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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Many thanks to the General Church of the New Jerusalem, and to Rev. N.B. Rogers, translator, for the permission to use this translation.

The Bible

 

Luke 13

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1 There were present at that season some that told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices.

2 And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things?

3 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

4 Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem?

5 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

6 He spake also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none.

7 Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground?

8 And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it:

9 And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down.

10 And he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath.

11 And, behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself.

12 And when Jesus saw her, he called her to him, and said unto her, Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity.

13 And he laid his hands on her: and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God.

14 And the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because that Jesus had healed on the sabbath day, and said unto the people, There are six days in which men ought to work: in them therefore come and be healed, and not on the sabbath day.

15 The Lord then answered him, and said, Thou hypocrite, doth not each one of you on the sabbath loose his ox or his ass from the stall, and lead him away to watering?

16 And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day?

17 And when he had said these things, all his adversaries were ashamed: and all the people rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by him.

18 Then said he, Unto what is the kingdom of God like? and whereunto shall I resemble it?

19 It is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and cast into his garden; and it grew, and waxed a great tree; and the fowls of the air lodged in the branches of it.

20 And again he said, Whereunto shall I liken the kingdom of God?

21 It is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.

22 And he went through the cities and villages, teaching, and journeying toward Jerusalem.

23 Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said unto them,

24 Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.

25 When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are:

26 Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets.

27 But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity.

28 There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out.

29 And they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God.

30 And, behold, there are last which shall be first, and there are first which shall be last.

31 The same day there came certain of the Pharisees, saying unto him, Get thee out, and depart hence: for Herod will kill thee.

32 And he said unto them, Go ye, and tell that fox, Behold, I cast out devils, and I do cures to day and to morrow, and the third day I shall be perfected.

33 Nevertheless I must walk to day, and to morrow, and the day following: for it cannot be that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem.

34 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not!

35 Behold, your house is left unto you desolate: and verily I say unto you, Ye shall not see me, until the time come when ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.