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Providence
AUTHOR: Spurgeon, C.H.
PUBLISHED ON: April 3, 2003
DOC SOURCE: CCN
PUBLISHED IN: Sermons

                                                    Providence
by the REV. C.H. SPURGEON
                                   

              “But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.” Matthew 10:30.

          DURING THIS WEEK my mind has been much directed to the subject of Providence,and you will not
          wonder when I relate a portion of one day’s story. I was engaged to preach last Wednesday at Halifax,
          where there was a heavy snow storm. Preparations had been made for a congregation of 8000 persons,
          and a huge wooden structure had been erected. I considered that owing to the severe weather, few
          persons could possibly assemble, and I looked forward to the dreary task of addressing an insignificant handful of
          people in a vast place. However, when I arrived, I found from 5000 to 6000 people gathered together to hear the
          Word; and a more substantial looking place it has not been my lot to see. It certainly was a huge uncomely
          building, but, nevertheless, it seemed well adapted to answer the purpose. We met together in the afternoon and
          worshipped God, and again in the evening, and we separated to our homes, or rather, we were about to separate,
          and all this while the kind providence of God was watching over us. Immediately in front of me there was a huge
          gallery, which looked an exceedingly massive structure, capable of holding 2000 persons. This, in the afternoon,
          was crowded, and it seemed to stand as firm as a rock. Again in the evening there it stood, and neither moved nor
          shook. But mark the provident hand of God: in the evening, when the people were about to retire, and when there
          was scarcely more than a hundred persons there, a huge beam gave way, and down came a portion of the flooring
          of the gallery with a fearful crash. Several persons were precipitated with the planks, but still the good hand of
          God watched over us, and only two persons were severely injured with broken legs, which it is trusted will be
          re-set without the necessity of amputation. Now, had this happened any earlier, not only must many more have
          been injured, but there are a thousand chances to one, as we say, that a panic must necessarily have ensued
          similar to that which we still remember, and deplore as having occurred in this place. Had such a thing occurred,
          and had I been the unhappy preacher on the occasion, I feel certain that I should never have been able to occupy
          the pulpit again. Such was the effect of the first calamity, that I marvel that I ever survived. No human tongue can
          possibly tell what I experienced. The Lord, however, graciously preserved us; the fewness of the people in the
          gallery prevented any such catastrophe, and thus a most fearful accident was averted. But we have a more
          marvellous providence still to record. Overloaded by the immense weight of snow which fell upon it, and beaten
          by a heavy wind, the entire building fell with an enormous crash three hours after we had left it, splitting the huge
          timbers into shivers, and rendering very much of the material utterly useless for any future building. Now mark
          this had the snow begun three hours earlier, the building must have fallen upon us, and how few of us would
          have escaped we cannot guess. But mark another thing. All day long it thawed so fast, that the snow as it fell
          seemed to leave a mass, not of white snow, but of snow and water together. This ran through the roof upon us, to
          our considerable annoyance, and I was almost ready to complain that we had hard dealing from God’s providence.
          But if it had been a frost instead of a thaw, you can easily perceive that the place must have fallen several hours
          beforehand, and then your minister, and the greater part of his congregation, would probably have been in the
          other world. Some there may be who deny providence altogether. I cannot conceive that there were any partakers
          of the scene who could have done so. This I know, if I had been an unbeliever to this day in the doctrine of the
          supervision and wise care of God, I must have been a believer in it at this hour. Oh, magnify the Lord with me,
          and let us exalt his name together; he hath been very gracious unto us, and remembered us for good.
