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Providence (or divine providence), is the doctrine in some religions of divine activity in the world. A distinction is usually made between "general providence", which refers to God's continuous upholding the existence and natural order of the universe, and "special providence", which refers to God's extraordinary intervention in the life of people.


  • And pleas'd th' Almighty's orders to perform,
    Rides in the whirlwind and directs the storm.
  • But they that are above
    Have ends in everything.
  • "Let us hope", I prayed, "that a kind Providence will put a speedy end to the acts of God under which we have been laboring".
  • We sometimes had those little rubs which Providence sends to enhance the value of its favours.
  • To a close shorn sheep, God gives wind by measure.
  • God sends cold according to clothes.
    • George Herbert, Jacula Prudentum (1651). "God sendeth cold after clothes." As given in Camden's Remains.
  • Eye me, blest Providence, and square my trial
    To my proportion'd strength.
  • But my host speaks of the "old fashioned unenlightened times," like a philosopher in the best light of civilization. "I believe in Providence," said he. "Our fathers came into these valleys, got the richest of them, and skimmed off the cream of the soil. The worn-out ground won’t yield no roastin’ ears now. But the Lord foresaw this state of affairs, and prepared something else for us. And what is it? Why, He meant us to bust open these copper mines and gold mines, so that we may have money to buy the corn that we cannot raise." A most profound observation.
  • Who sees with equal eye, as God of all,
    A hero perish, or a sparrow fall,
    Atoms or systems into ruin hurl'd,
    And now a bubble burst, and now a world.
  • Destroy all creatures for thy sport or gust,
    Yet cry, if man's unhappy, God's unjust.
  • Who finds not Providence all good and wise,
    Alike in what it gives, and what denies.
  • Warms in the sun, refreshes in the breeze,
    Glows in the stars, and blossoms in the trees.
  • Dieu modère tout à son plaisir.
  • He that doth the ravens feed,
    Yea, providently caters for the sparrow,
    Be comfort to my age!
  • There is a divinity that shapes our ends,
    Rough-hew them how we will.
  • We defy augury: there's a special providence in the fall of a sparrow. If it be now, 'tis not to come; if it be not to come, it will be now; if it be not now, yet it will come; the readiness is all.
  • O God, thy arm was here;
    And not to us, but to thy arm alone,
    Ascribe we all!
  • He maketh kings to sit in soverainty;
    He maketh subjects to their powre obey;
    He pulleth downe, he setteth up on hy:
    He gives to this, from that he takes away;
    For all we have is his: what he list doe he may.
    • Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene (1589-96), Book V, Canto II, Stanza 41.
  • God tempers the wind to the shorn lamb.
    • Laurence Sterne, A Sentimental Journey Through France and Italy (1768) (given in italics as a quotation).
  • As for those wicked and ungodly men, whom God as a righteous judge, for former sins doth blind and harden, from them He not only withholdeth His grace, whereby they might have been enlightened in their understandings and wrought upon in their hearts, but sometimes also withdraweth the gifts which they had and exposeth them to such objects as their corruption makes occasion of sin: and withal, gives them over to their own lusts, the temptations of the world, and the power of Satan: whereby it comes to pass that they harden themselves, even under those means, which God useth for the softening of others.
    • Westminster Confession of 1647, “Chapter V (of Providence)", No. 6. as quoted by Max Weber, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, Chapter IV The Religious Foundations of Worldly Asceticism, 1905.

Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations[edit]

Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 643-45.
  • If heaven send no supplies,
    The fairest blossom of the garden dies.
  • In some time, his good time, I shall arrive;
    He guides me and the bird
    In his good time.
  • Le hasard est un sobriquet de la Providence.
    • Chance is a nickname for Providence.
    • Chamfort.
  • 'Tis Providence alone secures
    In every change both mine and yours.
  • Behind a frowning Providence
    He hides a smiling face.
  • God made bees, and bees made honey,
    God made man, and man made money,
    Pride made the devil, and the devil made sin;
    So God made a cole-pit to put the devil in.
    • Transcribed by James Henry Dixon, from the fly-sheet of a Bible, belonging to a pit-man who resided near Hutton-Henry, in County of Denham.
  • Whatever is, is in its causes just.
  • Dieu mesure le froid à la brebis tondue.
    • God tempers the cold to the shorn sheep.
    • Henri Étienne, Le Livre de Proverbs Epigrammatique. Quoted from an older collection, possibly Lebon's. (1557. Reprint of 1610).
  • Deus haec fortasse benigna
    Reducet in sedem vice.
    • Perhaps Providence by some happy change will restore these things to their proper places.
    • Horace, Epodi, XIII. 7.
  • Behind the dim unknown,
    Standeth God within the shadow, keeping watch above his own.
  • Lap of providence.
    • Prideaux, Directions to Churchwardens (Ed. 1712), p. 105.
  • The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.
    • Psalm. CXXI. 6.
  • Mutos enim nasci, et egere omni ratione satius fuisset, quam providentiæ munera in mutuam perniciem convertere.
    • For it would have been better that man should have been born dumb, nay, void of all reason, rather than that he should employ the gifts of Providence to the destruction of his neighbor.
    • Quintilian, De Institutione Oratoria, XII. 1. 1.
  • And I will trust that He who heeds
    The life that hides, in mead and wold,
    Who hangs yon alder's crimson beads,
    And stains these mosses green and gold,
    Will still, as He hath done, incline
    His gracious care to me and mine.

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