From Swedenborg's Works

 

Divine Providence #332

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332. (1) The operation of Divine providence to save a person begins at the person's birth and continues to the end of his life, and afterward to eternity. We showed above that a heaven from the human race is the fundamental end in the creation of the universe, that this end in its operation and progress is Divine providence working to save humankind, and that all else surrounding a person and serving to benefit him are secondary ends in creation, ends which relate, in sum, to everything found in the three kingdoms, animal, plant and mineral. As the things found there proceed constantly according to laws of Divine order established at the beginning of creation, how then can the primary end, namely, the salvation of the human race, fail to proceed constantly according to the laws of its order, namely, the laws of Divine providence?

[2] Simply consider a fruit tree. It is first born from a tiny seed as a tender sprout, is it not, and gradually grows after that into a sapling and spreads its branches, and these become covered with leaves, until it puts forth flowers and bears fruit, and in them places new seeds by which it provides for its perpetuation.

The same is the case with every bush and with every herb of the field. Do not each and all of the constituents in them proceed from first end to last end constantly and marvelously according to the laws of their order? Why not the primary end likewise, which is a heaven from the human race? Can there be anything in its progress which does not proceed constantly according to the laws of Divine providence?

[3] Since a person's life has a correspondence with the growth of a tree, let us draw a parallel or comparison. A person's early childhood is comparatively like the tender sprout of a tree shooting up from its seed out of the earth. A person's later childhood and adolescence are like the same sprout growing into a sapling and its little branches. The natural truths with which every person is first equipped are like the leaves which cover the sapling's branches (leaves have just this symbolic meaning in the Word). A person's initial introductions into the marriage of goodness and truth, or spiritual marriage, are like the flowers which the tree produces in the spring. Spiritual truths are the petals of those flowers. The first stages of the spiritual marriage are like the beginnings of the fruit. Spiritual goods - the goods of charity - are like the fruits themselves (they are also symbolized by fruits in the Word). The propagations of wisdom from love are like the seeds, as a result of which propagations a person becomes like a garden or paradise. A person is also described by a tree in the Word, and his wisdom from love by a garden. Nothing else is symbolically meant by the Garden of Eden.

[4] A person is, indeed, owing to his seed a bad tree, but still possible is an engrafting or insertion of shoots taken from the tree of life, which turn the sap drawn from the old root into a sap producing good fruits.

We draw this comparison to make it known that, since the progress of Divine providence is so constant in the growth and rebirth of trees, it must be utterly constant in the reformation and rebirth or regeneration of people, who are of much more value than trees, in keeping with these words of the Lord,

Are not five sparrows sold for two small coins? And not one of them is forgotten before God. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than... sparrows... .

Moreover, which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? If you then are not able to do the least, why are you anxious for the rest? Consider the lilies, how they grow?. (That) if ... God so clothes the grass in the field, which today is and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will He clothe you, O you people of little faith? (Luke 12:6-7, 25-28)

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

The Bible

 

Luke 12:25-28

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25 And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit?

26 If ye then be not able to do that thing which is least, why take ye thought for the rest?

27 Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

28 If then God so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and to morrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith?