son's miserable death: Job washeth his steps with butter, and the candle of the Almighty shineth on his head; and Job defileth his horn in the dust, and lieth on ashes, and mourneth. All is beauty and order to God.

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