Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Andrew Broadus

 How Andrew Broadus, early Virginian, Baptist pastor describes the Sovereignty of God working through wicked agents to accomplish His own holy ends.

Relevant Selections drawn from The Remedy for Heart-Troubles A Sermon by Rev. Andrew Broaddus, 1845

"Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me." John, xiv: 1.

"It seems to be too common a persuasion, that Divine Providence has nothing to do with those cases of calamity which are brought about by wicked agency. Permit me to say, brethren, that he who cherishes this sentiment, not only circumscribes the range of God's providential government, but so far deprives himself of that ground of resignation, and that support, which faith offers to him under the pressure of any such calamity.  
All things are in the hand of God. Accidents (so called,) are under his control and management; and even those cases of calamity which are brought about by wicked agency — these too come within the range of his all-pervading providence. "He workelh all things after the counsel of his own will." For his own wise purpose he permits the act of wickedness, and by his wisdom and power he governs its operation. And thus, while he holds the wicked agent accountable for his wickedness, he brings to pass, through his criminal agency, the counsel of his own will. "Surely, the wrath of man shall praise thee: the remainder of wrath shall thou restrain." And thus too, I may add, while you or I justly complain of the injury at the hand of the unrighteous man, we submit to the hand of the all-righteous God — considering the affliction as a dispensation of his providence. Is there something here mysterious and incomprehensible? — Join with me then, and with the Apostle, in the adoring exclamation, "O the depth of the riches, both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable his judgments, and his ways past finding out!"


"NOTE. I wish to add here a few thoughts, in regard to the supervision of Divine Providence, (as noticed in this discourse,) in cases of injury in any form, perpetrated by the agency of wicked men. 
      If we would rightly conceive of any such case, we must view it under two different aspects; namely, as a wicked action on the part of the agent; and as a dispensation of Divine Providence. Viewed in the light first mentioned, we justly abhor ths deed and condemn the perpetrator: — in the second point of view, we bow to the Disposer of all events, and own the righteousness of his all-pervading government. 
      But here it may be asked, if the case above mentioned be a dispensation of Divine Providence, how can the agent be I considered culpable, and subject to just condemnation? Or, (vice versa,) if the agent be really criminal, how can such a case be considered a dispensation of Divine Providence? 
      In answer to these queries, and as something towards a solution of the difficulty, I offer the following remarks: 
      1. That in any such case, the agent acts freely, of his own volition, without any constraint or impulse from God he being left to the exercise of his own wicked disposition and design: James i: 13: and thus is he responsible and justly subject to condemnation. And
      2. God, the sovereign Ruler, removing those restraints which might prove a hinderance, and so laying or ordering the train of circumstances as to permit the perpetration of the deed — the case thus becomes a dispensation of Divine Providence. And thus we exhibit the twofold aspect of such a case, as before mentioned. 
      The limits, however, of this permission on the part of Divine Providence, are marked out by unerring wisdom, and guarded by almighty power. "Hither to shall thou come, but no further," is spoken by the voice of Omnipotence, to the tuibulent passions of wicked agents, as well as to the tumultuous ocean. See this truth exemplified in the case of satan's power to afflict God's servant Job: and see too that expression of the Psalmist verified: "Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee: the remainder of wrath shall thou restrain." 
      It is in this view of Divine Providence, (as I humbly conceive,) that God is said to do that which he has seen proper to permit — having so ordered the train of circumstances, that it will certainly take place. Thus it is said that " He hardened Pharaoh's heart:" Exodus vii: 13; while Pharaoh, more strictly speaking, " hardened his [own] heart: " ch. viii: 15. So, also, David says of Shimei, while cursing the king, "Let him alone, and let him curse; for the Lord hath bidden him:" 2 Samuel xvi: 11. Examples to this effect abound in the scriptures: I add one more — the case of the death of our Redeemer, Acts iv: 27, 28: "For, of a truth, against thy holy child Jesus," &c. they "were gathered together, to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done." 
      That there rests still an adorable darkness on that link which connects the purpose and providence of God with human freedom and accountability, is readily admitted: — a darkness which checks our presumption, and renders reverence more suitable than speculation. "O the depth!" 
      Nor is this the only mysterious feature in the afflicting dispensations of Divine Providence. Cases occur in which we may enquire in vain, why should this be? — Why such a visitation, so signally distressing, from the Divine hand? The reason rests with the great Sovereign; and it is the proper office of faith, in such a case, to refer the matter to Him, whose wisdom never errs, whose goodness never fails."



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