Divine Providence #182

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182. (3) If a person were to clearly see Divine providence, either he would deny God or he would make himself God. The merely natural person says to himself, "What is Divine providence? Has it any reality, or is it any more than a term used by the common people, having heard it from a priest? Who sees anything of it? Is it not prudence, wisdom, cunning and malice that accomplish everything in the world? All other happenings, then, are they not inevitabilities and consequences? And are not many of them also chance occurrences? Does Divine providence lie hidden within them? How can it be present in scams and swindles? And yet people say that Divine providence is responsible for everything.

"Cause me to see it, therefore, and I will believe it. Can anyone believe in it prior to that?"

[2] So speaks the merely natural person. But the spiritual person speaks otherwise. Because the spiritual person acknowledges God, he also acknowledges Divine providence, and moreover sees it. However, he cannot show it to anyone who thinks only within the realm of nature in terms of nature. For such a one cannot elevate his mind above nature and see in its appearances anything of Divine providence, or form conclusions about it from its laws, which also are laws of Divine wisdom. If he were to clearly see it, therefore, he would introduce nature into it and so not only envelop it in misconceptions but also profane it; and instead of acknowledging it, he would deny it. And one who at heart denies Divine providence, also denies God.

[3] One must judge either that God governs all things, or that nature does. One who judges that God governs all things thinks that they are governed by love itself and wisdom itself, thus by life itself, while one who judges that nature governs all things thinks that they are governed by natural heat and natural light, even though these are in themselves lifeless, being from a lifeless sun. Does not that which is itself alive govern that which is lifeless? Can something that is lifeless govern anything? If you suppose that something lifeless can endow itself with life, you are demented. Life must come from life.

  
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Table of Contents
Divine Providence is the Government of the Lord's Divine Love and Wisdom. 1-26 The Lord's Divine Providence Has as its End A Heaven from the Human Race 27-45 In Everything That it Does the Lord's Divine Providence Regards Something Infinite and Eternal 46-69 There Are Laws of Divine Providence, Which to People Are Unknown 70 It Is a Law of Divine Providence That a Person Act in Freedom in Accordance with His Reason 71-99 It Is a Law of Divine Providence That a Person Put Away as If of Himself Evils as Sins in His External Self, and That the Lord Be Able Only Then to Put Away Evils in His Internal Self and at the Same Time in His External One 100-128 It Is a Law of Divine Providence That a Person Not Be Compelled by External Means to Think and Will, Thus to Believe and Love, Matters Having to Do with Religion; but That a Person Bring Himself to Do So and at Times Compel Himself 129-153 It Is a Law of Divine Providence That a Person Be Led and Taught by the Lord from Heaven Through the Word and Through Doctrine and Preaching from the Word, and this to All Appearance as Though of Himself 154-174 It Is a Law of Divine Providence That a Person Not Perceive or Sense Anything of the Operation of Divine Providence, but Still Know about And Acknowledge it 175-190 One's Own Prudence Is Not Real and Only Appears to Be, and Also Ought to So Appear; but Divine Providence, Owing to its Presence in the Least Particulars, Is Universal 191-213 Divine Providence Regards Eternal Ends, and Not Temporal Ones Except as They Accord with Eternal Ones 214-220 A Person Is Admitted No More Interiorly into Truths of Faith and Goods of Charity than the Extent to Which He Can Be Maintained in Them to the End of His Life 221-233 Laws of Permission Are Also Laws of Divine Providence 234-274 Evils Are Permitted for the Sake of the End, Which Is Salvation 275-284 Divine Providence Operates Equally With Evil People as with Good 285-307 Divine Providence Does Not Assign Evil to Anyone or Good to Anyone, but One's Own Prudence Adopts Each 308-321 Every Person Can Be Reformed, and There Is No Predestination 322-330 The Lord Cannot Go Against the Laws of Divine Providence, Because to Do So Would Be to Go Against His Divine Love and Against His Divine Wisdom, Thus Against Himself 331-340

Thanks to the General Church of the New Jerusalem for the permission to use this translation.


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