God the great Creator of all things doth uphold, direct, dispose, and govern all creatures, actions, and
things, from the greatest even to the least, by His most wise and holy providence, according to His
infallible fore-knowledge, and the free and immutable counsel of His own will, to the praise of the glory
of His wisdom, power, justice, goodness, and mercy.
Although, in relation to the fore-knowledge and decree of God, the first Cause, all things come to pass
immutably, and infallibly: yet, by the same providence, He ordereth them to fall out, according to the
nature of second causes, either necessarily, freely, or contingently.
God in His ordinary providence maketh use of means, yet is free to work without, above, and against them
at His pleasure.
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; and
that not by a bare permission, but such as hath joined with it a most wise and powerful bounding, and
otherwise ordering and governing of them, in a manifold dispensation, to His own holy ends; 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.
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; and, to raise them to a more close and constant dependence for their support upon Himself, and
to make them more watchful against all future occasions of sin, and for sundry other just and holy ends.
As for those wicked and ungodly men whom God, as a righteous Judge, for former sins, doth blind and
harden, from them He not only withholdeth His grace, whereby they might have been enlightened in their
understandings, and wrought upon in their hearts; but sometimes also withdraweth the gifts which they had,
and exposeth them to such objects as their corruption makes occasions of sin; and, withal, gives them over
to their own lusts, the temptations of the world, and the power of Satan: whereby it comes to pass that
they harden themselves, even under those means which God useth for the softening of others.
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.