Monday, November 18, 2013

Providence's "beautiful history"

Once again, in returning to John Flavel I'm reminded of the value of reading the English Puritans. Giants of the faith like Flavel and John Owen are spiritual heart surgeons, and their writings like spiritual smelling salts for sleepy Christians, of which I am one. Keeping the Heart -- an extended meditation on Proverbs 4:23 -- is a prime example. Here's a great quote from the section where Flavel talks about the importance of tending to one's heart in times of adversity.

We are clouded with much ignorance, and are not able to discern how particular providences tend to the fulfillment of God's designs; and therefore, like Israel in the wilderness, are often murmuring because Providence leads us about in a howling desert where we are exposed to difficulties; though then he lead them, and is now leading us, by the right way to a city of habitations. If you could but see how God in his secret counsel has exactly laid the whole plan of your salvation, even to the smallest means and circumstances; could you but discern the admirable harmony of divine actions, their mutual relations, together with the general respect they all have to the last end; had you the liberty to make your own choice, you would of all conditions in the world, choose that in which you now are in.
Providence is like a curious piece of tapestry made of a thousand shreds, which single appear useless, but put together they represent a beautiful history to the eye. As God does all things according to the counsel of his own will, of course this is ordained as the best method to effect your salvation.

BTW this book is available in a Kindle edition for 99 cents. If you can overlook the many typos it's a terrific value.

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