Tag Archives: Providence

“God’s purpose” by Wilhelmus à Brakel

“Consider for a moment from whom your life, breath, and whatever you possess proceed– the air which you breathe; the sun, moon, and stars which illuminate and delight you; the heavens which cover you; the earth on which you walk; the food and drink you partake of; and the animals which you use.

Does all this proceed from you? Are you worthy of them? Is not all this the Lord’s? Is it not He who, each day again, grants you His goodness in spite of your unworthiness and sinfulness? Yes, children of God, is it not the Lord who has granted you that precious Savior, who grants you the Holy Spirit, who graces you with spiritual light and life, and who has prepared eternal glory for you?

Everything will return from whence it proceeded. Therefore let your heart, while conscious of your insignificance and reflecting upon the inestimable value of the blessings and goodness of the Lord, also bring all this to Him, and with a heart filled with love and adoration cry out, ‘For of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things: to Him be glory forever. Amen’ (Rom. 11:36).

Consider the purpose for which God has placed you upon the earth. Is it only to labor and to rest, to eat and to drink, and to return again to nothing after many troubles and activities? Tell me, why are you here? Is it to know, acknowledge, and glorify your Maker?

And, children of God, to what end has He regenerated you and placed you in His church? Did He do so without purpose? Is it merely to lead you by that way to heaven? No, but it is that you would glorify Him upon earth.

Observe this in the following passages: ‘This people have I formed for Myself; they shall show forth My praise’ (Isa. 43:21); ‘…that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He might be glorified’ (Isa. 61:3); ‘But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light’ (1 Pet. 2:9).

You would not have been born, you would not live, and you would not receive and have what you enjoy, if this were not the purpose. If this is the purpose, what else is there to do for you but this?

God has, to some degree, been pleased to place His interests and honor into your hand, and has appointed you to be the heralds of His Name. Ought you then not to see to it how you preserve this precious gift entrusted to you, and how you answer to God’s purpose and engage inestimable activity?

Well, arise therefore, and engage in it with delight.”

–Wilhelmus à Brakel, The Christian’s Reasonable Service, Volume 3, Ed. Joel Beeke, Trans. Bartel Elshout (Grand Rapids, MI: Reformation Heritage Books, 1700/1994), 3: 256-257.

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“A rich and gracious Savior” by John Newton

“I may express all my complaints in one short sentence: I am a poor creature.

And all my hopes and comforts may be summed up as briefly by saying: I have a rich and gracious Saviour.

Full as I am in myself of inconsistencies and conflicts, I have in Him a measure of peace.

He found me in a waste howling wilderness. He redeemed me from the house of misery and bondage.

And though I have been ungrateful and perverse, He has not yet forsaken me. I trust He never will.

‘Unsustained by Thee I fall.’ But He is able to hold even me up: to pity, to support, and to supply me to the end of life.

How suitable a Saviour! He is made all things to those who have nothing, and He is engaged to help those who can do nothing.”

–John Newton, The Aged Pilgrim’s Thoughts Over Sin and the Grave, Illustrated in a Series of Letters to Walter Taylor, Never Before Published, by the Rev. John Newton (London: Baker and Fletcher, 2nd Ed., 1825), 6.

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“Lean upon an almighty arm” by John Newton

“It is a comfort to think that in our several changes and movements, the same Lord is present with us all. If we are in the path of duty and follow as He leads, we may depend on Him to do us good.

Every good is connected with His favour. He will withhold nothing from us but what He sees we had better be without. And we shall meet with nothing but what He will overrule for our benefit.

Oh, how pleasant to lean upon an almighty arm, and to commit ourselves without anxiety to the guidance of infinite wisdom and love! Hitherto to the Lord has helped us.

The enemy has often thrust sore at us that we might fall. But the Lord has been our stay. And as mercy and goodness have followed us all our days, each Ebenezer we have already set up is an encouraging monument to engage us to trust Him to the end.

For this God is our God for ever and ever! He will be our guide even unto death, and beyond death, to the land of life and joy, where we shall hear the voice of war no more.

I commend you and your family and friends to His gracious care.

I am, my dear madam,

Your obliged and affectionate servant,

John Newton”

–John Newton, Letters of John Newton (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth Trust, 1869/2007), 85-86.

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“Our sorrows shall have an end” by Charles Spurgeon

“Our longest sorrows have a close, and there is a bottom to the profoundest depths of our misery.

Our winters shall not frown forever; summer shall soon smile.

The tide shall not eternally ebb out; the floods retrace their march.

The night shall not hang its darkness for ever over our souls; the sun shall yet arise with healing beneath his wings.

The Lord turned again the captivity of Job.’ (Job 42:10) Our sorrows shall have an end when God has gotten His end in them.”

–Charles H. Spurgeon, “Intercessory Prayer,” in The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, Vol. 7 (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1861), 7: 449.

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“He will do right” by William Plumer

“In all earthly affairs change is the order of things. The winds, the tides, the seasons, the face of nature, and even friends change, but in all our calculations we may rely on the immutable holiness, justice, and goodness of God (Psalm 33:5). The Judge of all the earth will do right.”

–William Plumer, Psalms: A Critical and Expository Commentary with Doctrinal and Practical Remarks (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth Trust, originally published in 1867; reprinted 2016), 415. Plumer is commenting on Psalm 33.

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“Those Divine demands” by C.S. Lewis

“When we want to be something other than the thing God wants us to be, we must be wanting what, in fact, will not make us happy. Those Divine demands which sound to our natural ears most like those of a despot and least like those of a lover, in fact marshal us where we should want to go if we knew what we wanted.”

–C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain (New York: HarperCollins, 1940/1996), 46.

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The Valley of Vision – “Year’s End”

O Love Beyond Compare,

Thou art good when Thou givest,
when Thou takest away,
when the sun shines upon me,
when night gathers over me.
Thou hast loved me before the foundation of the world,
and in love didst redeem my soul;
Thou dost love me still,
in spite of my hard heart, ingratitude, distrust.
Thy goodness has been with me another year,
leading me through a twisting wilderness,
in retreat helping me to advance,
when beaten back making sure headway.
Thy goodness will be with me in the year ahead;
I hoist sail and draw up anchor,
With Thee as the blessed pilot of my future as of my past.
I bless Thee that Thou hast veiled my eyes to the waters ahead.
If Thou hast appointed storms of tribulation,
Thou wilt be with me in them;
If I have to pass through tempests of persecution and tempation,
I shall not drown;
If I am to die,
I shall see Thy face the sooner;
If a painful end is to be my lot,
grant me grace that my faith fail not;
If I am to be cast aside from the service I love,
I can make no stipulation;
Only glorify Thyself in me whether in comfort or trial,
as a chosen vessel meet always for thy use.

–Arthur Bennett, ed., “Year’s End,” in The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1983), 111.

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