197. II. THE AFFECTIONS OF A MAN'S LIFE'S LOVE ARE KNOWN TO THE LORD ALONE. Man knows his thoughts and consequent intentions because he sees them in himself; and as all prudence is from these, he sees that also in himself. If, then, his life's love is the love of sell, he comes into the pride of his own intelligence and ascribes prudence to himself, collecting arguments in favour of it and so receding from the acknowledgment of the Divine Providence. A similar result follows if the love of the world is his life's love; but in this case he does not recede in the same degree. From these considerations it is clear that these two loves ascribe all things to man and his prudence, and when interiorly examined, nothing to God and His Providence. Therefore, when persons of this description happen to hear that the truth is that there is no such thing as human prudence but that the Divine Providence alone governs all things, they laugh at it if they are complete atheists; but if they retain something of religion in the memory, and they are told that all wisdom is from God, they indeed assent at first hearing, yet inwardly in their spirit they deny it. Such especially are those priests who love themselves more than God and the world more than heaven; or what is the same, who worship God for the sake of honours and riches, and yet have preached that charity and faith, every good and truth, likewise all wisdom and even prudence are from God, and nothing of these things from men.
 In the spiritual world I once heard two priests discussing with a certain royal ambassador about human prudence, whether it is from God or from man, and the discussion was heated. In heart the three believed alike, namely, that human prudence does all things and the Divine Providence nothing; but the priests, who were then in theological zeal, were maintaining that there is nothing of wisdom and prudence from man; and when the ambassador retorted that in this case there was nothing of thought either, they declared that this was so. As angels, however, perceived that the three believed alike, the ambassador was told to put on the robes of a priest and to believe himself to be a priest and then to speak. He put them on and believed; and then in lofty tones he declared that in no wise was it possible for any wisdom and prudence to be in man unless from God; and he defended this with his customary eloquent speech full of rational arguments. The two priests were then told to put off their robes and put on those of officers of state and to believe themselves to be officers. They did so, and then, thinking at the same time now from their interior self they spoke from the arguments they had inwardly entertained previously in favour of human prudence and against Divine Providence. Thereupon the three, as they believed alike, became cordial friends and entered together upon the way of one's own prudence, which leads to hell.