Understanding God’s Incomprehensible Providence

zwingli453We struggle and waver in the matter of Providence. When It presents Itself before our eyes so plainly that we are forced even against our will to see It, regard It, and execute Its commands, we yet bid ourselves to hope for results according to our own desires.

This recklessness sometimes goes so far that it promises us the treasures of the Indies even in spite of the Deity. But however we clamor and whatever we devise, the plans of God remain unchanged. Tyrants scheme, and restless peasants, far less skillful and happy in plotting than they, also scheme, the one to strangle the sprouting germ of the Gospel, that the boundless extortions with which they keep up every lewdness and luxury may not be brought to light, nor the distinction between right and wrong be seen, lest the wiles of their crooked lives and words be discovered, and they be no longer able to cover up their violence with the name of righteousness, if ever the people understand what force and right are; the others to see how under pretense of championing the Gospel they can aim at unrestrained wantonness rather than at the liberty of a free man.

Does not greed urge them on as much as it did Balak and Balaam? But what purpose will finally succeed? Certainly not Balak’s, however much he rages and fears for his kingdom, for the camp of Israel will be safe under the protection of the Lord; nor the purpose of Balaam boiling with greed, for the Gospel of Christ seeketh not wantonness nor wrong. But the purpose of the Lord will be victorious, in accordance with which He has determined to cleanse His Church of the worst rubbish, not to introduce it therein.*

*The Latin Works of Huldreich Zwingli, (Vol. 2, p. 231).