What are God’s works of providence? I was helped by reading the section on this question from Thomas Watson’s A Body of Divinity (orig. 1692; Banner of Truth, reprint). Here are a few quotes from Watson on the doctrine of providence:
“God is not like an artificer that builds a house, and then leaves it, but like a pilot he steers the ship of the whole creation” (p. 120).
“God takes care of every saint in particular, as if he had none else to care for” (p. 120).
“God’s children sometimes scarce know how they are fed, except that providence feeds them” (p. 120).
“Providence reaches to the very hairs of our head. ‘The hairs of your head are all numbered.’ Matt x 30. Surely if providence reaches to our hairs, much more to our souls” (p. 121).
“Suppose you were in a smith’s shop, and should see several sorts of tools, some crooked, some bowed, others hooked, would you condemn all these things, because they look not handsome? The smith makes use of them all for doing his work.” He concludes, “Thus you see God’s providences are wise and regular, though to us they seem very strange and crooked” (p. 121).
“The falling of a tile upon one’s head, the breaking out of a fire, is casual [accidental] to us, but it is ordered by the providence of God…. Things which seem to fall out casual [by accident], and by chance, are the issues of God’s decrees, and the interpretation of his will” (p. 123).
“God’s providence is greatly to be observed, but we are not to make it the rule of our actions…. Providence is a Christian’s diary, but not his Bible” (p. 123).
“The providences of God are chequer-work, they are intermingled. In the life to come there shall be no more mixture; in hell there will be nothing but bitter and in heaven nothing but sweet; but in this life the providences of God are mixed, there is something of the sweet in them, and something of the bitter” (p. 124).
“If God’s providence should be withdrawn but for a while, creatures would be dissolved, and run into their first nothing” (p. 124).
“Our clothes would not warm us, our food would not nourish us, without the special providence of God” (p. 124).
“Does any affliction befall you? Remember God sees it is that which is fit for you, or it would not come. Your clothes cannot be so fit for you as your crosses” (p. 125).
“The church is the apple of God’s eye, and the eyelid of his providence daily covers and defends it” (p. 127).
“There is no providence but we shall see a wonder or mercy in it” (p. 127).
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