              Now, when we look abroad into the world we see, as we think, such abundant proofs that there is a God, that
          we are apt to treat a man who denies the existence of a God with very little respect or patience. We believe him to
          be wilfully blind, for we see God’s name so legible upon the very surface of creation, that we cannot have patience
          with him if he dares to deny the existence of a Creator. And in the matter of salvation: we have each of us seen in
          our own salvation such positive marks of the Lord’s dealings with us, that we are apt to be somewhat censorious
          and harsh towards any who propound a doctrine which would teach salvation apart from God. And I think we
          shall be very apt this morning to think hardly of the man, who, having seen and heard of such a providence as that
          which I have just related, could fail to see God’s hand. It seems to me that the hand of God in providence is as
          clear as in creation; and whilst I am sure that if saved at all I must be saved by God, I feel equally certain that
          every matter which concerns all of us in daily life, bears upon itself the evident trace of being the handiwork of
          Jehovah, our God. We must, if we would be true believers in God, and would avoid all atheism, give unto him the
          kingship in the three kingdoms of creation, grace, and providence. It is in the last, however, that I think we are the
          most apt to forget him; we may easily see God in creation if we be at all enlightened, and if saved, we cannot
          avoid confessing that salvation is of the Lord alone. The very way in which we are saved, and the effect of grace
          in our hearts, always compels us to feel that God is just. But providence is such a chequered thing, and you and I
          are so prone to misjudge God and to come to rash conclusions concerning his dealings with us, that perhaps this is
          the greatest stronghold of our natural Atheism a doubt of God’s dealings with us in the arrangements of outward
          affairs. This morning I shall not be able to go deeply into the subject, but very heartily can I enter into it, after
          being so great a partaker of his wonder-working power.
              From the text I shall draw one or two points. First of all, the text says, “the very hairs of our head are all
          numbered.” From this I shall infer the minuteness of providence. Again, inasmuch as it is said of believers that the
          hairs of their head are all numbered, I shall infer the kind consideration, the generous care, which God exercises
          over Christians. And then, from the text, and from our Saviour’s reason for uttering these words, I shall draw a
          practical conclusion of what should be the spirit and temper of the men who believe this truth that the very
          hairs of their head are all numbered.
              I. First, then, our text very clearly teaches us THE MINUTENESS OF PROVIDENCE. Every man can see
          providence in great things; it is very seldom that you find any person denying that when an avalanche falls from
          the summit of the Alps, the hand, the terrible hand of God is there. There are very few men who do not feel that
          God is present in the whirlwind, and in the storm. Most men will acknowledge that the earthquake, the hurricane,
          the devastation of war, and the ravages of pestilence, come from the hand of God. We find most men very willing
          to confess that God is God of the hills, but they forget that he is also Lord of the valleys. They will grant that he
          deals with great masses, but not with individuals; with seas in the bulk, but not with drops. Most men forget,
          however, that the fact which they believe of providence being in great things involves a providence in the little, for
          it were an inconsistent belief that the mass were in God’s hand, whilst the atom was left to chance; it is indeed a
          belief that contradicts itself; we must believe all chance or else all God. We must have all ordained and arranged,
          or else we must have everything left to the wild whirlwind of chance and accident. But I believe that it is in little
          things that we fail to see God; therefore, it is to the little things that I call your attention this morning.
              I believe my text means literally what it says. “The very hairs of your head are all numbered.” God’s wisdom
          and knowledge are so great, that he even knows the number of the hairs upon our head. His providence descends
          to the minute particles of dust in the summer gale; he numbers the gnats in the sunshine, and the fishes in the sea.
          While it certainly doth control the massive orbs that shine in heaven, it doth not blush to deal with the drop that
          trickleth from the eye.
              Now, I shall want you to notice, how little circumstances of daily life, when we come to put them all together,
          evidently betray their origin. I will take a Scripture history, and show how the little events must have been of God,
          as well as the great results. When Joseph was sent into Egypt by his brethren, in order to provide for them against
          a day of famine, we all agree with Joseph’s declaration, “It was God that sent me hither.” But now, if we notice
          each of the little ways through which this great result was brought to pass, we shall see God in each of them. One
          day, Joseph’s brethren are gone out with the sheep; Jacob wants to send to them. Why does he send Joseph? He
          was his darling son; he loved him better than all his brethren. Why does he send him away? He sends him,
          however. Then why should it have happened at that particular time, that Jacob should want to send at all?
          However, he did want to send, and he did send Joseph. A mere accident you will say, but quite necessary as the
          basement of the structure. Joseph goes; his brethren are in want of pasture, and therefore leave Shechem, where
          Joseph expected to find them, and journey on to Dothan. Why go to Dothan? Was not the whole land before
          them? However Joseph goes there; he arrives at Dothan just when they are thinking of him and his dreams, and
          they put him into a pit. As they are about to eat bread, some Ishmaelites came by. Why did they come there at all?
