The Fountain of Life
The Fountain of Life opened up: or, a display
of Christ in his essential and mediatorial glory
by John Flavel
The Kingly Office of Christ, as it is providentially
executed in the World, for the Redeemed
"And has put all things under his feet, and gave him to
be the head, over all things to the church." Eph. 1:22
The foregoing verses are spent in a thankful and humble
adoration of the grace of God, in bringing the Ephesians to believe in
Christ. This effect of that power that raised their hearts to believe in
Christ, is here compared with that other glorious effect of it, even the
raising of Christ himself from the dead: both these owe themselves to the
same efficient cause. It raised Christ from a low estate, even from the
dead, to a high, a very high and glorious state; to be the head both of the
world, and of the church; the head of the world by way of dominion, the head
of the church by way of union, and special influence, ruling the world for
the good of his people in it. "He gave him is be the head over all things to
In this scripture let these four things be seriously
1. The dignity and authority committed to Christ; "He has
put all things under his feet;" which implies, full, ample and absolute
dominion in him, and subjection in them over whom he reigns. This power is
delegated to him by the Father: for besides the essential, native power and
dominion over all, which he has as God, and is common to every person in the
Godhead, Psalm. 22:28. there is a mediatory dispensed authority, which is
proper to him as Mediator, which he receives as the reward or fruit of his
suffering, Phil. 2:8.
2. The subject recipient of this authority, which is
Christ, and Christ primarily, and only: he is the first receptacle of all
authority and power. Whatever authority any creature is clothed with, is but
ministerial and derivative, whether it be political, or ecclesiastical.
Christ is the only Lord, Jude, ver. 4. The fountain of all power.
3. The object of this authority, the whole creation; all
things are put under his feet: he rules from sea to sea, even to the utmost
bounds of God's creation, "You have given him power over all flesh," John
17:2. all creatures, rational, and irrational animate, and inanimate,
angels, devils, men, winds, seas, all obey him.
4. And especially, take notice of the finis cui, the end
for which he governs and rules the universal empire; it is for the church,
That is, for the advantage, comfort, and salvation of that chosen remnant he
died for. He purchased the church; and that he might have the highest
security that his blood should not be lost, God the Father has put all
things into his hand, to order and dispose all as he pleases. For the
furtherance of that his design and end, as he bought the persons of some, so
the services of all the rest; and that they might effectually serve the end
they are designed to, Christ will order them all in a blessed subordination
and subserviency thereunto. Hence the point is,
DOCTRINE. That all the affairs of the kingdom of
providence are ordered and determined by Jesus Christ, for the special
advantage, and everlasting good of his redeemed people.
John 17:2. "As you have given him power over all flesh,
that he should give eternal life to as many as you have given him." Hence it
comes to pass, that "all things work together for good to them that love
God, to them that are called according to his purpose," Rom. 8:28.
That Jesus Christ has a providential influence upon all
the affairs of this world is evident, both from scripture assertions, and
rational observations, made upon the acting of things here below
The first chapter of Ezekiel contains an admirable scheme
or draught of providence. There you see how all the wheels, That is, the
motions and revolutions here on earth, are guided by the spirit that is in
them. And, ver. 26. it is all run up into the supreme cause; there you find
one like the Son of man, which is Jesus Christ, sitting upon the throne, and
giving forth orders from thence for the government of all: and if it were
not so, how is it that there are such strong combinations, and
predispositions of persons and things to such ends and issues, without any
communications of councils, or holding of intelligence with one another? As
in Israel's deliverance out of Egypt, and innumerable more instances have
appeared. Certainly, if ten men, from several places, should all meet at one
place, and about one business, without any fore-appointment among
themselves, it would argue their motions were secretly over-ruled by some
invisible agent. How is it that such marvelous effects are produced in the
world by causes that carry no proportion to them? Amos 5:9 and 1 Cor. 1:27
and as often, the most apt and likely means are rendered wholly ineffectual?
Psalm. 33:16. In a word, if Christ has no such providential influx, how are
his people in all ages preserved in the midst of so many millions of potent
and malicious enemies, among whom they live as sheep in the midst of wolves?
Luke 10:3. How is it that the bush burns, and yet is not consumed Exod. 3:2.
But my business, in this discourse, is not to prove that
there is a Providence, which none but Atheists deny. I shall chose rather to
show by what acts Jesus Christ administers this kingdom, and in what manner;
and what use may be made thereof.
