John Bunyan was drafted as a soldier in the Civil War in England, to take part in the siege of Leicester. As he was just about ready to go forward with his company, another requested to go in his place. "He took my place; and, coming to the siege, as he stood sentinel he was shot in the head by a musket bullet, and died." That providence saved John Bunyan for his mighty labors for the Kingdom of God. But there was a providence, also, in the death of the soldier who took his place.
In December, 1852, the president-elect of the United States, Franklin Pierce, traveling with his family on a train, was wrecked at Concord, New Hampshire. Several of the passengers were killed, among them the young son of the president-elect, a fine lad of ten years, who died in his mother's arms. The accident was thought to be due to dereliction of duty on the part of an intoxicated brake-man; and some of those who had received injuries, or whose relatives had been killed in the disaster, brought suit against the railroad company. But Mrs. Pierce, a devout Christian, would not permit the president-elect to become a party to the suit; on the contrary, she had him secure the services of the famous lawyer Benjamin Butler to defend the railroad, on the ground that she regarded the disaster and the great personal sorrow that it had brought to them as a special providence better to prepare the president-elect for the high office to which he was shortly to be inaugurated.
Back of all that foes have plotted, or that friends have wisely planned,
Human schemes or work of demons, moves a hidden higher Hand.
Man's horizon is but finite; present mysteries ensnare;
Wrongs in vain cry for avenging, Hope is tempted to despair.
But when God unveils the future, His exact and full reward
Will reveal an even balance in the judgements of the Lord.
Through the mystic fabric, woven on the great historic loom,
Runs the golden thread of purpose, not the iron threads of doom.
Warp and woof are heaven's making, pattern beautiful and wise,
Pattern hidden on the earth-side, perfect to celestial eyes.
Every action, every actor, great or little, foe or friend,
Like converging paths of empire to one golden milestone tend,
All minutest threads inwoven into God's complete design,
Perfecting its colour pattern, filling out its grand outline.
Yet God's agents act with freedom, choosing whether love or hate,
Close alliance—bold defiance—slaves to no relentless fate.
True the hand Divine is hidden—moving secret and unseen
Through the acts of life's long drama, managing each shifting scene.
Nothing happens accidental. All that man ascribes to chance
Choice of God has first determined—nothing can escape His glance,
Men may cast their lots and gamble with their deeds as with their dice,
Count capricious Fortune mother of their virtue or their vice;
Man proposes, God disposes; all things His design fulfill;
Every human wrath unconscious serves to execute His will.
This the goal of all the ages—highways, by-ways, higher bend,
And despite all foes and factions, God is Victor in the end.
So man's festival of Purim, read in Faith's illumined sense,
Shall be seen in realms eternal as the Feast of Providence.—Dr. A. T. Pierson
(Esth. 3. 7-13; 9. 25, 26; Dan. 2. 37; 4. 25; 5. 23, 24; Rom. 11. 33)
All is of God! If He but wave His hand,
The mists collect, the rain falls thick and loud,
Till, with a smile of light on sea and land,
Lo! He looks back from the departing cloud.
Angels of life and death alike are His;
Without His leave they pass no threshold o'er;
Who then would wish or dare, believing this,
Against His messengers to shut the door?—Lowell
God's providence overrules all things. God confounds the proud. He takes care of the weak and afflicted who fear Him. He protects them in danger, He hears their prayers. This is a doctrine full of consolation to good men, supporting them in their trials, and leading them to holiness and trust in God.—Ostervald
"Why did papa have appendicitis and have to pay the doctor a thousand dollars, Mama?"
"It was God's will, dear."
"And was it because God was mad at papa or pleased with the doctor?"—Life.
There's a certain minister whose duties sometimes call him out of the city. He has always arranged for some one of his parishioners to keep company with his wife and little daughter during these absences. Recently, however, he was called away so suddenly that he had no opportunity of providing a guardian.
The wife was very brave during the early evening, but after dark had fallen her courage began to fail. She stayed up with her little girl till there was no excuse for staying any longer and then took her upstairs to bed.
"Now go to sleep, Dearie," she said. "Don't be afraid. God will protect you."
"Yes, Mother," answered the little girl, "that'll be all right tonight, but next time let's make better arrangements."
The babu explained with great politeness the complete failure of a young American member of the shooting party in India to bag any game:
"The sahib shot divinely but it is true that Providence was all merciful to the birds."