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Bethel Baptist Association (KY)

"The Special Providence of God"
By S. P. Forgy, Pastor
Trenton, KY

To the Churches of Bethel Association:
     DEAR BRETHREN -- There is no subject to which we can call your attention better calculated to comfort and console you than the Special Providence of God. It is true that a strange, half-infidel system of general Providence, has been adopted by some calling themselves Christians. They are willing that God shall interest himself in great matters, but it is too degrading, according to their notions, for God, to watch over and control the minute events of earth.

     This view is both dishonoring to God, and contrary to scripture.

     There is another view entertained by some, that God has created all things, and established fixed laws, by which they are governed and controlled.

     As a consequence, God is merely a spectator of all the momentous, as well as the minute events that occur in the universe.

     This view withers every fair plant in the garden of the Lord.

     It dries up every fountain of devotion. It dishonors God, is contrary to scripture, and saps the foundatlon of the whole Christian system.

     By special Povidence we mean the constant operation of God, extending to the minutest, as well as the greatest events that take place in the universe. What can be clearer from scripture, than that God takes part in all that takes place among men, causing them to work out His wise designs and immutable purposes? Indeed, we know not how we can conceive the, idea of God's governing the world, and that government not extend to every event that occurs in the universe. "The very hairs of your head are all numbered. He makes the wrath of man to praise Him. The Lord sitteth upon the flood. He hath established His throne in the Heavens, and His kingdom ruleth over all." A man's heart deviseth his way, but the Lord directeth his steps.

     In what manner Providence interferes in human affairs, by what means it influences the thoughts and counsels of men, and notwithstanding the influence it exerts leaves to them the freedom of choice, are subjects of a dark and mysterious nature. But though the mode of divine operation is unknown, the fact of an overruling influence is certain. It is on the ground of special Providence that all our prayers ascend, that all our devotions are offered.

     Did we not conceive God as the hearer of prayer, and able to meet the wants of his creatures under all circumstances, then we must necessarily regard him as an unconcerned spectator of all that takes place, regarding the obedient and rebellious with an equal eye. This special control extends to all the works of his hands, since it is far less to control than to create. God holds the sun, moon and stars in his hand, while he clothes the grass of the field, and feeds the young ravens that cry unto him.

     Kingdoms do not rise, nor sparrows fall without his notice. Accident, fortune, and chance, are words without meaning, or they are other names for that ever present agency that is controlling all things for the glory of God and the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose.

     Nothing occurs but is a sequence of some other cause, which indeed is not a cause, but is only a single link of the great chain of events that runs back to the great first cause, which is God himself; and the grand result; the sum total of all events, will be God's glory and the good of those who love him.

     This view of Providence, consoles the Christian amid the severest trials of life. Whatever the nature of his troubles, he still looks up with fond hope that all will work for his good.

     Dear Brethren, in these days of trouble, when the judgments of God are abroad in the land; when men's hearts are failing them for fear of the things that are coming upon them; let us draw comfort from the thought that the Lord reigneth; and though

God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;

all is right and will be made plain one day.

His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flower.

     Let us strive for the faith of the ancient Prophets, -- that strong faith that can say "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will we not fear though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be cast into the midst of the sea; though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Although the fig-tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vine, the labor of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat, -- the flocks shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls; yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation."

     And now, Dear Brethren, we commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to save your souls.


[From Bethel Baptist Association Minutes (KY), 1864, pp. 12-13. Now known as the Logan-Todd Baptist Association. This document was provided by Philip duBarry, Addyston, OH. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]

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