The Sovereign Efficacy of Divine Providence – by Urian Oakes (1631–1681)


Is God really in control of everything, everywhere, and everyone? How does that work with man’s will?


The Sovereign Efficacy of Divine Providence by Urian Oakes (1631–1681)

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eISBN: 978-1-62663-358-2

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ISBN: 978-1-62663-359-9

Urian Oakes (1631–1681) was a New England divine, and president of Harvard College. Edmund Calamy states that Oakes was noted for the uncommon sweetness of his temper as a minister of the Gospel, greatly beloved by his congregation and popular with all who came in contact with him.

This book by Oakes, updated by Puritan Publications, is a work very dear to my own heart. Its design is to vindicate the glory of the blessed God in his all-ruling, wonder-working providence as sovereignly disposing the issues and events of all human counsels, and affairs. You might wonder, how does this square with man’s will? Doesn’t man make choices? Of course a man may make choices, but those choices are a result of his heart’s disposition. He is a free moral agent, able to choose whatever his heart’s desire is. If his heart is wicked, he chooses wickedly. If God has given him a new heart, he is able to choose to do righteously.

Christ, who is the Highest King and Lord of all, rules and reigns, in his declarative glory, “all things.” Nothing is left to itself, but that God has a purpose in it. As seen in the magnificent and dreadful wheels of Ezekiel, King Jesus, who sits high and lofty on the throne of his chariot of mercy, rules and works all things according to the counsel of his own will. Oakes biblically demonstrates this governance of the Sovereign King in all his amiable glory as depicted by Scripture.

Beginning with a careful consideration of Ecclesiastes chapter nine verse eleven, “I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all,” Oakes explains how the successes and events of undertakings and affairs are not determined infallibly by the greatest sufficiency in men, or even in second causes; but by the counsel and providence of God ordering and governing time and chance according to his own good pleasure. God’s counsel and sovereign will appoints what they shall be, and his providence, which is not determined by any second cause, but is the determiner of them all, executes all things accordingly. And it must necessarily be so, if you consider that God is the absolute first cause, and supreme Lord of all. Let me ask you friend, is God sovereign, or do you want to steal away a little of his glory for yourself?

The content of this work is immensely practical, prompting you as a believer to reflect on your current stance before the Almighty. It is truly a humbling journey to take.

This work is not a scan or facsimile, has been carefully transcribed by hand being made easy to read in modern English, and has an active table of contents for electronic versions.

Table of Contents
A Brief Note on God’s Sovereignty
Meet Urian Oakes
To the Reader
Part 1: The Text
Part 2: The Doctrine
Part 3: Time and Chance
Part 4: God’s Determination
Part 5: Of Instruction – Use 1
Part 6: Of Instruction – Use 2
Part 7: Of Instruction – Use 3
Part 8: Of Exhortation – Use 4
Part 9: Conclusion

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