Trivium Pursuit

Why God’s providences are often misunderstood

Take a straight stick, and put it into the water; then it will seem crooked. Why? Because we look upon it through two mediums, air and water. There lies the deceptio visus; thence it is that we cannot discern aright. Thus the proceedings of God, in His justice which in themselves are straight, without the least obliquity, seem unto us crooked: that wicked men should prosper, and good men be afflicted, that the Israelites should make the bricks, and the Egyptians dwell in the houses; that servants should ride on horse–back, and princes go on foot: these are things that make the best Christians stagger in their judgments.

And why? Because they look upon God’s proceedings through a double medium of flesh and spirit, so that all things seem to go cross, though indeed they go right enough. And hence it is that God’s proceedings, in His justice, are not so well discerned, the eyes of man alone being not competent judges thereof. –Thomas Fuller

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