187. IV. IT IS GRANTED TO MAN TO SEE THE DIVINE PROVIDENCE IN THE BACK AND NOT IN THE FACE; AND THIS IN A SPIRITUAL STATE AND NOT IN A NATURAL STATE. To see the Divine Providence in the back and not in the face is to see it after it operates and not before; and to see it from a spiritual state and not from a natural state is to see it from heaven and not from the world. All who receive influx from heaven and acknowledge the Divine Providence, and especially those who by reformation have become spiritual, when they see events in some wonderful series, see the Divine Providence, as it were, from an interior acknowledgment and confess it. They do not desire to see it in the face, that is, before it comes into operation, fearing lest their will should enter into anything of its order and tenor.
 It is otherwise with those who do not admit any influx from heaven but only from the world, especially with those who have become natural from confirming appearances in themselves. They do not see anything of the Divine Providence in the back, that is, after it operates, but they desire to see it in the face, that is, before it comes into operation; and as the Divine Providence operates by means, and means are produced through man or the world, therefore, whether they see it in the face or in the back, they attribute it either to man or to nature, and thus they confirm themselves in the denial of it. They attribute it in this way because their understanding is closed from above and is open only from below, that is, closed towards heaven and open towards the world; and it is not granted to see the Divine Providence from the world, but only from Heaven. I sometimes wondered whether they would acknowledge the Divine Providence if their understanding were opened from above, and they saw as in clear daylight that nature in itself is dead, and that human intelligence in itself is nothing, but that it is only from influx that both these appear to exist. I perceived, however, that those who have confirmed themselves in favour of nature and of human prudence would not acknowledge it, because the natural light flowing in from below would immediately extinguish the spiritual light flowing in from above.