The Philadelphia Confession, 1742
God the good Creator of all things, in
His infinite power and wisdom, doth uphold, direct, dispose, and govern all creatures and
things,1 from the greatest even to the least,2 by His most wise and holy Providence, to the end for which they
were created, according unto His infallible foreknowledge, and the free and immutable
counsel of His own will; to the praise of the glory of His wisdom, power, justice,
infinite goodness, and mercy.3
Although in relation to the
foreknowledge and decree of God, the first cause, all things come to pass immutably and
infallibly;4 so that there is not anything befalls any by
chance, or without His Providence;5 yet by the same Providence
He ordereth them to fall out according to the nature of second causes, either necessarily,
freely, or contingently.6
God, in His ordinary Providence maketh
use of means;7 yet is free to work without,8 above,9 and against them10 at His pleasure.
The Almighty power, unsearchable
wisdom, and infinite goodness of God, so far manifest themselves in His Providence, that
His determinate counsel extendeth itself even to the first fall, and all other sinful
actions both of angels and men;11 (and that not by a bare
permission) which also He most wisely and powerfully boundeth, and otherwise ordereth, and
governeth,12 in a manifold dispensation to His most holy ends;13 yet so, as the sinfulness of their acts proceedeth only from
the creatures, and not from God, who, being most holy and righteous, neither is nor can be
the author or approver of sin.14
The most wise, righteous, and gracious
God doth oftentimes leave for a season His own children to manifold temptations and the
corruptions 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 other just and holy ends,15 so that whatsoever befalls
any of His elect is by His appointment, for His glory and their good.16
As for those wicked and ungodly men,
whom God, as the righteous judge, for former sin doth blind and harden;17 from them He not only withholdeth His grace, whereby they
might have been enlightened in their understanding, and wrought upon in their hearts;18 but sometimes also withdraweth the gifts which they had,19 and exposeth them to such objects as their corruption makes
occasion of sin;20 and withal, gives them over to their own
lusts, and the temptations of the world, and the power of Satan,21
whereby it comes to pass that they harden themselves, even under those means which God
useth for the softening of others.22
As the Providence of God doth in general reach to all creatures, so after a more special manner it taketh care of His Church, and disposeth of all things to the good thereof.23
1. Heb 1:3; Job 38:11; Isa 46:10-11; Ps 135:6.
2. Mt 10:29-31.
3. Eph 1:11.
4. Ac 2:23.
5. Pr 16:33.
6. Ge 8:22.
7. Ac 27:31,44; Isa 55:10-11.
8. Hos 1:7.
9. Ro 4:19-21.
10. Da 3:27.
11. Ro 11:32-34; 2Sa 24:1; 1Ch 21:1.
12. 2Ki 19:28; Ps 76:10.
13. Ge 1:20; Isa 10:6-7,12.
14. Ps 50:21; 1Jn 2:16.
15. 2Ch 32:25-26,31; 2Co 12:7-9.
16. Ro 8:28.
17. Ro 1:24-26,28; 11:7-8.
18. Dt 29:4.
19. Mt 13:12.
20. Dt 2:30; 2Kn 8:12-13.
21. Ps 81:11-12; 2Th 2:10-12.
22. Ex 8:15,32; Isa 6:9-10; 1Pe 2:7-8.
23. 1Ti 4:10; Am 9:8-9; Isa 43:3-5.
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