Is adverse Providence, when ponder’d well,
So dimly writ or difficult to spell,
Thou canst not read with readiness and ease
Providence adverse in events like these?
Know then, that heavenly wisdom on this ball
Creates, gives birth to, guides consummates all;
That, while laborious and quick-thoughted man
Snuffs up the praise of what he seems to plan,
He first conceives, then perfects his design,
As a mere instrument in hands divine:
Blind to the working of that secret power
That balances the wings of every hour,
The busy trifler dreams himself alone,
Frames many a purpose, and God works his own.
States thrive or wither as moons wax and wane,
Even as His will and His decrees ordain;
While honour, virtue, piety, bear sway,
They flourish; and, as these decline, decay.
In just resentment of His injured laws,
He pours contempt on them and on their cause;
Strikes the rough thread of error right athwart
The web of every scheme they have at heart;
Bids rottenness invade and bring to dust
The pillars of supprt in which they trust,
And do His errand of disgrace and shame
On the chief strength and glory of the frame.
None ever yet impeded what He wrought,
None bars Him out from his most secret-thought;
Darkness itself before His eye is light,
And Hell’s close mischief naked in His sight.
~ William Cowper in "Expostulation"