Rutherford’s 4 Propositions on Providence

Source: Influences of the Life of Grace…  (London, 1659), pt. 2, ch. 1, pp. 122-27

Proposition 1.  God by order of nature first acts upon the creature and gives his stirring-up influence to it.  We cannot, in genere causae physicae [in the genera of a physical cause], first breath upon God; He prevenes the sun, and the Sun rises or rises not, as the Lord pleases to act upon it; but no second causes do prevene the first or universal cause…  the host of creatures in Heaven and in earth, and the sea are all dead, passive sleepy cyphers and can do nothing, if the Lord do not stir them.

2. Though the Lord’s promise and his free decree has tied Himself (in a manner) to be prevented by a moral cause, yet that moral cause, even the praying man, stirs not until God first prevent him to pray.  Hence the Lord moves and wheels about the heart and will of the man, who is most free…

3. Because God only is Lord and Master of free-will and of the actings of all creatures, we are not to be idle and upon that account to act nothing, for then should not the husbandman plow, sow and labor; for God only is Lord and Master of the actings of the husband-man, and without the influences and blessing from on high, the husband-man’s labors from the beginning of the year to the end, were no better than to plant vine-trees in the bottom of the river Euphrates, or to sow barley or wheat in the ocean sea.

4. Hence to have, or not to have the influence of God, is not commanded in the Word, nor have we any physical power over the Lord’s acts of omnipotency; for we do not formally love God and keep his commandments in a way commendable (if we speak of the moral cause of obedience), because He works in us both to will and to do, but because He has commanded us to love Him and to keep his commandments, Jn. 14:15; Ps. 119:4-6.

To God be the glory!

Published by Jeff Chavez

Sinner saved by grace

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