          Why did they come at that particular time? Why were they going to Egypt? Why might they not have been going
          any other way? Why was it that the Ishmaelites wanted to buy slaves? Why might they not have been trading in
          some other commodity? However, Joseph is sold; but he is not disposed of on the road to Egypt, he is taken to the
          land. Why is it that Potiphar is to buy him? Why is it that Potiphar has a wife, at all? Why is it again that
          Potiphar’s wife should be so full of lust? Why should Joseph get into prison? How is it that the baker and the
          butler should offend their master? All chance, as the world has it, but every link necessary to make the chain.
          They do both offend their master; they are both put into prison. How is it that they both dream? How is it that
          Joseph interprets the dreams? How is it that the butler forgets him? Why, just because if he had recollected him, it
          would have spoiled it all. Why is it Pharaoh dreams? How can dreams be under the arrangement of God’s
          providence? However, Pharaoh does dream; the butler then thinks of Joseph; Joseph is brought out of prison and
          taken before Pharaoh. But take away any of those simple circumstances, break any one of the links of the chain,
          and the whole of the design is scattered to the winds. You cannot get the machine to work; if any of the minute
          cogs of the wheels are taken away, everything is disarranged. I think it seems very clear to any man who will
          dissect not only that, but any other history he likes to fix upon, that there must be a God in the little accidents and
          dealings of daily life, as well as in the great results that tell upon the page of history, and are recounted in our
          songs. God is to be seen in little things.
              We will now notice, in the minutiae of providence, how punctual providence always is. You will never
          wonder more at providence, than when you consider how well God keeps time with himself. To return to our
          history how is it that the Ishmaelites should come by just at that time? How many thousand chances there were
          that their journey might have been taken just before! There certainly was no special train to call at that station at
          that particular time, so that Joseph’s brethren might arrange to go and call him. No such thing. And yet if there had
          been all this arrangement, it could not have happened better. You know Reuben intended to fetch Joseph out of
          the pit half an hour later, and “the child was not.” God had these Ishmaelites ready: you do not know how he may
          have sped them on their journey, or delayed them, so as to bring them on the spot punctually at the identical
          moment.
              To give another instance, there was a poor woman whose son had been raised from the dead by Elisha; she,
          however, had left her country at the time of famine, and had lost her estate. She wanted to get it back; God
          determined that she should have it. How was it to be done? The king sends for Gehazi, the servant of Elisha, and
          he talks to him: he tells him one instance about a woman who had had a child raised from the dead. How strange!
          in comes the woman herself. My lord, this is the woman; she comes to obtain her suit. Her desire is granted, just
          because at the very moment the king’s mind is interested concerning her. All chance, was it not? Nothing but
          chance? So fools say; but those who read Bibles, and those who have judgment, say there is something more than
          chance in such a coalition of circumstances. It could not be a mere coincidence, as men sometimes say; there must
          be God here, for it is harder to think that there is not God than that there is. And whilst a belief in God may be
          said by some to involve a great stretch of faith, the putting him out of such things as this, would involve an
          infinitely greater amount of credulity. No, there was God there.
              There is another instance that I remember in the New Testament history. Paul goes into the temple, and the
          Jews rush upon him in a moment to kill him. They drag him out of the temple, and the doors are shut against him.
          They are just in the very act of killing him, and what is to become of poor Paul’s life? Five minutes longer and
          Paul will be dead, when up comes the chief captain and delivers him. How was it that the chief captain knew of it?
          Very probably some young man of the crowd who knew Paul and loved him, ran to tell him. But why was it that
          the chief captain was at home? How was it that the ruler was able to come on a moment’s emergency? How was it
          that he did come at all? It was only just a Hebrew, a man that was good for nothing, being killed. How was it that
          he came, and when he came the streets were full; there was a mob about Jerusalem? How did he come to the right
          street? How did he come at the exact nick of time? Say, “It is all chance!” I laugh at you; it is providence. If there
          be anything in the world that is plain to any man that thinks, it is plain that God

                                                “Overrules all mortal things,
                                                And manages our mean affairs.”

