249. II. CONFIRMATIONS FROM THE WORLDLY PROSPERITY OF THE WICKED AGAINST THE DIVINE PROVIDENCE. (Summarised in n. 237.)
1. Every worshipper of himself and of nature confirms himself against the Divine Providence when he sees in the world so many wicked people, and so many of their impieties in which some of them even glory, and yet no punishment of such by God. All impieties and also the glorying in them are permissions, the causes of which are laws of the Divine Providence. Every man may freely, indeed very freely, think what he will, both against God and in favour of God. He who thinks against God is rarely punished in the natural world, because there he is always in a state subject to reformation; but he is punished in the spiritual world after death, for then he can no longer be reformed.
 That the laws of the Divine Providence are the cause of permissions is clear from its laws as set forth above, if they are recalled and examined. These are: Man should act from freedom according to reason, a law treated of above (n. 71-99); Man should not be compelled by external means to think and will, and thus to believe and love, the things of religion, but should persuade and at times compel himself to do so (n. 129-153) (Original Edition 154-174); There is no such thing as man's prudence: it only appears that there is, and there ought to be this appearance; but the Divine Providence is universal because it is in things most individual (n. 191-213); The Divine Providence regards eternal things, and not temporal things except so far as they accord with eternal things (n. 214-220); Man is admitted interiorly into the truths of faith and into the goods of charity only so far as he can be kept in them right on to the end of life, a law treated of (n. 221-233).
 That the laws of the Divine Providence are causes of permissions will also be clear from the following; as from this: Evils are permitted for the sake of the end, which is salvation; also from this: The Divine Providence is continual both with the wicked and with the good; and lastly from this: The Lord cannot act contrary to the laws of His Divine Providence, because to act contrary to them would be to act contrary to His Divine Love and Wisdom, and thus contrary to Himself. If these laws are considered together they may make manifest the reasons why impieties are permitted by the Lord, and are not punished when they exist in thought only, and seldom also when they exist in intention and thus also in the will and not in act. Yet its own punishment follows every evil; it is as if its punishment were inscribed upon the evil, and this punishment the wicked man suffers after death.
 What has just been set forth also explains* the following proposition stated in n. 237: The worshipper of himself and of nature confirms himself against the Divine Providence still more when he sees that wicked designs, cunning devices and deceit are successful even against the pious, the righteous and the sincere, and that injustice triumphs over justice in the courts and in business. All the laws of the Divine Providence are necessities; and as they are the causes why such things are permitted it is clear that for man to be able to live as man, to be reformed and saved, these things can be removed from him by the Lord only by means. They are removed by means of the Word, and especially by the commandments of the Decalogue in the case of those who acknowledge all kinds of murder, adultery, theft and false witness as sins. In the case of those who do not acknowledge such things as sins, they are removed by means of the civil laws and fear of their penalties, and also by means of moral laws, and the fear of the loss of reputation and consequent loss of honour and wealth; and it is by these means that the Lord leads the wicked, but only away from doing such things and not from thinking and willing them. However, by the former means the Lord leads the good, not only away from doing these things but also from thinking and willing them.
* Original Edition has "explica" for "explicata" as in Tafel Latin edition (1855) and Worcester Latin edition (1899).