Synonyms: tender mercies, loving kindness, compassion, watchfulness, preservation, favor and protection.
Definition from Founding Father Noah Webster’s 1828 dictionary: (America’s first Dictionary)
(1) “ Devine Providence is often understood God Himself”
(2) “the care and superintendence which God excises over His creatures”
The word Providence was deeply implanted into early American culture.
“It appeared in thousands of early sermons. For, almost three centuries, it retained a strong place in American speech. However, in the past century, the word has gradually fallen into disuse. Today, most modern Bible translations no longer use the word at all, so consequently, many Americans have wrongly come to believe that the word Providence is an impersonal Deistic designation for God. A primary reason for this errant belief is MODERNISM- a contemporary academic approach that severs history from its context and setting by examining historical events and people as if they occurred and lived today rather than in the past.” To accurately portray history, people and events must be understood according to the beliefs and practices of their own times rather than modern times.
However, since the terms Providence and Divine Providence, are rarely used in religious settings today, modern educators and critics wrongly conclude that the Founders were Deists, because they did not use the modern language of Christians.
A Deist believes in an impersonal God. A synonym for Deist in our time would be an agnostic.
Modern examples of include: `“George Washington was only a Deist. For instance “George Washington had the characteristic unconcern of the 18th century Deist for the forms and creeds of institutional religions… He often referred to Providence…”1 Or “Washington used such titles as “the Divine Author of our blessed religion, Almighty Being or Grand Designer” All terms from Deist beliefs.”2
“These wrong conclusions demonstrate not only an unfamiliarity with early Biblical terms and their American use but also an ignorance of the fact that these same terms were routinely used by Gospel ministers…. Christians, not only in the days of the Founding Fathers but also long before and long after, including today still believe that God is “an overseer and protector.”
THIS IS NOT RELEGATED TO THE CLAIM OF DEISTS. CHRISTIANS PAST PRESENT AND FUTURE WOULD ALL CONFIDENTLY MAKE THE SAME PROFESSION OF FAITH.
(Source: The Founders Bible pages 763-765)