(DP) - Angelic Wisdom about Divine Providence

DP 112

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112. From these things it may now be evident that for man to be purified from the lusts of evil, evils must be completely removed from the external man; for until this is done the lusts have no outlet; and if there is no outlet the lusts remain within and breathe out delights from themselves, and so urge man on to the consent and thus to the deed itself. Lusts enter the body through the external of thought; and therefore when there is consent in the external of thought, the lusts are at once in the body, the delight which is felt being there. That the nature of the mind determines that of the body and thus of the whole man may be seen in the treatise THE DIVINE LOVE AND WISDOM (n. 362-370). This may be illustrated by comparisons and also by examples.
[2] By comparisons. Lusts with their delights may be compared to fire: the more fire is fed the more fiercely it burns, and the freer the course given to it the wider it spreads until, if in a city, it consumes the houses and, if in a wood, the trees. Lusts of evil are compared in the Word to fire, and their evils to the conflagration. The lusts of evil with their delights also appear in the spiritual world as fires, infernal fire being nothing else. They may also be compared to floods and inundations of water when dykes or dams give way. Moreover, lusts may be compared to gangrenous sores and ulcers which, if they run their course, or are not cured, bring death to the body.
[3] By examples. It is clearly evident that if evils in the external man are not removed lusts with their delights grow and multiply. The more a thief steals the more he lusts to steal till at length he cannot refrain. The same is true of a fraudulent person, in proportion as he defrauds. It is the same with hatred and revenge, with luxury and intemperance, with adultery and blasphemy. It is well known that the love of ruling grounded in the love of self increases in proportion as restraints are relaxed, and in like manner the love of possessing wealth grounded in the love of the world; it would appear as if these evils had no limit or end. From these considerations it is clear that so far as evils in the external man are not removed their lusts multiply, and also that lusts increase in the degree that restraints on evils are relaxed.


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