Divine Providence #174

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174. 5. Outwardly, we are led and taught by the Lord to all appearances as though we were leading and teaching ourselves. This happens outwardly but not inwardly. No one knows how the Lord is leading and teaching us inwardly, just as no one knows how the soul is working so that the eye can see and the ear can hear, the tongue and mouth can speak, the heart can impel the blood, the lungs can breathe, the stomach can digest, the liver and pancreas can organize, the kidneys can make separations, and countless other processes. These do not reach our notice and sensation. The same holds for the things that the Lord is doing in the inner substances and forms of our minds, which are infinitely more numerous. The Lord's workings in this realm are imperceptible to us, but their many very real effects are perceptible and so are some of the causes of those effects. These are the outward events where we are present with the Lord; and since outward things are united to inner ones, being connected in a single sequence, we cannot be inwardly organized by the Lord except to the extent that outward matters are set in order through our own efforts.

[2] Everyone knows that we think, intend, speak, and act with every appearance of autonomy, and everyone can see that if it were not for this appearance we would have no volition and discernment. We would therefore have no motivation and thought and no acceptance of anything good and true from the Lord. This means that without this appearance we would have no acknowledgment of God, no charity and faith, no consequent reformation and regeneration, and therefore no salvation.

We can see from this that this appearance is granted us by the Lord for all these functions, especially so that there may be something receptive and responsive within us through which the Lord can be united to us and we can be united to the Lord, and that by virtue of this union we can live forever. That is the appearance that is meant here.

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Thanks to the Swedenborg Foundation for the permission to use this translation.