332. 1. The working of divine providence for our salvation starts with our birth and lasts to the end of our life and then on to eternity. I have already explained  that a heaven from the human race is the purpose of the creation of the universe and that in its working and progress this purpose is the divine provision for our salvation. I have also explained that all the things outside us, all the things that are useful to us, are secondary purposes of creation. In summary, these are all the members of the three kingdoms: animal, plant, and mineral. If these all constantly function according to the laws of the divine design established at the very beginning of creation, then surely the primary purpose of creation, the salvation of the human race, must constantly function according to its laws, which are the laws of divine providence.
 Just look at a fruit tree. See how it is first born from a tiny seed as a delicate sprout, how this gradually develops into a trunk that sends out branches, how these are covered with leaves, and how it then produces flowers, bears fruit, and sets new seeds in the fruit that provide for its endless future. It is the same for all shrubs and all the meadow grasses. Every least thing involved in this process is constantly and wonderfully moving from its purpose to its goal according to the laws of its design. Why should the primary purpose, a heaven from the human race, be any different? Can there be anything in its process that is not going on at every instant in accord with the laws of divine providence?
 Since there is this relationship between our life and the growth of a tree, we may draw a parallel or comparison. Our early childhood is like the delicate sprout of the tree emerging out of the ground from its seed. Our youth and young adulthood are like that sprout growing into a trunk with slender branches. The earthly truths that we all take in at first are like the leaves that cover the branches--this is exactly what "leaves" mean in the Word. Our first steps into the marriage of what is good and what is true, the spiritual marriage, are like the flowers that a tree brings forth in spring, and the spiritual truths are the petals of the flowers. The beginnings of the spiritual marriage are the fruit in its early stages. The spiritual benefits--good deeds done from a caring spirit--are like the fruit, and are what "fruit" means in the Word. The propagation of wisdom from love is like the seeds whose fertility makes us like a garden and paradise. In the Word, we are in fact described as trees, and our wisdom, which arises from love, is described as a garden. This is exactly what the Garden of Eden means.
 Actually, we are bad trees right from our seed, but we are granted a scion or graft from shoots taken from the tree of life, through which the sap rising from our old roots is changed into a sap that brings forth good fruit.
I offer this comparison to show that if the process of divine providence is so unfailing in the growth and reproduction of trees, it must by all means be unfailing in our own reformation and regeneration. We are far more important than trees, as the Lord said: "Are not five sparrows sold for two little coins? Yet not one of them is left forgotten in the presence of God. No, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Therefore do not be afraid; you are much more important than sparrows. Then too, who of you can with care add a cubit to his or her stature? So if you cannot do the least, why are you anxious about the rest? Look at the way the lilies grow. If God so clothes the grass in the field that is there today but is thrown into the oven tomorrow, how much more [will he clothe] you, O people of little faith?" (Luke 12:6-7, 25, 26, 27, 28).
(References: Luke 12:25-28)