First, He rules and orders the kingdom of Providence, by
supporting, permitting, restraining, limiting, protecting, punishing, and
rewarding those over whom he reigns providentially.
1. He supports the world, and all creatures in it, by his
power. "My Father works hitherto, and I work," John 5:17. "And in him (that
is, in Christ) all things consist," Col. 1:17. It is a considerable part of
Christ's glory to have a whole world of creatures owing their being and
hourly conservation to him. The parts of the world are not coupled and
fastened together as the parts of the house, whose beams are pinned and
nailed to each other; but rather as several rings of iron, which hang
together by the virtue of a loadstone. This goodly fabric was razed to the
foundation when sin entered, and had tumbled into everlasting confusion, had
not Christ stept in to shore up the reeling world. For the sake of his
redeemed that inhabits it, he does and will prop it by his omnipotent power.
And when he has gathered all his elect out of it into the kingdom above,
then will he set fire to the four quarters of it, and it shall lie in ashes.
Meanwhile, he is "given for a covenant to the people, to establish the
earth," Isa. 49:8.
2. He permits and suffers the worst of creatures in his
dominion, to be and act as they do. "The deceived, and the deceiver, are
his," Job 12:16. Even those that fight against Christ and his people,
receive both power and permission from him. Say not, that it is unbecoming
the most Holy to permit such evils, which he could prevent if he pleased.
For as he permits no more than he will overrule to his praise, so that very
permission of his, is holy and just. Christ's working is not confounded with
the creature's. Pure sun beams are not tainted by the noisome vapors of the
dung hill on which they shine. His holiness has no fellowship with their
iniquities; nor are their transgressions at all excused by his permissions
of them. "He is a rock, his work is perfect, but they have corrupted
themselves," Deut. 32:4, 5. This holy permission is but the withholding of
those restraints from their lusts, and denying those common assistances
which he is no way bound to give them. Acts 14:16. "He suffered all nations
to walk in their own ways." And yet should he permit sinful creatures to act
out all the wickedness that is in their hearts, there would neither remain
peace nor order in the world. And therefore,
3. He powerfully restrains creatures by the bridle of
providence, from the commission of those things, to which their hearts are
propense enough, Psalm. 76:10. "The remainder of wrath you will restrain,"
or gird up; letting forth just so much as shall serve his holy ends, and no
more. And truly this is one of the glorious mysteries of Providence, which
amazes the serious and considerate soul; to see the spirit of a creature
fully set to do mischief; power enough, as one would think, in his hand to
do it, and a door of opportunity standing open for it; and yet the effect
strangely hindered. The strong propensions of the will are inwardly checked,
as in the case of Laban, Gen. 31:24. or a diversion, and rub is strangely
cast in their way; as in the case of Sennacherib, 2 Kings 19:7, 8. so that
their hands cannot perform their enterprises. Julia had two great designs
before him, one was to conquer the Persian, the other to root out the
Galileans, as he, by way of contempt, called the Christians: but he will
begin with the Persian first, and then make a sacrifice of all the
Christians to his idols. He does so, and perishes in the first attempt. O
the wisdom of Providence!
4. Jesus Christ limits the creatures in their acting,
assigning them their boundaries and lines of liberty; to which they may, but
beyond it cannot, go. Rev. 2:10. "Fear none at these things that you shall
suffer; behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, and you shall
have tribulation ten days." They would have cast them into their graves, but
it shall only be into prisons: They would have stretched out their hands,
upon them all; no, but only some of them shall be exposed: They would have
kept them there perpetually; no, it must be but for ten days, Ezek. 22:6.
"Behold, the princes of Israel were in you, everyone to their power to shed
blood." They went as far as they had power to go, not as far as they had
will to go. Four hundred and thirty years were determined upon the people of
God in Egypt; and then, even in that very night, God brought them forth; for
then "the time of the promise was come," Acts 7:17.
5. The Lord Jesus providentially protects his people
amidst a world of enemies and dangers. It was Christ that appeared unto
Moses in the flaming bush, and preserved it from being consumed. The bush
signified the people of God in Egypt; the fire flaming on it, the exquisite
sufferings they there endured: the safety of the bush, amidst the flames,
the Lord's admirable care and protection of his poor suffering ones. None so
tenderly careful as Christ. "as birds flying, so he defends Jerusalem," Isa.
31:5; That is, as they fly swiftly towards their nests, crying when their
young are in danger, so will the Lord preserve his. They are "preserved in
Christ Jesus", Jude 1, as Noah and his family were in the ark. Hear how a
Worthy of our own expresses himself on this point.
