God’s providence may not unfitly be compared to a large and long river, having innumerable branches beginning in different regions, and at a great distance one from another, and all conspiring to one common issue. After their very diverse and contrary courses which they hold for a while, yet all gathering more and more together the nearer they come to their common end, and all at length discharging themselves at one mouth into the same ocean.
The different streams of this river are ready to look like mere jumble and confusion to us because of the limitedness of our sight, whereby we can’t see from one branch to another and can’t see the whole at once, so as to see how all are united in one. A man that sees but one or two streams at a time can’t tell what their course tends to. Their course seems very crooked, and the different streams seem to run for a while different and contrary ways.
And if we view things at a distance, there seem to be innumerable obstacles and impediments in the way to hinder their ever uniting and coming to the ocean, as rocks and mountains and the like. But yet if we trace them they all unite at last and all come to the same issue, disgorging themselves into one and the same great ocean. Not one of the streams fail of coming hither at last (“A History of the Work of Redemption,” 520, paragraphing mine) .
“They named him Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David.”