(DP) - Angelic Wisdom about Divine Providence

DP 233

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233. In order, therefore, that this interior truth (arcanum) of the Divine Providence may be so revealed that the rational man may see it in his own light, the points that have just been presented shall be explained one by one. First: Evil and good cannot exist together in man's interiors, and consequently neither can the falsity of evil and the truth of good. By man's interiors is meant the internal of his thought; but of this he knows nothing before he comes into the spiritual world and its light, which happens after death. In the natural world this can be known only from the delight of his love in the external of his thought and from evils themselves when he examines them in himself; for, as was shown above, the internal of thought in man is so closely connected with the external of thought that they cannot be separated; but concerning this more may be seen above. The terms good and the truth of good, also evil and the falsity of evil, are used because good cannot exist apart from its truth, nor evil apart from its falsity; as they are bedfellows or consorts, for the life of good is from its truth, and the life of truth is from its good; and the same is true of evil and its falsity.
[2] It may be seen by the rational man without explanation that evil with its falsity cannot exist in man's interiors and at the same time good with its truth; for evil is the opposite of good, and good is the opposite of evil, and two opposites cannot exist together. Moreover, there is in all evil an inherent hatred of good, and there is in all good an inherent love of protecting itself against evil and removing it from itself. Therefore it follows that one cannot be together with the other. If they were together there would arise first conflict and combat, and then destruction, as the Lord also teaches in these words:
Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself standeth not (A.V. shall not stand) ...
He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad. Matt. xxv. 30 (A.V. xii. 25, 30);
and in another place,
No one can at the same time serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other ... Matt. vi. 24.
Two opposites cannot exist together in one substance or form without its being torn asunder and destroyed. If one should advance and draw near to the other they would certainly keep themselves apart like two enemies, one of whom would retire within his camp or fortifications, and the other would remain outside. This happens with the evil and the good in a hypocrite. He harbours both, but the evil is within and the good is without, and thus the two are separate and are not mingled. From this it is now clear that evil with its falsity and good with its truth cannot exist together.
[3] Second: Good and the truth of good can be introduced by the Lord into man's interiors only so far as the evil and the falsity of evil there have been removed. This is a necessary consequence of what has gone before; for as evil and good cannot exist together good cannot be introduced before evil has been removed. The term man's interiors is used, and by these is meant the internal of thought; and in these, which are now being considered, either the Lord or the devil must be present. The Lord is there after reformation, but the devil is there before it; therefore, so far as man suffers himself to be reformed the devil is cast out; but so far as he does not suffer himself to be reformed the devil remains. Everyone may see that the Lord cannot enter so long as the devil is there; and he is there so long as man keeps the door closed, where man acts together with the Lord. That the Lord enters when that door is opened by man himself (medio homine) He teaches in Revelation:
I stand at the door and knock; if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. Rev. iii. 20.
The door is opened by man's removing evil, which he does by shunning and turning away from it as infernal and diabolical. For whether you say evil or the devil it is the same; and, on the other hand, whether you say good or the Lord it is the same, for the Lord is within all good, and the devil is within all evil. From these considerations the truth of the matter is evident.
[4] Third: If good with its truth were introduced there bore or in a greater measure than evil with its falsity is removed, man would depart from good and return to his evil. This is because evil would prove the stronger, and what is the stronger conquers, if not at the time yet afterwards. So long as evil continues to prevail good cannot be introduced into the innermost chambers of the mind, but only Into the outer courts, because, as has been said, evil and good cannot exist together; and what is only in the outer courts is removed by its enemy in the inner apartments. Consequently there is a departure from good and a return to evil; and this is the worst kind of profanation.
[5] Moreover, the very delight of a man's life is to love himself and the world above all things. This delight cannot be removed in a moment, but only gradually, and so far as any of this delight remains evil prevails in him; and this evil can only be removed as the love of self becomes the love of uses, or as the love of ruling has for its end not self but uses. Thus uses constitute the head, the love of self or of ruling constituting first the body under the head and afterwards the feet upon which it walks. Everyone sees that good must constitute the head; and that when it does, the Lord is there; for good and use are one. Who does not see that if evil constitutes the head the devil is there? And as civil and moral good, and spiritual good also in its external form, must still be accepted, who does not see that these now constitute the feet and the soles of the feet upon which the man treads?
[6] The state of the man's life must be inverted so that what is above may be below; and this reversal cannot be effected in a moment, for what is the greatest delight of life, arising from the love of self and the consequent love of rule, can only be reduced gradually and converted into the love of uses. Therefore, good cannot be introduced by the Lord before or in a greater measure than the evil is removed. If it were so introduced man would depart from the good and return to his evil.
