Particular providence is the agency at God in what seem to us the minor affairs of nature and human life. Special providence is only an instance of God?s particular providence which has special relation to us or makes peculiar impression upon us. It is special, not as respects the means, which God makes use of, but as respects the effect produced upon us. In special providence we have only a more impressive manifestation of God?s universal control.
Miracles and works of grace like regeneration are not to be regarded as belonging to a different order of things from God?s special providence. They too, like special providence, may have their natural connections and antecedents, although they more readily suggest their divine authorship. Nature and God are not mutually exclusive ? nature is rather God?s method of working. Since nature is only the manifestation of God, special providence, miracle and regeneration are simply different degrees of extraordinary nature. Certain of the wonders of Scripture, such as the destruction of Sennacherib?s army and the dividing of the Red Sea, the plagues of Egypt, the flight of quails and the draught of fishes can be counted as exaggerations of natural forces. At the same time, they are operations of the wonder working God.
The falling of snow from a roof is an example of ordinary (or particular) providence. But if a man is killed by it, it becomes a special providence to him and to others who are thereby taught the insecurity of life. So the providing of coal for fuel in the geologic ages may be regarded by different persons in the light either of a general or of a special providence. In all the operations of nature and all the events of life God?s providence is exhibited. That providence becomes special, when it manifestly suggests some care of God for us, or some duty of ours to God. Savage, Life beyond Death, 285 ? ?Mary A. Livermore?s life was saved during her travels in the West by her hearing and instantly obeying what seemed to her a voice. She did not know where it came from but she leaped, as the voice ordered, from one side of a car to the other. Instantly the side where she had been sitting was crushed in and utterly demolished.? In a similar way, the life of Dr. Oncken was saved in the railroad disaster at Norwalk.
Trench gives the name of ?providential miracles? to those Scripture wonders, which may be explained as wrought through the agency of natural laws (see Trench, Miracles 29). Mozley also (Miracles, 117-120) calls these wonders miracles, because of the predictive word of God, which accompanied them. He says that the difference in effect between miracles and special providence is that the latter give some warrant, while
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