Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Parents by God's Providence

I thought I’d give you a little taster of the second book in the Puritan reading challenge, The Mystery of Providence by John Flavel. So far this book has proved a really excellent read and I want to particularly mention a section he includes on God’s providential hand in placing us within our family. I hope that parents and children alike will be challenged and encouraged. I am eternally grateful to God for my parents; the following are 3 reasons from Flavel to give thanks:

1. The blessing of parents who prayed for you before you were born as well as in your infancy when you couldn’t pray for yourself.

2. The blessing of having excrescences of corruption nipped in the bud by their pious and careful discipline.

3. The blessing of parents who carefully instilled the good knowledge of God into your soul in your tender years.
As they longed for us before they had us and rejoiced in us when they had us, so they could not endure to think that when they could have us no more, the devil should. As they thought no pains, care or cost too much for our bodies, to feed them, clothe and heal them; so did they think no prayers, counsels, or tears, too much for our souls, that they might be saved. They knew a parting time would come between them and us, and did strive to make it as easy and comfortable to them as they could, by leaving us in Christ and within the blessed bond of His covenant.
A closing challenge:
And was it not a special favour to us to have parents that went before us as patterns of holiness, and beat the path to heaven for us by their examples? They could say to us: ‘those things ye have heard and seen in me, do’ (Phil. 4. 9); and ‘be ye followers of me, as also I am of Christ’ (1 Cor. 11. 1). The parents’ life is the child’s copy.

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