          But mark, that the running of the youth, and his arrival at the precise time, and the coming of the chief governor at
          the precise time, just proved the punctuality of Divine providence; and if God has a design that a thing shall
          happen at twelve, if you have appointed it for eleven, it shall not happen till twelve; and if he means it to be
          delayed till one, it is in vain that you propose any earlier or any later. God’s punctuality in providence is always
          sure, and very often apparent.
              Nor is it only in the minutes of time that we get an idea of the minuteness of providence, but it is in the use of
          little things. A sparrow has turned the fate of an empire. You remember the old story of Mohammed flying from
          his pursuers. He enters a cave, and a sparrow chirps at the entrance, and flies away as the pursuers pass. “Oh,”
          say they, “there is no fear that Mohammed is there, otherwise the bird would have gone a long while ago;” and the
          imposter’s life is saved by a sparrow. We think, perhaps, that God directs the motions of the leviathan, and guides
          him in the sea, when he makes the deep to be hoary. Will we please to recollect, that the guidance of a minnow in
          its tiny pool, is as much in the hand of providence as the motion of the great serpent in the depths. You see the
          birds congregate in the autumn, ready for their flight across the purple sea. They fly hither and thither in strange
          confusion. The believer in providence holds that the wing of every bird has stamped upon it the place where it
          shall fly, and fly with never such vagaries of its own wild will, it cannot diverge so much as the millionth part of an
          inch from its predestinated track. It may whirl about, above, beneath, east, west, north, south wherever it
          pleases; still, it is all according to the providential hand of God. And although we see it not, it may be, that if that
          swallow did not take the precise track which it does take, something a little greater might be affected thereby; and
          again, something a little greater still might be affected, until at last a great thing would be involved in a little.
          Blessed is that man who seeth God in trifles! It is there that it is the hardest to see him; but he who believes that
          God is there, may go from the little providence up to the God of providence. Rest assured, when the fish in the
          sea take their migration, they have a captain and a leader, as well as the stars; for he who marshals the stars in
          their courses, and guides the planets in their march, is the master of the fly, and wings the bat, and guides the
          minnow, and doth not despise the tiniest of his creatures. You say there is predestination in the path of the earth;
          you believe that in the shining of the sun there is the ordinance of God; there is as much his ordinance in the
          creeping of an insect or in the glimmering of a glow-worm in the darkness. In nothing is there chance, but in
          everything there is a God. All things live and move in him, and have their being; nor could they live or move
          otherwise; for God hath so ordained them.
              I hear one say, “Well, sir, you seem to be a fatalist!” No, far from it. There is just this difference between fate
          and providence. Fate is blind; providence has eyes. Fate is blind, a thing that must be; it is just an arrow shot from
          a bow, that must fly onward, but hath no target. Not so, providence; providence is full of eyes. There is a design
          in everything, and an end to be answered; all things are working together, and working together for good. They are
          not done because they must be done, but they are done because there is some reason for it. It is not only that the
          thing is, because it must be; but the thing is, because it is right it should be. God hath not arbitrarily marked out the
          world’s history; he had an eye to the great architecture of perfection, when he marked all the aisles of history, and
          placed all the pillars of events in the building of time.
              There is another thing that we have to recollect also, which will strike us perhaps more than the smallness of
          things. The minuteness of providence may be seen in the fact, that even the thoughts of men are under God’s
          hand. Now, thoughts are things which generally escape our attention, when we speak of providence. But how
          much may depend upon a thought! Oftentimes a monarch has had a thought which has cost a nation many a
          bloody battle. Sometimes a good man has had a thought, which has been the means of rescuing multitudes from
          hell, and bearing thousands safely to heaven. Beyond a doubt, every imagination, every passing thought, every
          conception, that is only born to die, is under the hand of God. And in turning over the page of history, you will
          often be struck, when you see how great a thing has been brought about by an idle word. Depend upon it, then,
          that the will of man, the thought of man, the desire of man, that every purpose of man, is immediately under the
          hand of God. Take an instance Jesus Christ is to be born at Bethlehem; his mother is living at Nazareth: he will
          be born there to a dead certainty. No, not so. Caesar takes a whim into his head. All the world shall be taxed, and
          he will have all of them go to their own city. What necessity for that? Stupid idea of Caesar’s! If he had had a
          parliament, they would have voted against him. They would have said, “Why make all the people go to their own
          peculiar city to the census? Take the census where they live; that will be abundantly sufficient.” “No,” says he, “it
          is my will, and Caesar cannot be opposed.” Some think Caesar mad. God knows what he means to do with
          Caesar. Mary, great with child, must take a laborious journey to Bethlehem; and there is her child born in a
          manger. We should not have had the prophecy fulfilled, that Christ should be born at Bethlehem, and our very
          faith in the Messiah might have been shaken, if it had not been for that whim of Caesar’s. So that even the will of
          man; the tyranny, the despotism of the tyrant, is in the hand of God, and he turneth it whithersoever he pleaseth,
          to work his own will.