"That we are at peace in our houses, at rest in our beds;
that we have any quiet in our enjoyments, is from hence alone. Whose person
would not be defiled, or destroyed? whose habitation would not be ruined?
whose blood almost would not be shed, if wicked men had power to perpetrate
all their conceived sin? It may be, the ruin of some of us has been
conceived a thousand times. We are beholden to this Providence, of
obstructing sin, for our lives, our families, our estates, our liberties,
and whatever is or may be dear to us. For may we not say sometimes with the
Psalmist, Psalm. 57:4. My soul is among lions, and I lie even among them
that are set on fire, even the sons of men, whose teeth are spears, and
their tongue a sharp sword? And how is the deliverance of men contrived from
such persons? Psalm. 8:6. God breaks their teeth in their mouths, even the
great teeth at the young lions. He keeps this fire from burning, - some he
cuts off and destroys: some he cuts short in their power: some he deprives
of the instruments whereby alone they can work: some he prevents in their
desired opportunities, or diverts by other objects for their lust; and
oftentimes causeth them to spend them among themselves, one upon another. We
may say, therefore, with the Psalmist, Psalm. 104:24. O Lord, how manifold
are your works! in wisdom have you made then all; the earth is full of your
6. He punishes the evil doers, and repays, by providence
into their own lap, the mischief they do, or but intend to do, unto them
that fear him. Pharaoh, Sennacherib, both the Julians, and innumerable more,
are the lasting monuments of his righteous retribution. It is true, a sinner
may do evil a hundred times, and his days be prolonged; but oft-times God
hangs up some eminent sinners in chains, as spectacles and warnings to
others. Many a heavy blow has Providence given to the enemies of God, which
they were never able to recover. Christ rules, and that with a rod of iron,
in the midst of his enemies, Psalm. 110:2.
7. And lastly, He rewards by Providence the services done
to him and his people. Out of this treasure of Providence God repays
oftentimes those that serve him, and that with a hundredfold reward now in
this life, Matth. 19:29. This active, vigilant Providence has its eye upon
all the wants, straits, and troubles of the creatures: but especially upon
such as religion brings us unto. What huge volumes of experiences might the
people of God write upon this subject? and what a pleasant history would it
be, to read the strange, constant, wonderful, and unexpected acting of
Providence, for them that have left themselves to its care?
Secondly, We shall next enquire how Jesus Christ
administers this providential kingdom.
And here I must take notice of the means by which, and
the manner in which he does it. The means, or instruments, he uses in the
governing the providential kingdom, (for he is not personally present with
its himself), are either angels or men, "the angels are ministering
creatures, sent forth by him for the good of them that shall be heirs of
salvation," Heb. 1:14. Luther tells us, they have two offices, superius
canere, et inferius vigilare, "to sing above and watch beneath." These do us
many invisible offices of love. They have dear and tender respects and love
for the saints. To them, God, as it were, puts forth his children to nurse,
and they are tenderly careful of them while they live, and bring them home
in their arms to their Father when they die. And as angels, so men are the
servants of Providence; yes, bad men as well as good. Cyrus, on that
account, is called God's servant: they fulfill his will, while they are
prosecuting their own lusts. "The earth shall help the woman," Rev. 12:16.
But good men delight to serve Providence; they and the angels are fellow
servants in one house, and to one master, Rev. 19:10. Yes, there is not a
creature in heaven, earth, or hell, but Jesus Christ can providentially use
it and serve his ends, and promote his designs by it. But whatever the
instrument be Christ uses, of this we may be certain, that his providential
working is holy, judicious, sovereign, profound, irresistible, harmonious,
and to the saints peculiar.
1. It is holy. Though he permits, limits, orders and
overrules many unholy persons and actions, yet he still works like himself,
most holily and purely throughout. "The Lord is righteous in all his ways,
and holy in all his works, Psalm. 145:17. it is easier to separate light
from a sunbeam, than holiness from the works of God. The best of men cannot
escape sin in their most holy actions; they cannot touch, but are defiled.
But no sin cleaves to God, whatever he has to do about it.
