5508. And told him all that had befallen them. That this signifies reflection from the good of that truth upon the things hitherto provided, is evident from the signification of "telling," as being to think and reflect (see n. 2862), for what is told anyone is thought of from reflection; and from the signification of "all that had befallen," as being what is of providence, or what is provided (of which in what follows). The reason why the reflection was from the good of truth is that they told Jacob their father, by whom the good of truth is represented (n. 5506). The reason why the reflection was not from the truths represented by the sons of Jacob, as the sense of the letter implies, is that all the reflection and thence thought that the lower or exterior has, comes from the higher or interior, although it appears to come from the lower or exterior; and as the good of truth that Jacob represents is interior, therefore reflection from the good of truth is signified.
 That the things which befell them are things of providence or things provided, is because everything that befalls or happens, which in other words is called accidental, and is ascribed to chance or fortune, is of providence. Divine providence works thus invisibly and incomprehensibly in order that man may in freedom ascribe an event either to providence or to chance; for if providence acted visibly and comprehensibly, there would be danger of man's believing, from what he sees and comprehends, that it is of providence, and afterward changing into the contrary. Thus truth and falsity would be conjoined in the interior man, and truth would be profaned, which profanation is attended with eternal damnation. Therefore it is better for such a man to be kept in unbelief than to be in faith and then recede from it.
 This is what is meant in Isaiah:
Say to this people, Hearing hear ye, but understand not; and seeing see ye, and know not. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and besmear their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and their heart should understand, and they should turn again, and be healed (Isa. 6:9-10; John 12:40).
It is for this reason also that miracles are not wrought at this day, for these, like all visible and comprehensible things, would compel men to believe, and whatever compels takes away freedom; when yet all the reformation and regeneration of man is effected in his freedom. That which is not implanted in freedom does not stay. It is implanted in freedom when the man is in the affection of good and truth (see n. 1937, 1947, 2744, 2870-2893, 3145, 3146, 3158, 4031).
 That miracles so great were wrought among the posterity of Jacob was for the sake of their being compelled to observe the statutes in their outward form; for this was sufficient for those who, being only in the representatives of a church, were in external things separate from internal, and therefore could not be reformed as to the interiors; for they entirely rejected interior things, and therefore they could not profane truths (n. 3147, 3398, 3399, 3480, 4680). Men like these could be compelled without danger of profaning what is holy.
 That man at this day ought to believe what he does not see, is evident from the Lord's words to Thomas, in John:
Because thou hast seen Me, Thomas, thou hast believed: blessed are they who do not see, and yet believe (John 20:29).
That the things which happen (in other words which are ascribed to chance or fortune) are of the Divine providence, the church indeed acknowledges, but still does not believe; for who does not say, when apparently by chance he comes out of some great peril, that he has been preserved by God, and also gives God thanks? And likewise when he is exalted to honors, and also when he becomes wealthy, he calls it a blessing from God. Thus the man of the church acknowledges that what happens is of providence, but still does not believe. But on this subject, of the Lord's Divine mercy more will be said elsewhere.