              Gathering up all our heads into one short statement, it is our firm belief that he who wings an angel guides a
          sparrow. We believe that he who supports the dignity of his throne amidst the splendors of heaven maintains it
          also in the depths of the dark sea. We believe that there is nothing above, beneath, around, which is not according
          to the determination of his own counsel and will; and while we are not fatalists, we do most truly and sternly hold
          the doctrine, that God hath decreed all things whatsoever that come to pass, and that he overruleth all things for
          his own glory and good; so that with Martin Luther, we can say,

                                                  “He everywhere hath sway,
                                                And all things serve his might;
                                                His every act pure blessing is,
                                                  His path unsullied light.”

              II. The second point is, THE KIND CONSIDERATION OF GOD, IN TAKING CARE OF HIS PEOPLE.
          In reading the text, I thought, “There is better care taken of me than I can take care of myself.” You all take care
          of yourselves to some extent, but which of you ever took so much care of himself as to count the hairs of his
          head? But God will not only protect our limbs, but even the excrescence of hair is to be seen after. And how much
          this excels all the care of our tenderest friends! Look at the mother, how careful she is. If her child has a little
          cough, she notices it: the slightest weakness is sure to be observed. She has watched all its motions anxiously, to
          see whether it walked right, whether all its limbs were sound, and whether it had the use of all its powers in
          perfection; but she has never thought of numbering the hairs of her child’s head, and the absence of one or two of
          them would give her no great concern. But our God is more careful of us, even than a mother with her child so
          careful that he numbers the hairs of our head. How safe are we, then, beneath the hand of God!
              However, leaving the figure, let us again notice the kind, guardian care, which God exerts over his people in
          the way of providence. I have often been struck with the providence of God, in keeping his people alive before
          they were converted. How many are there here who would have been in hell at this hour, if some special
          providence had not kept them alive till the time of their conversion! I remember mentioning this in company, and
          almost every person in the room had some half-miracle to tell, concerning his own deliverance before conversion.
          One gentleman, I remember, was a sporting man, who afterwards became an eminent Christian. He told me, that a
          little time before his conversion he was shooting, and his gun burst in four pieces, which stood upright in the earth
          as near as possible in the exact form of a square, having been driven nearly a foot into the ground, while he stood
          there unharmed and quite safe, having scarcely felt the shock. I was noticing in Hervey’s works, one day, a very
          pretty thought on this subject. He says, “Two persons who had been hunting together in the day, slept together the
          following night. One of them was renewing the pursuit in his dream, and, having run the whole circle of the chase,
          came at last to the fall of the stag; upon this he cries out with a determined ardor, I’ll kill him, I’ll kill him; and
          immediately feels for the knife which he carried in his pocket. His companion happening to awake, and observing
          what passed, leaped from the bed. Being secure from danger, and the moon shining in the room, he stood to view
          the event, when, to his inexpressible surprise, the infatuated sportsman gave several deadly stabs in the very place
          where a moment before the throat and the life of his friend lay. This I mention, as a proof, that nothing hinders
          us, even from being assassins of others, or murderers of ourselves, amidst the mad sallies of sleep, only the
          preventing care of our Heavenly Father.”