2. Christ's providential working is not only most pure
and ho]y, but also most wise and judicious. Ezek. 1:20. "The wheels are full
of eyes:" They are not moved by a blind impetus, but in deep counsel and
wisdom. And, indeed, the wisdom of Providence manifests itself principally
in the choice of such states for the people of God, as shall most
effectually promote their eternal happiness. And herein it goes quite beyond
our understandings and comprehensions. It makes that medicinal and
salutiferous, which we judge as destructive to our comfort and good, as
poison. I remember, it is a note of Suarez, speaking of the felicity of the
other world: "Then (says he) the blessed shall see in God all things and
circumstances pertaining to them, excellently accommodated and attempered;"
then shall they see that the crossing of their desires was the saving of
their souls; and that otherwise they had perished. The most wise Providence
looks beyond us. It eyes the end, and suits all things thereto, and not to
our fond desires.
3. The providence of Christ is most supreme and
sovereign. "Whatever he pleases, that he does in heaven and in earth, and in
all places," Psalm. 135:6. "He is Lord of lords, and King of kings," Rev.
19:16. The greatest monarchs on earth are but as little bits of clay, as the
worms of the earth to him: they all depend on him, Prov. 8:15, 16. "By me
kings reign, and princes decree justice; by me princes rule, nobles, even
all the judges of the earth."
4. Providence is profound and inscrutable. The judgements
of Christ are "a great deep, and his footsteps are not known," Psalm. 36:6.
There are hard texts in the works as well as in the words of Christ. The
wisest heads have been at a loss in interpreting some Providence, Jer. 12:1,
2. Job 21:7. The angels had the hands of a man under their wings, Ezek. 1:8.
That is, they wrought secretly and mysteriously.
5. Providence is irresistible in its designs and motions;
for all providences are but fulfilling and accomplishments of Gods immutable
decrees. Eph. 1:11. "He works all things according to the counsel of his own
will." Hence Zech. 6:1. the instruments by which God executed his wrath, are
called "chariots coming from between two mountains of brass," that is "the
firm and immutable decrees of God." When the Jews put Christ to death, they
did but do what "the hand and counsel of God had before determined to be
done," Acts 4:28. so that none can oppose or resist providence. "I will
work, and who shall let it?" Isa 43:13.
6. The providence of Christ are harmonious. There are
secret chains, and invisible connections between the works of Christ. We
know not how to reconcile promises and providence together, nor yet
providence one with another; but certainly they all work together, Rom.
8:28. as adjutant causes, or con-causes standing under, and working by the
influence of the first cause. He does not do, and undo; destroy by one
providence, what he built by another. But, look, as also seasons of the
year, the nipping frosts, as well as the halcyon days of summer, do all
conspire and conduce to the harvest; so it is in providence.
7. And lastly, The providence of Christ work in a special
and peculiar way for the good of the saints. His providential is
subordinated to his spiritual kingdom. "He is the Savior of all men,
especially of them that believe," 1 Tim. 4:1. These only have the blessings
of providence. Things are so laid and ordered, as that their eternal good
shall be promoted and secured by all that Christ does.
INFERENCE 1. If so, See then, in the first place, to whom
you are beholden for your lives, liberties, comforts, and all that you enjoy
in this world. Is it not Christ that orders all for you? He is, indeed in
heaven, out of your sight; but though you see him not, he sees you, and
takes care of all your concerns. When one told Silentiarius of a plot laid
to take away his life, he answered, Si Deus mei curam non habet, quid vivo?
"If God take no care of me, how do I live?" how have I escaped hitherto? "In
all your ways acknowledge him," Prov. 3:6. It is he that has espied out that
state you are in, as most proper for you. It is Christ that does all for you
that is done. He looks down from heaven upon all that fear him; he sees when
you are in danger by temptation, and casts in a providence, you know not
how, to hinder it. He sees when you are sad, and orders reviving providence,
to refresh you. He sees when corruptions prevail, and orders humbling
providence to purge them. Whatever mercies you have received, all along the
way you have gone hitherto, are the orderings of Christ for you. And you
should carefully observe how the promises and providence have kept equal
pace with one another, and both gone by step with you until now.
