Divine Providence #189

By Emanuel Swedenborg

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189. People who have become spiritual by virtue of their recognition of God and have become wise by casting off their sense of self-importance see divine providence in the whole world and in every least part of it. They see it if they look at natural events, they see it if they look at civic events, they see it if they look at spiritual events, in the way things coincide and the way they follow in sequence, in purposes and means and results, in useful events, in forms, in things great and things small. They see it especially in our salvation, in the fact that Jehovah gave us the Word that tells us about God, heaven, hell, and eternal life, and that he himself came into the world to redeem and save us. All this and much more, and the divine providence within it all, people see from spiritual light within earthly light.

The strict materialist, though, sees none of this.

[2] The materialist is like someone who goes to a beautiful cathedral and hears an enlightened minister preach about divine matters and then goes home and says, "All I saw was a stone building, and all I heard was some complicated noise." Or the materialist is like someone with poor eyesight who goes into an orchard gleaming with all kinds of fruit and then goes home and says, "All I saw was some forest and some trees." When people like this become spirits after death and are raised up into an angelic heaven where everything is in forms that portray love and wisdom, they do not see any of it. They do not even see that there is anything there. I have seen this happen with any number of people who have denied the Lord's divine providence.

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