Friday, June 5, 2015

Ezekiel Hopkins on Providence

“A sparrow, whose price is but mean, two of them valued at a farthing (which some make to be the 10th part of a Roman penny, and was certainly one of their least coins), and whose life, therefore, is but contemptible, and whose flight seems giddy and at random; yet it falls not to the ground, neither lights anywhere, without your Father. His all-wise Providence hath before appointed what bough it shall pitch on; what grains it shall pick up; where is shall lodge, and where it shall build; on what it shall live, and when it shall die. And, if your Father's Providence be so critical about the small concernments even of sparrows, 'fear not ye, for ye are of more value than many sparrows;' yea, of more value than many men. 

"Our Saviour adds, 'The very hairs of you head are all numbered.' God keeps an account, even of that stringy excrescence. He knows how many fall off, and the precise number of those that remain; and no wonder, since he knows the number of our sins, which are far more.

"Hence we learn, that God governs the meanest, the most inconsiderable and contemptible occurrences in the world, by an exact and particular Providence. Do you see a thousand little motes and atoms wandering up and down in a sunbeam? It is God that so peoples it; and He guides their innumerable and irregular strayings. Not a dust flies in a beaten road; but God raiseth it, conducts its uncertain motion, and, by his particular care, conveys it to the certain place He had before appointed for it; nor shall the most fierce and tempestuous wind hurry it any farther. Nothing comes to pass, but God hath His ends in it, and will certainly make His own ends out of it. Though the world seem to run at random, and affairs to be huddled together in blind confusion and rude disorder; ye, God sees and knows the concatenation of all causes and effects, and so governs them, that He makes a perfect harmony out of all those seeming jarrings and discords. It is most necessary, that we should have our hearts established in the firm and unwavering belief of this truth; that whatsoever comes to pass, be it good or evil, we may look up to the Hand and Disposal of All, to God. In respect of God, there is nothing casual, nor contingent in the world. If a master should send a servant to a certain place, and command him to stay there till such a time; and presently after, should send another servant to the same place; the meeting of these two is wholly casual in respect of themselves, but ordained and foreseen by the master who sent them. So it is in all fortuitous events here below. They fall out unexpectedly, as to us; but not so as to God. He foresees and appoints all the vicissitudes of things.”

Ezekiel Hopkins, Sermon Upon Providence: From Matthew 10:29, 30 (Works, Volume 4, page 233-234, 1809 

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