              How wonderful the providence of God with regard to Christian people, in keeping them out of temptation. I
          have often noticed this fact, and I believe you are able to confirm it, that there are times when if a temptation
          should come you would be overtaken by it; but the temptation does not come. And at other times, when the
          temptation comes, you have supernatural strength to resist it. Yes! the best Christian in the world will tell you, that
          such is still the strength of his lust, that there are moments when if the object were presented to him, he would
          certainly fall into the commission of a foul sin; but then the object is not there, or there is no opportunity of
          committing the sin. At another time, when we are called to go through a burning fiery furnace of temptation, we
          have no desire towards the peculiar sin, in fact we feel an aversion to it, or are even incapable of it. Strange it is,
          but many a man’s character has been saved by providence. The best man that ever lived, little knows how much
          he owes for preservation to the providence as well as to the grace of God.
              How marvellously too has providence arranged all our places. I cannot but recur to my own personal history,
          for, after all, we are obliged to speak more of what we know of ourselves as matters of fact than of others. I shall
          always regard the fact of my being here to-day as a remarkable instance of providence. I should not have occupied
          this hall probably, and been blessed of God in preaching to multitudes if it had not been for what I considered an
          untoward accident. I should have been at this time studying in College, instead of preaching here, but for a singular
          circumstance which happened. I had agreed to go to College: the tutor had come to see me, and I went to see him
          at the house of a mutual friend; I was shown by the servant into one drawing-room in the house, he was shown
          into another. He sat and waited for me for two hours; I sat and waited for him two hours. He could wait no
          longer, and went away thinking I had not treated him well; I went away and thought that he had not treated me
          well. As I went away this text came into my mind, “Seekest thou great things for thyself? Seek them not.” So I
          wrote to say that I must positively decline, I was happy enough amongst my own country people, and got on very
          well in preaching, and I did not care to go to College. I have now had four years of labor. But, speaking after the
          manner of men, those who have been saved during that time would not have been saved, by my instrumentality at
          any rate, if it had not been for the remarkable providence turning the whole tenour of my thoughts, and putting
          things into a new track. You have often had strange accidents like that. When you have resolved to do a thing, you
          could not do it any how; it was quite impossible. God turned you another way, and proved that providence is
          indeed the master of all human events.
              And how good, too, has God been in providence to some of you, in providing your daily bread. It is
          remarkable how a little poverty makes a person believe in providence, especially if he is helped through it. If a
          person has to live from hand to mouth, when day by day the manna falls, he begins to think there is a providence
          then. The gentleman who sows his broad acres, reaps his wheat and puts it into his barn, or takes his regular
          income, gets on so nicely that he can do without providence; he does not care a bit about it. The rents of his
          houses all come in, and his money in the Three per Cents is quite safe what does he want with providence? But
          the poor man who has to work at day labor, and sometimes runs very short, and just then happens to meet with
          somebody who gives him precisely what he wants, he exclaims, “Well, I know there is a providence I cannot
          help believing it; these things could not have come by chance.”
              III. And now, in conclusion, brethren and sisters, if these things be so, if the hairs of our head are all
          numbered, and if providence provides for his people all things necessary for this life, and godliness, and arranges
          everything with infinite and unerring wisdom, what manner of persons ought we to be?
              In the first place, we ought to be a bold race of people. What have we to fear? Another man looks up, and if
          he sees a lightning-flash, he trembles at its mysterious power. We believe it has its predestined path. We may stand
          and contemplate it; although we would not presumptuously expose ourselves to it, yet can we confide in our God
          in the midst of the storm. We are out at sea, the waves are dashing against the ship, she reels to and fro; other
          men shake, because they think this is all chance; we, however, see an order in the waves, and hear a music in the
          winds. It is for us to be peaceful and calm. To other men the tempest is a fearful thing; we believe that the tempest
          is in the hand of God. Why should we shake? Why should we quiver? In all convulsions of the world, in all
          temporal distress and danger, it is for us to stand calm and collected, looking boldly on. Our confidence should be
          very much the same, in comparison with the man who is not a believer in providence, as the confidence of some
          learned surgeon, who, when he is going through an operation, sees something very marvellous, but yet never
          shudders at it, while the ignorant peasant, who has never seen any thing so wonderful, is alarmed and fearful, and
          even thinks that evil spirits are at work. We are to say let others say what they please “I know God is here, and
          I am his child, and this is all working for my good; therefore will not I fear, though the earth be removed, and
          though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea.”