[7] Fourth: When man is in evil many truths may be introduced into his understanding, and these may be stored up in his memory, and yet not be profaned. This is because the understanding does not flow into the will, but the will into the understanding; and as it does not flow into the will many truths may be received by the understanding and stored up in the memory, and yet not be mingled with the evil of the will; and thus what is holy may not be profaned. Moreover, it is incumbent upon everyone to learn truths from the Word or from preaching, to lay them up in the memory and to ponder over them. For from the truths that are in the memory and that enter the thought from the memory the understanding must teach the will, that is, must teach the man what to do. This, therefore, is the principal means of reformation. When truths are only in the understanding and from it in the memory, they are not in the man, but outside of him.
[8] Man's memory may be compared to the ruminatory stomach of certain animals in which they deposit their food; and so long as it is there it is not in but outside of their body; but as they bring it up from this stomach and consume it, it becomes part of their life and the body is nourished. Now in man's memory the food is not material but spiritual, namely, truths, which in them selves are knowledges; and in the degree that man draws these from the memory by thinking, a process akin to ruminating, his spiritual mind is nourished. The will's love has a longing, an appetite as it were, for these truths and causes them to be drawn out and serve as nourishment. If that love is evil it has this longing or appetite for unclean things; but if the love is good it has this longing or appetite for clean things, and what is not suitable it separates, removes and casts out; and this is done in various ways.
[9] Fifth: The Lord, however, by His Divine Providence takes the greatest care that the will may not receive these from the understanding sooner or in a greater measure than man as of himself removes evil in the external man. For what is received by the will enters into the man and is appropriated by him and becomes part of his life; and in the life itself which man has from the will, evil and good cannot exist together, for in this case he would perish. The two, however, may be in the understanding and are there called falsities of evil and truths of good, yet they are not mingled; otherwise man would not be able to distinguish evil from good and to recognise good from evil; but they are distinguished there and separated like the inner and outer apartments of a house. When a wicked man thinks and says what is good he thinks and speaks exteriorly, but interiorly when he thinks and says what is evil; therefore, when he says what is good his speech comes, as it were, from an inner all of a house. It may be likened to fruit that is fair on the outside, but worm-eaten and rotten within, and to a dragon's egg, regarded from the shell only.
[10] Sixth: If the will should receive them sooner or in greater measure it would then adulterate the good and the understanding would falsify the truth by mingling them with evils and falsities. When the will is in evil it adulterates good in the understanding; and good adulterated in the understanding is evil in the will, for it proves that evil is good and that good is evil. Evil acts thus with all good, which is opposite to itself. Evil also falsifies truth, for the truth of good is opposite to the falsity of evil; and this is done in the understanding by the will but not by the understanding from itself. In the Word adulterations of good are described by adulteries and falsifications of truth by whoredoms. These adulterations and falsifications are effected by reasonings from the natural man, which is in evil, and also by confirmations from the appearances of the sense of the Letter of the Word.
[11] The love of self, which is the head of all evils, surpasses other loves in its ability to adulterate goods and falsify truths; and it does this by the misuse of the rationality which every man, wicked as well as good, has from the Lord. It can indeed by confirmations make evil to appear exactly like good and falsity like truth. There is nothing it cannot do when it can prove by a thousand arguments that nature first created itself and then created men, beasts and plants of every kind; and also that by influx from its inner self nature causes men to live, to think analytically and to understand wisely. Self-love excels in its ability to prove whatever it desires because outwardly it presents the appearance of a certain splendour, flashing beams of variously coloured light. This splendour is the glory of being wise which pertains to that love, and thus also of being eminent and dominant.
[12] However, when self-love has proved such things it then becomes so blind as only to see that man is a beast and that man and beast think by a similar process; indeed, that if a beast could also speak it would be a man in another form. If it were induced by some sort of persuasion to believe that something of man lives after death, it is then so blind as to believe that the beast also lives after death; and that this something that lives after death is only a subtle exhalation of life, like a vapour, which constantly sinks back to its own corpse; or that it is something vital without sight, hearing and speech, and thus is blind, deaf and dumb, hovering about and thinking; entertaining besides many other insane ideas with which nature, although in itself dead, inspires this phantasm created by self-love. Such is the effect of self-love, which viewed in itself is the love of the proprium; and man's proprium in respect of its affections, which are all natural, is not unlike the life of a beast; while in respect to its perceptions, because they spring from these affections, it is not unlike a bird of night. Therefore, he who continually immerses his thoughts in his proprium cannot be raised out of natural into spiritual light and see anything of God, of heaven and of eternal life. Since this love is of such a nature, and yet excels in its ability to confirm what it pleases, it has a like ability to adulterate the goods of the Word and to falsify its truths, even while it is constrained by a form of necessity to confess them.
[13] Seventh: Therefore the Lord admits man interiorly into the truths of wisdom and into the goods of love only so far as he can be kept in them right on to the end of his life. The Lord does this in order that man may not fall into that most grievous kind of profanation of what is holy which has been treated of in this chapter. On account of this danger also the Lord permits evils of life and many heresies in worship; and concerning the permission of these things something will be seen in the sections that follow.


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