206. Whence man's own prudence is and what it is. It is from man's proprium which is his nature, and is called his soul from his parent. This proprium is the love of self and the consequent love of the world, or it is the love of the world and the consequent love of self. It is the nature of the love of self to regard self only, and to regard others as insignificant or of no account. If it respects some it is only so long as they honour and pay court to it. Like the effort in the seed to fructify and produce offspring there lies concealed in the inmost of sell-love the desire to become great, and if possible to become a king, and then if still possible, to become a god. A devil is such a one, for he is self-love itself; he is such that he adores himself and favours no one who does not also adore him; and another devil like himself he hates because he wishes himself alone to be adored. As no love can exist without its consort, and as the consort of love or of the will in man is called the understanding, therefore when the love of self breathes its own love into its consort the understanding, it there becomes pride, that is the pride of man's own intelligence from which springs man's own prudence.
 Now since the love of self desires to be sole lord of the world, and thus a god, therefore the lusts of evil, which are derived from that love, have their life from it; as have in like manner the perceptions belonging to the lusts, perceptions which are cunning devices; as have also the delights pertaining to the lusts, delights which are evils, and as also have the thoughts pertaining to the delights, thoughts which are falsities. All these are like slaves and servants of their lord, responding to his every nod, unaware, however, that they do not act but are only acted upon, being acted upon by the love of self through the pride of their own intelligence. Hence it is that man's own prudence, by virtue of its origin, lies concealed in every evil.
 The acknowledgment of nature alone also lies concealed in it because self-love has closed the window on its roof by which heaven lies open and also its side windows, lest it should see and hear that the Lord alone governs all things, that nature in herself is dead, and that man's proprium is hell, and consequently that the love of the proprium is the devil. Then, with its windows closed, it is in darkness and there makes a fire on the hearth for itself at which it sits with its consort; and they reason together in a friendly way in favour of nature as against God, and in favour of man's own prudence as against the Divine Providence.