183. It does not appear to be likely that if man saw clearly the Divine Providence and its operation he would deny God; for it would appear that if anyone saw it clearly he could not but acknowledge it and thus acknowledge God; yet the contrary is the case. The Divine Providence in no circumstance acts together with the will's love in man, but constantly acts against it. For man from his hereditary evil is always panting for the lowest hell; but the Lord by His Providence is continually leading him away and withdrawing him from it, first to a milder hell, then away from hell, and finally to Himself in heaven. This operation of the Divine Providence is perpetual. Therefore, if man saw clearly or felt this withdrawal or leading away, he would become angry and, regarding God as his enemy, from the evil of his proprium he would deny God. Therefore, in order that man may not know this he is kept in a state of freedom, and consequently he knows no otherwise than that he leads himself.
 But examples may serve to illustrate this. Man by his hereditary nature desires to become great and also to become rich; and in proportion as these desires are unrestrained he longs to become greater and richer, and at length to be greatest and richest; nor would he rest here, but would desire to be greater than God Himself and to possess heaven itself. This inordinate desire lies most deeply concealed in hereditary evil, and consequently in man's life and in his life's nature. The Divine Providence does not remove this evil in a moment; for if it were removed in a moment man would cease to live; but the Divine Providence removes it quietly and gradually without man's knowing anything about it. This it does by permitting man to act according to thought which he rationally adopts. Then by various means, rational, civil and moral, it leads him away; and he is thus withdrawn as far as he can be led in freedom. Nor can evil be removed from anyone unless it becomes evident, and is seen and acknowledged. It is like a wound which does not heal unless it is opened.
 If, therefore, man were to know and see that the Lord, through His Divine Providence, operates in this manner against his life's love which is the source of his highest delight, he could not but go in the opposite direction and, becoming enraged, take action against it, revile it, and finally from his evil set aside the operation of the Divine Providence by denying it and thus denying God. This especially would he do if he saw it as an obstacle to his success, and if he saw himself cast down from his position of honour and stripped of his wealth.
 It should be known, however, that the Lord in no wise leads man away from seeking honours and acquiring wealth, but that He leads him away from the inordinate desire of seeking honours for the sake of eminence alone, that is, for the sake of himself and also from acquiring wealth* for the sake of opulence alone, that is, for the sake of riches. However, when the Lord leads man away from these He introduces him into the love of uses, in order that he may regard high position not for his own sake but for the sake of uses; and thus as belonging to the uses and hence to himself, and not as belonging to himself and hence to the uses. The same is true of wealth. That the Lord continually humbles the proud and exalts the humble He Himself teaches in many places in the Word; and what He there teaches is also of His Divine Providence.
* Original Edition has "non a comparandis," inserting "non" unnecessarily.