The Hand and Counsel of God

Thomas Boston, the Scottish Puritan, wrote at least three essays on the decrees of God. In the first essay, “The Purpose of God’s Decrees,” Boston writes that God is glorified in the creation of the world, men and angels, in election and predestination, and in the work of redemption. In the second essay, “The Properties of God’s Decrees Explained,” Boston writes that the decrees of the LORD are eternal, wise, free, unchangeable, holy and pure, and effective. I have recently posted on these essays here and here.

The third essay by Boston is entitled “Important Lessons Drawn from the Decrees of God.” In this final essay, Boston identifies and applies six lessons that he draws from Scripture’s teaching on the Decrees.

The essence of each lesson can be summarized in a sentence or two from each.

Lesson 1

“Nothing then comes to pass, however random and uncertain it may seem to be, but what was decreed by God.”

Lesson 2

“Hence we see God’s certain knowledge of all things that happen in the world, seeing His knowledge is founded on his decree…. So that what is casual or contingent with respect to us, is certain and necessary in regard to God.”

Lesson 3

“Whoever may be the instruments of any good to us, of whatever sort, we must look above them,and see the hand and counsel of God in it, which is their first source, and be duly thankful to God for it. And whatever evil of suffering or affliction befall us, we must look above the instruments of it to God.”

Lesson 4

“See here the evil of murmuring and complaining at our lot in the world…. Oh presume not to correct the infinite wisdom of God, seeing he has decreed all things most wisely and judiciously.

Lesson 5

“It is a horrid and detestable wickedness to cast the blame of your sin upon God’s decree. This is to charge your villainy upon him, as if he were the author of it.”

The sixth and last lesson that Boston writes in this essay seems to me to be an excellent concluding statement to not only this essay, but to the Decrees trilogy.

Lesson 6

“Let the people of God comfort themselves in all cases by this doctrine of the divine decrees; and, amidst whatever befalls them, rest quietly and submissively in the bosom of God, considering that whatever comes or can come to pass, proceeds from the decree of their gracious friend and reconciled Father, who knows what is best for them, and will make all things work together for their good.”

It is a great comfort to rest in the sovereignty of the LORD, His decrees, and the out working of His perfect will in and through our lives.

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You can read “Important Lessons Drawn from the Decrees of God” in its entirety here.

Please visit Monergism Books and WTS Books for Reformed books and resource material.

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