INFERENCE. 2. Has God left the government of the whole
world in the hands of Christ, and trusted him over all? Then do you also
leave your particular concerns in the hands of Christ too, and know that the
infinite wisdom and love, which rules the world, manages everything that
relates to you. It is in a good hand, and infinitely better than if it were
in your own. I remember when Melanchton was under some despondencies of
spirit about the estate of God's people in Germany, Luther chides him thus
for it, "Let Philip cease to rule the world." It is none of our work to
steer the course of providence, or direct its motions, but to submit quietly
to him that does. There is an itch in men, yes, in the best of men, to be
disputing with God: "Let me talk with you of your judgement," says Jeremiah,
chapter 12:1, 2. Yes, how apt are we to regret at providence, as if they had
no conducency at all to the glory of God, or to our good, Exod. 5:22. yes,
to limit providence to our way and time? Thus, the "Israelites tempted God,
and limited the holy One," Psalm. 78:18, 41. How often also do we,
unbelievingly, distrust providence as though it could never accomplish what
we profess to expect and believe? Ezek. 37:11. "Our bones are dry, our hope
is lost; we are cut off for our part." So Gen. 18:13, 14. Isa. 40:17. There
are but few Abrahams, among believers, who "against hope, believed in hope,
giving glory to God," Rom. 4:20. And it is but too common for good men to
repine and fret at providence, when their wills, lusts, or humours are
crossed by it: this was the great sin of Jonah. Brethren, these things ought
not to be so; did you but seriously consider, either the design of
providence, which is to bring about the gracious designs and purposes of God
upon you, which were laid before this world was, Eph. 1:11. or that it is a
lifting up of your wisdom against his, as if you could better order your
affairs, if you had but the conduct and management of them; or that you have
to do herein faith a great and dreadful God, in whose hands you are as the
clay in the potter's hands, that he may do what he will with you, and all
that is yours, without giving you an account of any of his matters, Job
33:13. or whether providence has cast others, as good, by nature, as
yourselves, tumbled them down from the top of health, wealthy honors and
pleasures, to the bottom of hell; or, lastly, did you but consider how often
it has formerly baffled and befouled yourselves; you would retract, with
shame, your rash, headlong censures of it, and enforce you, by the sight of
its births and issues, to confess your folly and ignorance, as Asaph did,
Psalm. 73:22. I say, if such considerations as these could but have place
with you in your troubles and temptations, they would quickly mold your
hearts into a better and more quiet frame.
O that I could but persuade you to resign all to Christ.
He is a cunning workman, as he is called, Prov. 8:30. and can effect what he
pleases. It is a good rule, De operibus Dei non est judicandum, ante quintum
actum. "Let God work out all that he intends, but have patience until he has
put the last hand to his works and then find fault with it, if you can." You
have heard of the patience of Job, "and have seen the end of the Lord,"
INFERENCE. 3. If Christ be Lord and king over the
providential kingdom, and that, for the good of his people, let none that
are Christ's henceforth stand in a slavish fear of creatures. It is a good
note that Grotius has upon my text; "It is a marvelous consolation (says he)
that Christ has so great an empire, and that he governs it for the good of
his people, as a head consulting the good of the body." Our head and
husband, is Lord-general of all the hosts of heaven and earth; no creature
can move hand or tongue without his leave or order: the power they have is
given them from above, John 19:11, 12. The serious consideration of this
truth will make the feeblest spirit cease trembling, and set it a singing;
Psalm. 47:7. "The Lord is king of all the earth, sing you praises with
understanding,:" that is, (as some well paraphrase it) everyone that has
understanding of this comfortable truth. Has he not given you abundant
security in many express promises, that all shall issue well for you that
fear him? Rom. 8:28. "All things shall work together for good, to them that
love God," And Eccl. 8:12. verily "it shall be well with them that fear
God,: even with them that fear before him. And suppose he had not, yet the
very understanding of our relation to such a king, should, in itself, be
sufficient security: for, he is the universal, supreme, absolute, meek,
merciful, victorious, and immortal king.
He sits in glory, at the Father's right hand; and, to
make his seat the easier, his enemies are a footstool for him. His love to
his people is unspeakably tender and fervent, he that touches them, "touches
the apple of his eye," Zech. 2. And, it is hardly imaginable, that Jesus
Christ will sit still, and suffer his enemies to thrust out his eyes. Until
this be forgotten, the wrath of man is not feared; Isa. 2:12, 13. "He that
fears a man that shall die, forgets the Lord his Maker." He loves you too
well to sign any order to your prejudice, and without his order, none can
INFERENCE. 4. If the government of the world be in the
hands of Christ, Then our engaging and entitling of Christ to all our
affairs and business, is the true and ready way to their success and
prosperity. If all depend upon his pleasure, then sure it is your wisdom to
take him along with you to every action and business; it is no lost time
that is spent in prayer, wherein we ask his leave, and beg his presence with
us: and, take it for a clear truth, that which is not prefaced with prayer,
will be followed with trouble. How easily can Jesus Christ dash all your
designs, when they are at the very birth and article of execution, and break
off, in a moment, all the purposes of your hearts? It is a proverb among the
Papists, that Mass and meat hinder no man. The Turks will pray five times a
day, how urgent soever their business be. Blush you that enterprise your
affairs without God: I reckon that business as good as done, to which we
have got Christ's leave, and engaged his presence to accompany us.
