(DP) - Angelic Wisdom about Divine Providence

DP 180

Remove Highlights | Highlight Search Terms


180. II. IF A MAN SAW CLEARLY THE DIVINE PROVIDENCE HE WOULD INTERPOSE IN THE ORDER AND TENOR OF ITS COURSE, AND WOULD PERVERT AND DESTROY THAT ORDER. In order that this may come within the clear perception of the rational man and also of the natural man it may be illustrated by examples and in this order:
1. There is such a connection between external and internal things that they make one in every operation.
2. Man is associated with the Lord only in certain externals; and if he were at the same time in internals he would pervert and destroy the whole order and tenor of the course of the Divine Providence;
but as has just been said, it will be illustrated by examples.
[2] First: There is such a connection between external and internal things that they make one in every operation. This will be illustrated here by examples taken from several parts of the human body. In the whole body and in every part there are both externals and internals; its externals are called skins, membranes, and sheaths (or coverings); while the internals are forms variously composed and interwoven of nerve fibres and blood vessels. The surrounding sheath by offshoots from itself enters into all the interiors even to the inmost parts; and thus the external, which is a sheath, unites itself with all the internals, which are organic forms composed from fibres and vessels. From this it follows that as the external acts or is acted upon so the internals act or are acted upon; for there is a continuous binding together of them all.
[3] Take some common sheath in the body, the pleura for example which is the common sheath of the chest, or of the heart and lungs, and examine it with an anatomical eye; or if you have not made a study of anatomy, consult anatomists. You will learn that this common sheath, by various circumvolutions, and then by continuations from itself becoming finer and finer, enters into the innermost parts of the lungs, even into the tiniest bronchial branches and into the very minute sacs which are the beginnings of the lungs; not to mention its subsequent progress through the trachea to the larynx towards the tongue. From these things it is clear that there is a continuous connection between the outer-most things and the inmost. Therefore, just as the outermost acts or is acted upon so also the interiors from the inmost things act or are acted upon. This is the reason that, when this outermost sheath, the pleura, becomes congested or inflamed or ulcerated, the lungs labour from their inmost parts; and if the disease grows worse, all action of the lungs ceases and the man dies.
[4] It is the same everywhere else in the whole body; as with the peritoneum, the common sheath covering all the abdominal viscera, and also with the sheaths surrounding the several organs as the stomach, the liver, the pancreas, the spleen, the intestines, the mesentery, the kidneys, and the organs of generation in both sexes. Take any one of these viscera, and either examine it yourself and you will see, or consult those skilled in this science and you will learn. Take for instance the liver, and you will find that there is a connection between the peritoneum and the sheath of that organ and through the sheath with its inmost parts; for there are continual extensions from the sheath, and insertions towards the interior parts, and in this way continuations to the inmost parts. Hence there is a binding together of the whole so that when the sheath acts or is acted upon the whole form acts or is acted upon in like manner. It is the same with the rest of the organs, because in every form the general and the particular, or the universal and the singular, by wonderful conjunction act as one.
[5] It will be seen below that in spiritual forms and in the changes and variations of their state, which have relation to the operations of the will and the understanding, the same course is followed as in natural forms and in their operations, which have relation to motion and action. Now since man is associated with the Lord in certain external operations, and since no one is deprived of the liberty of acting according to reason, it follows that the Lord can only act in internals as He acts together with man in externals. Therefore, if man does not shun and turn away from evils as sins, the external of his thought and will and at the same time the internal become vitiated and are destroyed, comparatively as the pleura is affected by its disease called pleurisy, which causes the death of the body.
[6] Second: If man were at the same time in internals he would pervert and destroy the whole order and tenor of the Divine Providence. This also may be illustrated by examples from the human body. If man knew all the workings of both brains into the fibres, of the fibres into the muscles, and of the muscles into actions, and from his knowledge of these things were to dispose all things as he disposes his actions, would he not pervert and destroy them all? [7] If man knew how the stomach digests, how the surrounding viscera absorb their own portion, work upon the blood, and distribute it for all the needs of life, and if he had the disposing of these as he has of external things, such as eating and drinking, would he not pervert and destroy them all? When he is unable to dispose the external, which appears to be a single thing, without destroying it by luxury and intemperance, what would he do if he had the disposition of the internals, which are infinite in number? Therefore man's internals, lest he should enter into them by the exercise of his will and gain control of them, are entirely removed from the scope of the will, with the exception of the muscles which constitute the covering; and, moreover, it is not known how these act; it is only known that they do act.
[8] It is the same with the other organs; as, for example, if man had the disposing of the interiors of the eye for seeing, the interiors of the ear for hearing, the interiors of the tongue for tasting, the interiors of the skin for feeling, the interiors of the heart for systolic action, the interiors of the lungs for breathing, the interiors of the mesentery for distributing the chyle, the interiors of the kidneys for secretion, the interiors of the organs of generation for propagating, the interiors of the womb for perfecting the embryo, and so on, would he not in innumerable ways pervert and destroy in them the order of the course of the Divine Providence? It is known that man is in externals, as, for example, that he sees with the eye, hears with the ear, tastes with the tongue, feels with the skin, breathes with the lungs, contributes to propagation, and so on. Is it not enough for him to know about the externals and to dispose them for the health of body and mind? When he is unable to do this, what would happen if he also had the disposing of the internals? Hence it may now be evident that if man saw clearly the Divine Providence he would interpose in the order and tenor of its course, and pervert and destroy that order.


User-Contributed Related Pages

Be the First to Find a Related Page!

Add a Related Page

Translate This Page

Add Small Canon Search to Your Website

Add a Small Canon Search™ button to my Google Toolbar

Add Small Canon Search™ to my Firefox Search Bar!

Add to Google

Daily Bible Verse

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Green Hosting

5 FREE Domains with Select Hosting Plans. Get yours!