To What Extent Does God Reign? -- By: James Mudge

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 072:287 (Jul 1915)
Article: To What Extent Does God Reign?
Author: James Mudge

To What Extent Does God Reign?

James Mudge, S.T.D.

Few questions penetrate further into the roots of theology than this, few have a closer grip on practical affairs, few have more intimate relations with religious enjoyment. The doctrine of Divine Providence, Dr. Charles Hodge has said, “is confessedly the most comprehensive and difficult in the compass either of theology or of philosophy.” And nothing but a thorough knowledge of this doctrine can properly answer the query propounded above. Therefore that it is difficult to answer it with complete satisfaction may well be admitted. And the difficulty will, of course, fully account for the great diversity of theories which have been set on foot in regard to the matter. Men have differed and debated about it from time immemorial; they will differ and debate about it till time shall be no more. Hence, in attempting here an explanation of that which has occupied so many wise heads, we do it with no hope of securing universal agreement. We believe, however, that the argument here presented cannot be successfully assailed, and we are sure that unspeakable comfort comes to those who find themselves able to receive it, for it brings God into closer connection with our days than any other scheme and fills the devout heart with perpetual bliss.

The art of always rejoicing rests on a twofold foundation:

We must make our will one with God’s will, and we must identify God’s will with the occurrences of each moment. If both these things be done, evidently our will is thus brought into perfect accord with every event, precluding all friction, insuring perpetual peace and triumph. If we behold and hail a living, loving will of our Heavenly Father in every minute happening of each second, we are in a constant attitude of welcoming gladness and genuine exuberance as we greet the day’s unfoldings. It is only with the second part of this double identification that any one can, theoretically, have trouble; for all admit that we should submit to God, but all do not seem able to comprehend how God is in everything. To this we accordingly address ourselves.

All must see its deep significance. For what boots it to say, with St. Paul, “We know that all things work together for good to them that love God,” if we balk at the weighty word “all,” and except from its scope those things which are mingled with human malice or mistakes, either other people’s or our own? The profoundest necessities of the most practical piety require a distinct, unequivocal recognition of the absolute sovereignty of God in the affairs of the world. Not otherwise can there be that constant perception of the Divine Being as always appearing, even in the smallest even...

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