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THE CREED ILLUSTRATED
We shall illustrate Calvinism and the Calvinistic point of view by a brief discussion of the twin doctrines of Predestination and Providence.
God is Sovereign. He reigns Supreme Predestinain fact as well as in right. This universe to tion and
Providence. Him is not a surprise, a defeat, a failure, but a development of His eternal purpose. That purpose is Predestination. That development is Providence. The one is the all-wise predetermined plan in the mind of God; the other is the all-powerful execution of that plan in the administration of the universe.
Says an able commentator and divine: “Calvinism, tho' it is often represented
Method of as a mere system of doctrine or of abDivine gov- stract dogmas having no practical bear
ing, is, in fact, a system of government-a method and form in which the Divine power is put forth in the administration of the affairs of the universe. It is based on the idea that God rules; that He has a plan; that the plan is fixed and certain; that it does not depend on the fluctuations of the human will, on the caprice of the human heart, or on the contingencies and uncertainties of undetermined events in human affairs. It supposes that God is supreme; that He has authority; that He has a right to exercise dominion; that for the good of the universe that right should be exercised, and that infinite power is put forth only in
accordance with a plan.” God has a
that God ever acts without a plan.
plan, in a purposeless, random way, is an impossible conception of the Divine character. How does even a wise man act? He first determines upon the end he desires to attain, and then upon the best means of at
taining it. Before the architect begins his edifice, he makes his drawings and forms his plans, even to the minutest details of construction. In the architect's brain the building stands complete in all its parts before a stone is laid. So with the merchant, the lawyer, the farmer, and all rational and intelligent men. Their activity is along the line of previously formed purposes, the fulfilment, so far as their finite capacities will allow, of preconceived plans. Our common sense, therefore, teaches us that in His government of this world which He has made, God is sure to have His own definite purposes in view, and His own definite plans by which He will secure their fulfilment.
It is also evident that these Divine pur- God's plan poses and plans must include not some but
ing. all events, “whatsoever comes to pass ",1 otherwise there would be some things coming to pass which He had not designed or expected or counted on—which is incredi1 Shorter Catechism, Question 7.
ble, and which might defeat the purposes He had formed in reference to other things —which is equally incredible.
The control of the greater must include the control of the less, for not only are great things made up of little things, but history shows how the veriest trifles are continually proving the pivots on which momentous events revolve. sistence of a spider nerved a despairing man to fresh exertions which shaped a nation's future. The God Who predestinated the course of Scottish history must have planned and presided over the movements of the tiny insect that saved Robert Bruce from despair.
God is no absentee Deity, sitting outside the universe and seeing only the events that lift themselves like peaks above the common level. He is"
everywhere present”,2 "upholding, directing, disposing, and governing all creatures, actions, and things, from the greatest even to the