28 ? ?against thy holy Servant Jesus, whom thou didst anoint, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, ran the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, were gathered together, to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel foreordained to come to pass.?
To this head of directive providence should probably be referred the passages with regard to Pharaoh in <020421>Exodus 4:21 ? ?I will harden his heart, and he will not let the people go? 7:13 ? ?and Pharaoh?s heart was hardened?; 8:15 ? ?he hardened his heart ? i. e, Pharaoh hardened his own heart. Here, the controlling agency of God did not interfere with the liberty of Pharaoh or oblige him to sin. In judgment for his previous cruelty and impiety, God withdrew the external restraints, which had hitherto kept his sin within bounds and placed him in circumstances that would have influenced to right action. A well disposed mind which God foresaw would lead a disposition like Pharaoh?s to the peculiar course of wickedness, which he actually pursued.
God hardened Pharaoh?s heart first by permitting him to harden his own heart. God, being the author of his sin only in the sense that he is the author of a free being who is himself the direct author of his sin. Secondly, by giving to him the means of enlightenment, Pharaoh?s very opportunities being perverted by him into occasions of more virulent wickedness and good resisted being thus made to result in greater evil. Thirdly, by judicially forsaking Pharaoh, when it became manifest that he would not do God?s will, and thus making it morally certain, though not necessary, that he would do evil and fourthly, by so directing Pharaoh?s surroundings that his sin would manifest itself in one way rather than in another. Sin is like the lava of the volcano, which will certainly come out but which God directs in its course down the mountainside so that it will do least harm. The gravitation downward is due to man?s evil will; the direction to this side or to that is due to God?s providence. See
<450917> Romans 9:17, 18 ? ?For this very purpose did I raise thee up, that I might show in thee my power and that my name might be published abroad in all the earth. So, then he hath mercy on whom he wilt and whom he will he hardeneth.? Thus the very passions which excite men to rebel against God are made completely subservient to his purposes; see Annotated Paragraph Bible, on <197610>Psalm 76:10.
God hardens Pharaoh?s heart only after all the earlier plagues have been sent. Pharaoh had hardened his own heart before. God hardens no man?s heart who has not first hardened it himself. Crane. Religion of Tomorrow, 140 ? ?Jehovah is never said to harden the heart of a good man or of one who is set to do righteousness. It is always those who are bent on evil
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