Cromwell pp 190-220 | Cite as

Providence and Oliver Cromwell

  • Christopher Hill
Part of the World Profiles book series (WOPR)


PREDESTINATION is at the heart of Protestantism. Luther saw that it was the only guarantee of the Covenant. “For if you doubt, or disdain to know that God foreknows and wills all things, not contingently but necessarily and immutably, how can you believe confidently, trust to and depend upon his promises ?” Without predestination, “Christian faith is utterly destroyed, and the promises of God and the whole Gospel entirely fall to the ground: for the greatest and only consolation of Christians in their adversities is the knowing that God lies not, but does all things immutably, and that his will cannot be resisted, changed or hindered.”1 Ein’ feste Burg ist unser Gott. Luther declared that he would not have wanted free will, even if it could have been granted to him: only God can make salvation certain, for some if not for all.2 Indeed the whole point for Luther lies in the uniqueness of the elect. Once touched with divine grace they are differentiated from the mass of humanity: their consciousness of salvation will make them work consciously to glorify God. The psychological effects of this conscious segregation of a group from the mass is enormous.


Godly Life Divine Grace Intellectual Origin Worldly Success Impersonal Force 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Luther, The Bondage of the Will, trans. H. Cole (1823), pp. 31–32.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    J. Calvin, The Institutes of the Christian Religion, trans. H. Beveridge (1949), 1, 41; cf. p. 47.Google Scholar
  3. 7.
    Sir S. D’Ewes, Autobiography and Correspondence, ed. J. O. Halliwell (1845), I, 369.Google Scholar
  4. 9.
    D. Rogers, A Practicall Catechisme (3rd ed., 1640), p. 253.Google Scholar
  5. 11.
    W. Haller, The Rise of Puritanism (Columbia University Press, 1938), pp. 141, 162.Google Scholar
  6. 16.
    Ed. H. Robinson, Original Letters relative to the English Reformation (Parker Soc.), II (1847), 712. Cf. Calvin, Institutes, II, 5.Google Scholar
  7. 17.
    Calvin, Commentary on Genesis, trans. J. King (1965), I, 171.Google Scholar
  8. 21.
    R. Sibbes, Works (Edinburgh, 1862–64), I, 91; cf. p. 88.Google Scholar
  9. 22.
    J. Cotton, The Covenant of Gods Free Grace (1645), pp. 19–20.Google Scholar
  10. 23.
    Ed. A. A. Bonar, Letters of Samuel Rutherford (1894), p. 399.Google Scholar
  11. 24.
    F. Bacon, Works, ed. J. Spedding, R. L. Ellis, and D. D. Heath (1862–74), III, 617.Google Scholar
  12. 25.
    S. Butler, Characters and Passages from Notebooks (Cambridge University Press, 1908), p. 307. Butler was referring primarily no doubt to the more radical sectaries. But he would have said (and I agree) that their actions were justified by principles put forward earlier by more conservative Puritans.Google Scholar
  13. 26.
    H. Knollys, A Glimpse of Sions Glory (1641), in Woodhouse, Puritanism and Liberty, p. 233.Google Scholar
  14. 27.
    D. Footman, Red Prelude (1944), title page.Google Scholar
  15. 31.
    A. Marvell, Upon Appleton House; K. Philips, L’Accord du Bien, in Minor Poets of the Caroline Period (ed. G. Saintsbury, Oxford, 1905), I, 564; cf. p. 599.Google Scholar
  16. 34.
    Sir H. Vane, Speech in the House of Commons (1641), pp. 8–9.Google Scholar
  17. 36.
    Sibbes, Works, I, 98; cf. John Downame, A Guide to Godlynesse (1622), Book I, p. 52.Google Scholar
  18. 37.
    T. Gataker, An Anniversarie Memoriall of Englands Delivery from Spanish Invasion (1626), pp. 10, 20.Google Scholar
  19. 39.
    R. Overton, An Appeale (1647), in Wolfe, Leveller Manifestoes, pp. 158–59.Google Scholar
  20. 44.
    L. Ziff, The Career of John Cotton (Princeton, 1962), p. 62.Google Scholar
  21. 47.
    H. Peter, Gods Doings and Mans Duty (1646), p. 6.Google Scholar
  22. 48.
    L. Howard, “‘The Invention’ of Milton’s ‘Great Argument’: A Study of the Logic of ‘God’s Ways to Man,’” Huntington Library Quarterly, IX (1946), 172.Google Scholar
  23. 49.
    M. Maclure, The Paul’s Cross Sermons (Toronto University Press, 1958), p. 71.Google Scholar
  24. 50.
    W. M. Noble, Huntingdonshire and the Spanish Armada (1896), pp. 54–55.Google Scholar
  25. 51.
    R. Greenham, Works (1612), p. 212. Cf. John Preston, quoted in my Puritanism and Revolution, p. 265.Google Scholar
  26. 53.
    G. Wither, Brittans Remembrancer (Spencer Soc., 1880), I, 125. First published 1628.Google Scholar
  27. 56.
    Cf. Perry Miller, The New England Mind: the 17th Century (New York, 1939), Chapter XIV.Google Scholar
  28. 60.
    Margaret, Duchess of Newcastle, CCXI Sociable Letters (1664), p. 159. The great Puritan, John Preston, it was remarked by a bishop, “talked like one that was familiar with God Almighty” (T. Ball, Life of the renowned Dr. Preston, 1885, p. 159). Bunyan often wrote as though he enjoyed the confidence of God (e.g., Works, I, 524).Google Scholar
  29. 65.
    G. Hakewill, An Apologie or Declaration of the Power and Providence of God in the Government of the World (3rd ed., 1635), Book V, p. 252.Google Scholar
  30. 67.
    C. Caudwell, The Crisis in Physics (1949), passim; Perry Miller, op. cit., pp. 227–31.Google Scholar
  31. 68.
    Cf. P. Miller and T. H. Johnson, The Puritans (New York, 1938), pp. 81–86, 362.Google Scholar
  32. 70.
    J. Caryl, Davids Prayer for Solomon (1643), p. 36.Google Scholar
  33. 76.
    Ed. G. Ormerod, Tracts relating to Military Proceedings in Lancashire during the Great Civil War (Chetham Soc., II, 1849), p. 193. I owe this reference to my former pupil, R. Allan.Google Scholar
  34. 81.
    T. Hobbes, English Works, ed. Sir W. Molesworth (1839–45), VII, 336.Google Scholar
  35. 82.
    D. Masson, Life of John Milton, V (1877), 450–51.Google Scholar
  36. 83.
    Burnet, The Life and Death of Sir Matthew Hale (1774), p. 26. It is perhaps worth recording that Burnet nevertheless still regarded it as “the safest rule for the conduct of one’s life,” which he “ever endeavoured to follow, … that from first to last it seemed to be carried on by a series of providences”Google Scholar
  37. (ed. H. C. Foxcroft, A Supplement to Burnet’s History of My Own Time, [1902], p. 89).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Ivan Roots 1970

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christopher Hill

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations