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Westminster Shorter Catechism Project

An Exposition of the Assembly's
Shorter Catechism

by John Flavel

Of Divine Providence.

Q. 11. What are God's works of Providence?
A. God's works of Providence, are his most holy, wise, and powerful preserving and governing all his Creatures and all their Actions.

Q. 1. How doth it appear there is a Divine Providence?
A. It appears by plain Scripture testimonies. Hebrews 1:3. Upholding all things by the word of his power. Colossians 1:17. By him all things consist. Luke 12:6-7. Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God; but even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.

Q. 2. How else is Providence evidenced?
A. By Scripture Emblems, as Jacob's Ladder. Genesis 28:12-13. And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set upon the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven; behold the Angels of God ascended and descended on it: And Ezekiel's wheels. Ezekiel 1:20. Whithersoever the spirit was to go, they went, thither was their spirit to go, and the wheels were lifted up over against them, for the spirit of the living creature was in the wheels.

Q. 3. What further Scripture evidence is there?
A. The sure accomplishment of Scripture Predictions, as Israel's Captivity, and Deliverance from Egypt and Babylon, Christ's Incarnation, the Rise and Ruin of the four Monarchies. Daniel 2:3. Thou, O King sawest, and behold a great Image, whose brightness was excellent, stood and before the, and the form thereof was terrible. Daniel 7:3. And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from the other.

Q. 4. What is its first act about the Creatures?
A. It sustains, preserves, provides for them. Psalm 145:15-16. The eyes of all wait upon thee, and thou givest them their meat in due season; thou openest thine hand, and satisfieth the deisre of every living thing, and defendest them from danger. Psalm 36:6. Thy righteousness is like the great mountains, thy judgments are a great deep, O Lord, thou preservest man and beast.

Q. 5. What is the second act of Providence about the Creature?
A. It rules and governs the Creature and their actions. Psalm 66:7. He ruleth by his power for ever, his eyes behold the nations: let not the rebellious exalt themselves.

Q. 6. How manifold is divine Providence?
A. It is common and general over all, or special and peculiar to some men. 1 Timothy 4:10. Who is the saviour of all men, especially of those that believe.

Q. 7. How is providence exercised about sinful actions?
A. In permitting them. Acts 4:16. In restraining them. Psalm 76:10. Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee, and the remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain. And over-ruling them to good. Genesis 50:20. But as for you, ye thought evil against me, but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.

Q. 8. What are the Properties of Providence?
A. It is
1. Holy. Psalm 145:17. The Lord is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works.
2. Wise. Psalm 104:24. O Lord how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all.
3. Powerful. Daniel 4:35. And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing, and he doth according to his will, in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth, and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, what dost thou?

Q. 9. What is the first Instruction from it?
A. That God's people are safe amidst all their enemies and dangers. 2 Chronicles 16:9. For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show himself strong in the behalf of them whose hearts are perfect towards him?

Q. 10. What is the second Instruction?
A. That Prayer is the best expedient to Prosperity, and success of our lawful affairs. Psalm 145:18. The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth.

Q. 11. What is the third Instruction from it?
A. That God's People should rest quietly in the care of his Providence for them in all their straits. Matthew 6:26. Behold the fowls of the air, for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet our heavenly father feedeth them; are ye not much better than they?

Q. 12. What is the last Instruction from it?
A. That it is no small privilege to be adopted Children of God, and the members of Christ, for all is ordered for their eternal Good. Ephesians 1:22-23. And he hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be head over all things to the Church, which is his Body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.

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