What do we believe about God’s providence?

5:1 God the great Creator of all things doth uphold (Heb 1:3), direct, dispose, and govern all creatures, actions, and things (Job 38:1-41:34; Psa 135:6; Dan 4:34, 35; Acts 17:25, 26, 28), from the greatest even to the least (Matt 10:29-31), by His most wise and holy providence (Psa 104:24; 145:17; Prov 15:3), according to His infallible fore-knowledge (Psa 94:8-11; Acts 15:18), and the free and immutable counsel of His own will (Psa 33:10, 11; Eph 1:11), to the praise of the glory of His wisdom, power, justice, goodness, and mercy (Gen 45:7; Psa 145:7; Isa 63:14; Rom 9:17; Eph 3:10).

5:2 Although, in relation to the fore-knowledge and decree of God, the first Cause, all things come to pass immutably, and infallibly (Acts 2:23): yet, by the same providence, He ordereth them to fall out, according to the nature of second causes, either necessarily, freely, or contingently (Gen 8:22; Ex 21:13; Deut 19:5; 1 Kin 22:28, 34; Isa 10:6, 7; Jer 31:35).

5:3 God in His ordinary providence maketh use of means (Isa 55:10, 11; Hos 2:21, 22; Acts 27:31, 44), yet is free to work without (Job 34:10; Hos 1:7; Matt 4:4), above (Rom 4:19-21), and against them at His pleasure (2 Kin 6:6; Dan 3:27).

5:4 The almighty power, unsearchable wisdom, and infinite goodness of God so far manifest themselves in His providence, that it extendeth itself even to the first fall, and all other sins of angels and men (2 Sam 16:10; 24:1; 1 Kin 22:22, 23; 1 Chr 10:4, 13, 14; 21:1; Acts 2:23; 4:27, 28; Rom 11:32-34); and that not by a bare permission (Acts 14:16), but such as hath joined with it a most wise and powerful bounding (2 Kin 19:29; Psa 76:10), and otherwise ordering and governing of them, in a manifold dispensation, to His own holy ends (Gen 1:20; Isa 10:6, 7, 12); yet so, as the sinfulness thereof proceedeth only from the creature, and not from God, who, being most holy and righteous, neither, is nor can be, the author or approver of sin (Psa 50:21; James 1:13, 14, 17; 1 John 2:16).

5:5 The most wise, righteous, and gracious God doth oftentimes leave for a season His own children to manifold temptations, and the corruption 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 (2 Sam 24:1; 2 Chr 32:25, 26, 31); and, to raise them to a more close and constant dependence for their support unto) Himself, and to make them more watchful against all future occasions of sin, and for sundry other just and holy ends (Psa 73:1-28; 77:1-10, 12; Mark 14:66-72; John 21:15-17; 2 Cor 12:7-9).

5:6 As for those wicked and ungodly men whom God, as a righteous Judge, for former sins doth blind and harden (Rom 1:24, 26, 28; 11:7, 8), from them He not only withholdeth His grace, whereby they might have been enlightened in their understandings, and wrought upon in their hearts (Deut 29:4); but sometimes also withdraweth the gifts which they had (Matt 13:12; 25:29), and exposeth them to such objects as their corruption makes occasions of sin (Deut 2:30; 2 Kin 8:12, 13); and, withal, gives them over to their own lusts, the temptations of the world, and the power of Satan (Psa 81:11, 12; 2 Thes 2:10-12); whereby it comes to pass that they harden themselves, even under those means which God useth for the softening of others (Ex 7:3; 8:15, 32; Isa 6:9, 10; 8:14; Acts 28:26, 27; 2 Cor 2:15, 16; 1 Pet 2:7, 8).

5:7 As the providence of God doth in general reach to all creatures, so after a most special manner it taketh care of His Church, and disposeth all things to the good thereof (Isa 43:3-5, 14; Amos 9:8, 9; Rom 8:28; 1 Tim 4:10).