Chapter 5. Of Divine Providence

Article 1. God the good creator of all things upholds, directs, disposes, and governs all creatures, actions, and things, from the greatest even to the least, by His most wise and holy providence, 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, goodness, and mercy.

Article 2. Although in relation to the foreknowledge and decree of God, the first cause, all things come to pass immutably and infallibly (so that nothing occurs by chance, or without His providence), yet by the same providence He orders them to fall out according to the nature of second causes, either necessarily, freely, or contingently.

Article 3. God in His ordinary providence makes use of means, yet is free to work without, above, and against them at His pleasure.

Article 4. The almighty power, unsearchable wisdom, and infinite goodness of God so far manifest themselves in His providence that this providence extends itself even to the first fall and all other sinful actions both of angels and men. Moreover, His providence is not by a bare permission, but such as has joined with it a most wise and powerful bounding, and otherwise ordering and governing of all activity, to His most holy ends, yet such that the sinfulness of His creatures' acts proceeds 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.

Article 5. The most wise, righteous, and gracious God often leaves His own children for a season to manifold temptations and the corruptions of their own hearts, to chastise them for their former sins, or to expose to them the hidden strength of corruption and deceitfulness of their hearts, that they may be humbled, in order to raise them to a more close and constant dependence for their support upon Him and to make them more watchful against all future occasions of sin, and for other just and holy ends.

Article 6. As for those wicked and ungodly men whom God, as a righteous judge, for former sin blinds and hardens, from them He not only withholds His grace, whereby they might have been enlightened in their understanding and converted in their hearts, but sometimes also withdraws the gifts which they had and exposes them to such objects as their corruption makes occasions of sin, giving them over to their own lusts, the temptations of the world, and the power of Satan. Thus, it comes to pass that they harden themselves, even under those means which God uses for the softening of others.

Article 7. As the providence of God in general reaches to all creatures, so in a more special manner it takes care of His people, and disposes of all things to their good.

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