276. Of Providence.
Providence is the government of the Lord in the heavens and on the earth (n. 10773). The Lord, from providence, rules all things according to order, and thus providence is government according to order (n. 1755, 2447). And He rules all things either from will or from leave, or from permission; thus in various respects according to man's quality (n. 1755, 2447, 3704, 9940). Providence acts invisibly (n. 5508). Most things which are done from providence appeal to man as contingencies (n. 5508). Providence acts invisibly, in order that man may not be compelled to believe from visible things, and thus that his free-will may not be injured; for unless man has freedom he cannot be reformed, thus he cannot be saved (n. 1937, 1947, 2876, 2881, 3854, 5508, 5982, 6477, 8209, 8987, 9588, 10409, 10777). The Divine providence does not regard temporary things which soon pass away, but eternal things (n. 5264, 8717, 10776; illustrated n. 6491).
They who do not comprehend this, believe that opulence and eminence in the world are the only things to be provided, and call such things blessings from the Divine, when nevertheless they are not regarded as blessings by the Lord, but only as means conducive to the life of man in the world; but that those things are regarded by the Lord which conduce to man's eternal happiness (n. 10409, 10776). They who are in the Divine providence of the Lord, are led in each and all things to eternal happiness (n. 8478, 8480). They who ascribe all things to nature and man's own prudence, and nothing to the Divine, do not think or comprehend this (n. 6481, 10409, 10775).
The Divine providence of the Lord is not, as believed in the world, universal only, and the particulars and single thing dependent on man's prudence (n. 8717, 10775). No universal exists but from and with single things, because single things taken together are called a universal, as particulars taken together are called a general (n. 1919, 6159, 6338, 6482-6484). Every universal is such as the single things of which it is formed, and with which it is (n. 917, 1040, 6483, 8857). The providence of the Lord is universal, because existing in the most single things (n. 1919, 2694, 4329, 5122, 5904, 6058, 6481-6486, 6490, 7004, 7007, 8717, 10774); confirmed from heaven (n. 6486). Unless the Divine providence of the Lord were universal, from and in the most single things, nothing could subsist (n. 6338). All things are disposed by it into order, and kept in order both in general and in particular (n. 6338). How the case herein is comparatively with that of a king on earth (n. 6482, 10800). Man's own proper prudence is like a small speck of dirt in the universe, whilst the Divine providence is respectively as the universe itself (n. 6485). This can hardly be comprehended by men in the world (n. 8717, 10775, 10780). Because many fallacies assail them, and induce blindness (n. 6481). Of a certain person in the other life, who believed from confirmation in the world, that all things were dependent on man's own prudence, and nothing on the Divine providence; the things belonging to him appeared infernal (n. 6484).
The quality of the Lord's providence with respect to evils (n. 6481, 6495, 6574, 10777, 10779). Evils are ruled by the Lord by the laws of permission, and they are permitted for the sake of order (n. 8700, 10778). The permission of evil by the Lord is not that of one who wills, but of one who does not will, but who cannot bring aid on account of the urgency of the end, which is salvation (n. 7887). To leave man from his own freedom to think and will evil, and so far as the laws do not forbid, to do evil, is to permit (n. 10778). Without freedom, thus without this permission, man could not be reformed, thus could not be saved, may be seen above in the doctrine of Freedom (n. 141-149).
The Lord has providence and foresight, and the one does not exist without the other (n. 5195, 6489). Good is provided by the Lord, and evil foreseen (n. 5155, 5195, 6489, 10781).
There is no such thing as predestination or fate (n. 6487). All are predestined to heaven, and none to hell (n. 6488). Man is under no absolute necessity from providence but has full liberty, illustrated by comparison (n. 6487). The "elect" in the Word are they who are in the life of good, and thence of truth (n. 3755, 3900, 50 57, 5058). How it is to be understood that "God would deliver one man into another's hand" (Exod. 21:13) (n. 9010).
Fortune, which appears in the world wonderful in many circumstances, is an operation of the Divine providence in the ultimate of order, according to the quality of man's state; and this may afford proof, that the Divine providence is in the most single of all things (n. 5049, 5179, 6493, 6494). This operation and its variations are from the spiritual world, proved from experience (n. 5179, 6493, 6494).