211. The reason why the Divine Providence operates so secretly that scarcely anyone knows of its existence is that man may not perish. For man's proprium, that is his will, in no wise acts as one with the Divine Providence, against which man's proprium has an inborn enmity; for it is the serpent that seduced our first parents of which it is said,
I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head. Gen. iii. 55.
The serpent is evil of every kind, its head is self-love; the seed of the woman is the Lord; the enmity that is put, is between the love of man's proprium and the Lord, and thus between man's own prudence and the Divine Providence of the Lord. For man's own prudence is continually raising that head, and the Divine Providence is continually putting it down.
 If man felt this he would be enraged and exasperated against God, and would perish; but while he does not feel this he may be enraged and exasperated against men, and against himself and also against fortune, without perishing. Hence it is that the Lord by His Divine Providence continually leads man in freedom, and the freedom appears to him to be none other than his own; and to lead man in freedom in opposition to himself is like lifting up a heavy and resisting weight from the ground by means of screws, through the power of which the weight and the resistance are not felt; or it is like what happens to a man in the company of an enemy who intends to kill him, an intention he is not aware of; and a friend leads him away by unknown paths and afterwards discloses to him his enemy's intention.