Providence Defined (Ursinus)

ursinus-portraitForeknowledge, providence and predestination differ from each other. By foreknowledge we understand the knowledge of God, by which He foreknew, from all eternity, not only what He Himself would do, but also what others would do by His permission, viz: that they would sin.

Providence and predestination, although they include only those things which God Himself will do, yet they differ in this, that providence extends to all the things and works of God, while predestination properly has respect only to rational creatures. Predestination is therefore the most wise, eternal and immutable decree of God, by which He appointed and destined every man, before he was created, to his certain use and end, as will hereafter be more clearly shown.

But providence is the eternal, most free, immutable, wise, just and good counsel of God, according to which He effects all good things in His creatures; permits also evil things to be done, and directs all, both good and evil, to His own glory and the salvation of His people.

Zacharias Ursinus, Commentary on the Heidelberg Catechism, p. 151

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