              Especially may I address this remark to timid people. There are some of you who are frightened at every little
          thing. Oh! if you could but believe that God manages all, why, you would not be screaming because your husband
          is not home when there is a little thunder and lightning, or because there is a mouse in the parlour, or because
          there is a great tree blown down in the garden. There is no necessity you should believe that your brother-in-law,
          who has gone to Australia was wrecked, because there was a storm when he was at sea. There is no need for you
          to imagine, that your son in the army was necessarily killed, because he happened to be before Lucknow; or, if
          you think the thing necessary, still, as a believer in God’s providence, you should just stand and say that God has
          done it, and it is yours to resign all things into his hands.
              I may say to those of you also who have been bereaved if you believe in providence you may grieve; but
          your grief must not be excessive. I remember at a funeral of a friend hearing a pretty parable which I have told
          before, and will tell again. There was much weeping on account of the loss of a loved one, and the minister put it
          thus. He said, “Suppose you are a gardener employed by another; it is not your garden, but you are called upon to
          tend it, and you have your wages paid you. You have taken great care with a certain number of roses; you have
          trained them up, and there they are, blooming in their beauty. You pride yourself upon them. You come one
          morning into the garden, and you find that the best rose has been taken away. You are angry: you go to your
          fellow-servants, and charge them with having taken the rose. They will declare that they had nothing at all to do
          with it; and one says, “I saw the master walking here this morning; I think he took it.” Is the gardener angry then?
          No, at once he says, “I am happy that my rose should have been so fair as to attract the attention of the master. It
          is his own: he hath taken it; let him do what seemeth him good.”
              It is even so with your friends. They wither not by chance; the grave is not filled by accident; men die
          according to God’s will. Your child is gone, but the Master took it; your husband is gone, your wife is buried, the
          Master took them; thank him that he let you have the pleasure of caring for them and tending them while they
          were here, and thank him that as he gave, he himself has taken away. If others had done it, you would have had
          cause to be angry; but the Lord has done it. Can you, then, murmur? Will you not say

                                                “Thee at all times will I bless;
                                                  Having thee I all possess;
                                                  How can I bereaved be,
                                                Since I cannot part with thee.”

          And pardon me when I say, finally, that I think this doctrine, if fully believed, ought to keep us always in an
          equable frame of mind. One of the things we most want is, to have our equilibrium always kept up. Sometimes we
          are elated. If I ever find myself elated I know what is coming. I know that I shall be depressed in a very few
          hours. If the balance goes too much up, it is sure to come down again. The happiest state of mind is to be always
          on the equilibrium. If good things come, thank God for them; but do not set your heart upon them. If good things
          go, thank God that he has taken them himself, and still bless his name. Bear all. He who feels that everything
          cometh to pass according to God’s will, hath a great main-stay to his soul. He need not be shaken to and fro by
          every wind that bloweth; for he is fast bound, so that he need not move. This is an anchor cast into the sea. While
          the other ships are drifting far away, he can ride calmly through.
              Strive, dear friends, to believe this, and maintain as the consequence of it, that continual calm and peace
          which renders life so happy. Do not get fearing ills that may come to-morrow; either they will not come, or else
          they will bring good with them. If you have evils to-day, do not multiply them by fearing those of to-morrow.
          “Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” Oh, I would to God, that some of you who are full of carking care and
          anxiety, could be delivered from it by a belief in providence; and when you once get into that quiet frame, which
          this doctrine engenders, you will be prepared for those higher exercises of communion and fellowship with Christ,
          to which distracting care is ever a fearful detriment, if not an entire preventive.
              But as for you who fear not God, remember, the stones of the field are in league against you; the heavens cry
          to the earth and the earth answereth to the heavens, for vengeance upon you on account of your sins. For you
          there is nothing good, everything is in rebellion against you. Oh that God might bring you into peace with him, and
          then you would be at rest with all beside. “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these
          things shall be added to you.” The Lord bless you in this, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

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