THE PROVIDENCE OF GOD
Comprising Heart-Searching Sermons on Vital Themes Concerning God and His Overruling Providence Among Men
B. H. CARROLL, D.D., LL.D.
For more than Thirty Years Pastor of First Baptist Church, Waco, Texas, and Founder and First President of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary at Fort Worth, Texas
J. W. CROWDER, A.B., D.D.
J. B. CRANFILL, M.D., LL.D.
FRED F. FLORENCE
The Sagacious Business Executive, the Patriotic Citizen, the Generous Philanthropist and the Faithful, Unselfish Friend, This Book Is Lovingly Dedicated by
The present volume is the twenty-eighth book of B. H. Carroll which I have edited and published or caused to be published. It carries a unique distinction in the fact that the publication of the book was sponsored by a noble Jewish friend of mine, Mr. Fred F. Florence, President of the Republic National Bank of Dallas. This is the third Carroll book this good friend has sponsored for me, and I make grateful acknowledgment of his generous help as I send this book out upon its mission of love and blessing.
When Fred F. Florence first came to Dallas as cashier of the Republic National Bank, I invited him to join my Bible Class. He has a winsome personality and I loved him from the first. Smilingly he voiced his appreciation of the invitation and added:
"Dr. Cranfill, I am a member of Temple Emanuel here, hence cannot well join a Bible Class in another fellowship. I want you to know, however, that I think most kindly of you and of the good you are doing and certainly wish you well in your Bible Class work." Up to that time I didn't know that he was Jewish, but the fact that he was a Jew did not, in my thinking, detract in any wise from his kind-hearted winsomeness or his wide sweep of usefulness even in that early period of his life. Step by step he was promoted as the bank enlarged, and on the death of Mr. W. O. Connor, the president, who was one of the dearest friends I ever had, Mr. Florence was elected president of the institution, which position he has since held.
There is not to my knowledge in Christian history any incident quite comparable to the helpfulness of Mr. Fred F. Florence in my ministry in giving to the world the books of B. H. Carroll. In all the tides of time since apostolic days, there has been no man who held in his heart and brain a more intimate knowledge or a more penetrating understanding of the Bible than was possessed by B. H. Carroll. I quoted in a foreword to a former volume the verdict of a Georgia Baptist preacher, who wrote me that "Dr. Carroll can dig deeper to find God's truth and climb higher to reveal it than any man that ever lived." So now we have this twenty-eighth volume. I wish every reader of this foreword could have seen the glowing face of Fred F. Florence as he undertook the sponsorship of this volume. He has been so gracious, so courteous, so generous that his attitude seems to me something quite apart from the traditional indifference to religion so regnant in some realms of the business world.
The first book of B. H. Carroll's sermons that appeared bore the title, Sermons, and was published by the American Baptist Publication Society in 1895. Later there followed Carroll's Interpretation of the English Bible, a thirteen volume set, and thousands of these volumes have been circulated. Then, in addition to this, there came from the press Baptists and Their Doctrines, Evangelistic Sermons, The River of Life, Inspiration of the Bible, Jesus the Christ, The Day of the Lord, Revival Messages, The Holy Spirit, Ambitious Dreams of Youth, The Faith That Saves and Christ and His Church.
Due acknowledgment is herein made of the valuable help of Professor J. W. Crowder, A.B., D.D., of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He compiled the present volume and through the long years has been vitally interested in the preservation of B. H. Carroll's manuscripts. I gladly record my indebtedness to Professor Crowder for his longtime assistance in this task.
I call the reader's especial attention to the two chapters in the present volume on Job. There is nothing quite like Dr. Carroll's interpretation and elucidation of the vitalities of Job, the oldest book in the world. Really all of Carroll's sermons are immortal. In some he reaches loftier altitudes than in others, but I never heard him say a dull word, nor did I ever know him to write a dull sentence. Everything he did was invested with the glowing verities of immortality.
Some have asked me how I became possessed of the Carroll material. I am happy to answer this query by saying that on March 1, 1892, joined by M. V. Smith, then pastor of the First Baptist Church at Belton, I began the publication of the Baptist Standard. At that time I was living in Waco, and whereas the Western Baptist, which M. V. Smith and I bought and the name of which we changed to the Baptist Standard, had hitherto been published in Dallas, we soon moved it to Waco and thereafter I published a stenographic report of one of B. H. Carroll's sermons every week.
When I presented the matter of publishing these sermons to the great preacher, he was somewhat hesitant, but after prayerful consideration he undertook the task of going over the shorthand report of each sermon I handed him. The shorthand reporter that did this work was J. A. Lord, one of the greatest shorthand writers of that or any other age. During the more than twelve years of my editorship of the Baptist Standard I published more than 600 of these stenographic reports of Carroll's sermons.
It is also true that there have appeared in the various Carroll books I have edited occasional sermons that he wrote with his own hand and delivered upon special occasions. There are, however, not many of these.
And now this twenty-eighth Carroll book I have edited goes forth upon its mission of love and blessing. It will help and gladden every soul that reads it. I hope it will have a great welcome among our Baptist people as well as among those of other folds.
J. B. CRANFILL