一.上帝是万物的伟大创造者,祂维系(来1:3)、引导、管理、统治一切活物、运动和事物(但4:34-35;诗135:6;徒17:25-26,28;伯38-41),从最大的到最小的(太10:29-31)。这是藉着祂至智至圣的护理(箴15:3;诗104:24;145:17),照着祂无谬的预知(徒15:18;诗94:8-11),并按着祂自己旨意所定的自由、不变的计划(弗1:11;诗33:10,11),好使祂自己的智慧、权能、公义、慈爱和怜悯的荣耀得着称赞(赛63:14;弗3:10;罗9:17;创45:7;诗145:7)。

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 foreknowledge, and the free and immutable counsel of His own will, to the praise of the glory of His wisdom, power, justice, goodness, and mercy.

二.上帝是始因,虽然万事万物都毫无变更、准确无误地照着上帝的预知和预旨而发生(徒2:23),但是祂用同一护理,统管它们,使它们或是必然地,或是自由地,或是有条件地照着诸次因发生(创8:22;耶31:35;出21:13;申19:5;王上22:28,34;赛10:6-7)。

Although in relation to the foreknowledge 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.

三.上帝在祂通常的护理中使用各种工具(徒27:31,44;赛55:10-11;何2:21-22),但祂也可自由而行,随己意不用工具(何1:7;太4:4;伯34:10),超乎工具(罗4:19-21),反乎工具(王下6:6;但3:27)。

God, in His ordinary providence, maketh use of means, yet is free to work without, above, and against them, at His pleasure.

四.上帝在其护理之中,彰显极大的权能、难测的智慧和无穷的恩慈,甚至及于第一次堕落,以及天使和人的其它所有罪恶(罗11: 32-34;撒下24:1;代上21:1;王上22:22,23;代上10:4,13-14;徒2:23,4:27)。这不只是有上帝的许可(徒14:16),也是有上帝极其智慧和极有权能的约束(诗76:10;王下19:28)。祂支配并掌管它们,以多种方式成就祂自己圣洁的目的(创50:20;赛10:6-7,12)。尽管如此,受造物的罪纯粹是从他们自身,而不是从上帝发出的。上帝是至圣至义的,绝不是、也不能是罪恶的创始者或赞同者(雅1:13,14,17;约壹2:16;诗50:21)。

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.

五.至智、至公、至慈的上帝,常常让祂的儿女一时经历各种试探,和他们自己内心的败坏,其目的或是要因他们过去的罪恶而责罚他们,或是要向他们显露他们的败坏所具有的隐藏的力量,以及他们内心的诡诈,好使他们谦卑下来(代下32:25-26,31;撒下24:1);另外,也是为了要使他们更加与祂亲近,常常依靠祂来扶持,并且更加警醒地防备将来一切犯罪的机会;同时还有其他各种公义和圣洁的目的(林后12:7-9;诗73,77:1:10-12;可14:66-72 ;约21:15-17)。

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.

六.上帝是公义的审判者,祂对那些不虔不义的人,因他们过去所犯的罪而使他们眼瞎心硬(罗1:24,26,28;11:7-8),不仅不施恩给他们,使他们的悟性由此得蒙光照,从而使他们的心软化(申29:4),而且有时祂也收回他们已得的恩赐(太13:12,25:29),并任凭他们遭遇各样他们的败坏用于犯罪的事(申2:30;王下8:12-13);同时,把他们交付于他们自己的私欲、世界的引诱和撒但的权势(诗81:11-12;帖后2:10-12);因此,甚至那些上帝用以使别人心里软化的工具,在他们身上反倒使他们刚硬自己(出7:3;8:15,32;代下2:15,16;赛8:14;彼前2:7,8;赛6:9-10;徒28:26,27)。

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 their hearts; but sometimes also withdraweth the gifts which they had; and exposeth them to such objects as their corruption makes occasion 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.

七.上帝的护理之工不仅遍及所有的受造之物,更是以特别的方式及于祂的教会;上帝藉其护理之工眷顾祂的教会,叫万事互相效力,使教会得益处(提前4:10;摩9:8,9;罗8:28;赛43:3-5,14)。

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.