Chapter 5. Of Divine Providence

Read Chapter 5(Of Divine Providence) of the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith
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1. God the good Creator of all things, in His infinite power and wisdom does uphold, direct, dispose, and govern all creatures and things,1from the greatest even to the least,2by His most wise and holy providence, to the end for the which they were created, according unto His infallible foreknowledge, and the free and immutable counsel of His own will; to the praise of the glory of His wisdom, power, justice, infinite goodness, and mercy.3

2. Although in relation to the foreknowledge and decree of God, the first cause, all things come to pass immutably and infallibly;4so that there is not anything befalls any by chance, or without His providence;5yet by the same providence He ordered them to fall out according to the nature of second causes, either necessarily, freely, or contingently.6

3. God, in his ordinary providence makes use of means,7yet is free to work without,8above,9and against them10at His pleasure.

4. The almighty power, unsearchable wisdom, and infinite goodness of God, so far manifest themselves in His providence, that His determinate counsel extends itself even to the first fall, and all other sinful actions both of angels and men;11and that not by a bare permission, which also He most wisely and powerfully binds, and otherwise orders and governs,12in a manifold dispensation to His most holy ends;13yet so, as the sinfulness of their acts proceeds only from the creatures, and not from God, who, being most holy and righteous, neither is nor can be the author or approver of sin.14

5. The most wise, righteous, and gracious God does often times leave for a season His own children to manifold temptations and the corruptions of their own hearts, to chastise them for their former sins, or to discover unto them the hidden strength of corruption and deceitfulness of their hearts, that they may be humbled; and to raise them to a more close and constant dependence for their support upon Himself; and to make them more watchful against all future occasions of sin, and for other just and holy ends.15So that whatsoever befalls any of His elect is by His appointment, for His glory, and their good.16

6. As for those wicked and ungodly men whom God, as the righteous judge, for former sin does blind and harden;17from them He not only withholds His grace, whereby they might have been enlightened in their understanding, and wrought upon their hearts;18but sometimes also withdraws the gifts which they had,19and exposes them to such objects as their corruption makes occasion of sin;20and withal, gives them over to their own lusts, the temptations of the world, and the power of Satan,21whereby it comes to pass that they harden themselves, under those means which God uses for the softening of others.22

7. As the providence of God does in general reach to all creatures, so after a more special manner it takes care of His church, and disposes of all things to the good thereof.23