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1 Acknowledge the Sovereignty of God, and not this only but the righteousness and faithfulness of the Sovereign God in the wrongs which are defamatory invectives of any man may offer you. If dirt be cast upon you, my first advice to you is what was once given to the prophet, Go down to the house of the potter.[1]

Adore the uncontrollable sovereignty of God which may make you a vessel of dishonor on a much worse account than that of being a little reproached by some in whose reproaches perhaps a man is really honored. With a most profound adoration of divine sovereignty, confess that if God single out you to be an object of numberless indignities and malignancies and satisfy himself in beholding what is done to you and by you and under them, there is nothing to be murmurred at[2].

Forever submit, yea, tho’ the dispensations of sovereignty be never so dark, mysterious, unsearchable[3]; and with all possible submission, say: Lord, I am willing to be whatever thou wilt have me to be; do what thou wilt with my name; if thou wilt have it vilified, let it be so. Only let thy Name be glorified.

I may tell you, this resignation will have admirable consequences. It had so when a servant of God oppressed with a world obloquies, thus resigned himself:

If the Lord say, I have no delight in thee, behold, there am I, let Him do to me as seemeth good unto Him!

1 Sam. 15.26[4]

[1] This is a reference to Jeremiah 18, where God instructs Jeremiah to go the house of the potter and see that a potter has complete sovereignty over the vessels he makes from clay:

Jeremiah 18:5–8 (ESV)

Then the word of the Lord came to me: “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter has done? declares the Lord. Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel. If at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom, that I will pluck up and break down and destroy it, and if that nation, concerning which I have spoken, turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I intended to do to it.

Thus, the instruction is to realize that in everything which happens God is ultimately sovereign. While it goes beyond the scope of this footnote, when this writer refers to sovereignty it does not mean fatalism. The way in which human freedom and divine sovereignty relate is a matter with significant discussion within Christian theology.

[2] God is sovereign. God is content with this attack upon you; therefore, there is no logical basis for human complaint.


William Cowper


God moves in a mysterious way

His wonders to perform:

He plants His footsteps in the sea,

And rides upon the storm.


Deep in unfathomable mines

Of never-failing skill,

He treasures up His bright designs,

And works His sovereign will.


Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;

The clouds ye so much dread

Are big with mercy, and shall break

In blessings on your head.


Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,

But trust Him for His grace;

Behind a frowning providence

He hides a smiling face.


His purposes will ripen fast,

Unfolding every hour:

The bud may have a bitter taste,

But sweet will be the flower.


Blind unbelief is sure to err,

And scan His work in vain;

God is His own Interpreter,

And He will make it plain.

[4] The reference is to David resigning himself to God’s sovereignty at the time that David’s son Absalom had raised a rebellion against David and drove David from Jerusalem.