INFERENCE. 5. Lastly, Eye Christ in all the events of
providence; see his hand in all that befall you, whether it be evil or good.
"The works of the Lord are great, sought out of all them that have pleasure
therein," Psalm. 111:2.
How much good might we get, by observation of the good or
evil that befall us throughout our course!
1. In all the evils of trouble and afflictions that
befall you, eye Jesus Christ: and set your hearts to the study of these four
things in affliction.
(1.) Study his sovereignty and dominion; for he creates
and forms them: they rise not out of the dust, nor do they befall you
casually; but he raises them up, and gives them their commission, Jer.
18:11. "Behold, I create evil, and devise a device against you." He elects
the instrument of your trouble; he makes the rod as afflictive as he
pleases; he orders the continuance and end of your troubles; and they will
not cease to be afflictive to you, until Christ say, Leave off, it is
enough. The Centurion wisely considered this, when he told him, Luke 7:8. "I
have soldiers under me, and I say to one, Go, and he goes; to another, Come,
and he comes:" meaning, that as his soldiers were at his beck and command,
so diseases were at Christ's beck, to come and go as he ordered them.
(2.) Study the wisdom of Christ in the contrivance of
your troubles. And his wisdom shines out many ways in them, it is evident in
chasing such kinds of trouble for you: this, and not that, because this is
more apt to work upon, and purge out the corruption that most predominates
in you: In the degrees of your troubles, suffering them to work to such a
height, else not reach their end; but no higher, lest they overwhelm you.
(3.) Study the tenderness and compassions of Christ over
his afflicted. O think if the devil had but the mixing of my cup, how much
more bitter would he make it! There would not be one drop of mercy, no, not
of sparing mercy in it, which is the lowest of all sorts of mercy: but here
is much mercy mixed with my troubles; there is mercy in this, that it is no
worse. Am I afflicted? "It is of the Lord's mercy I am not consumed," Lam.
3:2. It might have been hell as well as this; there is mercy in his supports
under it. Others have, and I might have been left to sink and perish under
my burdens. Mercy, in deliverance out of it; this might have been
everlasting darkness, that should never have had a morning. O the tenderness
of Christ over his afflicted!
(4.) Study the love of Christ to your soul, in affection.
Did he not love you, he would not sanctify a rod to humble or reduce you,
but let you alone to perish in your sin. Rev. 3:19. "Whom I love, I rebuke
and chasten." This is the device of love, to recover you to your God, and
prevent your ruin. O what an advantage would it be thus to study Christ, in
all your evils that befall you!
2. Eye and study Christ in all the good you receive from
the hand of providence. Turn both sides of your mercies, and view them in
all their lovely circumstances.
Eye them in their suitableness: how conveniently
providence has ordered all things for you. You have a narrow heart, and a
small estate suitable to it: Had you more of the world, it would be like a
large sail to a little boat, which would quickly pull you under water: you
have that which is most suitable to you of all conditions.
(2.) Eye the seasonableness of your mercies, how they are
timed to an hour. Providence brings forth all its fruits in due season.
(3.) Eye the peculiar nature of your mercies. Others have
common, you special ones; others have but a single, you a double sweetness
in your enjoyments, one natural from the matter at it, another spiritual
from the way in which, and end for which it comes.
(4.) Observe the order in which providence sends your
mercies. See how one is linked strangely to another, and is a door to let in
many. Sometimes one mercy is introductive to a thousand.
(5.) And lastly, Observe the constancy of them, "they are
new every morning," Lam. 3:23. How assiduously does God visit your soul and
body! Think with yourself, if there be but a suspension of the care of
Christ for one hour, that hour would be your ruin. Thousands of evils stand
round about you, watching when Christ will but remove his eye from you, that
they may rush in and devour you.
Could we thus study the providence of Christ in all the
good and evil that befall us in the world, then in every state we should be
content, Phil 4:11. Then we should never be stopped, but furthered in our
way by all that falls out; then would our experience swell to great volumes,
which we might carry to heaven with us; and then should we answer all
Christ's ends in every state he brings us into. Do this, and say, Thanks be
to God for Jesus Christ!