(DP) - Angelic Wisdom about Divine Providence

DP 251

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251. 3. The worshipper of himself and of nature confirms himself against the Divine Providence when he reflects that wars are permitted and in them the slaughter of so many men, and the plundering of their wealth. It is not from the Divine Providence that wars occur, because they involve murders, plunderings, violence, cruelties and other terrible evils which are diametrically opposed to Christian charity. Still they cannot but be permitted because, since the time of the most ancient people, meant by Adam and his wife, treated of above (n. 241), men's life's love has become such that it wills to rule over others, and finally over all; and also to possess the wealth of the world, and finally all wealth. These two loves cannot be kept in fetters, for it is according to the Divine Providence that everyone is allowed to act from freedom in accordance with reason, as may be seen above (n. 71-99); and without permissions man cannot be led from evil by the Lord, and consequently cannot be reformed and saved. For unless evils were allowed to break out, man would not see them and therefore would not acknowledge them, and thus could not be induced to resist them. Hence it is that evils cannot be repressed by any act of Providence; for if they were they would remain shut in, and like a disease, such as cancer and gangrene, they would spread and consume everything vital in man.
[2] For man from birth is like a little hell, between which and heaven there is perpetual discord. No man can be withdrawn from his hell by the Lord unless he sees that he is in hell and wishes to be led out; and this cannot be done without permissions, the causes of which are laws of the Divine Providence. This is why there are lesser and greater wars, the lesser between owners of estates and their neighbours, and the greater between the sovereigns of kingdoms and their neighbours. The lesser and the greater differ only in this, that the lesser are kept within certain bounds by national law, and the greater by international law; and that, while both the lesser and the greater are willing to transgress their own laws, the lesser cannot, and the greater can, yet still within the limits of possibility.
[3] There are many other reasons stored up in the treasury of Divine Wisdom why the greater wars with kings and rulers, involving as they do murders, plunderings, violence and cruelties, are not prevented by the Lord, either in their beginning or in their progress, until in the end the power of one or the other has been so reduced that he is in danger of destruction. Some of these reasons have been revealed to me, and among them is this: that all wars, although they may be civil in character, represent in heaven states of the Church and are correspondences. Such were all the wars described in the Word, and such also are all wars at this day. The wars described in the Word are those which the Children of Israel waged with various nations, as with the Amorites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Philistines, the Syrians, the Egyptians, the Chaldeans and the Assyrians. Moreover, when the Children of Israel, who represented the Church, departed from their precepts and statutes and fell into the evils which were represented by those nations, for each nation with which the Children of Israel waged war signified some particular kind of evil, then they were punished by that nation. For example, when they profaned the holy things of the Church by foul idolatries they were punished by the Assyrians and the Chaldeans, because Assyria and Chaldea signify the profanation of what is holy. What was signified by the wars with the Philistines may be seen in THE DOCTRINE OF THE NEW JERUSALEM CONCERNING FAITH (n. 50-54).
[4] Similar things are represented by the wars of the present day, wherever they occur; for all things which take place in the natural world correspond to spiritual things in the spiritual world, and all spiritual things have relation to the Church. It is not known in this world which kingdoms in Christendom represent the Moabites and the Ammonites, which the Syrians and the Philistines, and which the Chaldeans and the Assyrians, and the others with whom the Children of Israel waged war; and yet there are peoples who represent them. Moreover, the quality of the Church on earth and what the evils are into which it falls, and for which it is punished by wars, cannot be seen at all in the natural world; because in this world externals only are manifest, and these do not constitute the Church. However, this is seen in the spiritual world where internal things appear, and in these is the Church itself; and there all are conjoined according to their various states. The conflicts of these in the spiritual world correspond to wars which on both sides are governed according to correspondence by the Lord in accordance with His Divine Providence.
[5] That wars in this world are governed by the Divine Providence of the Lord is acknowledged by the spiritual man but not by the natural man, except that, when a festival is appointed on account of a victory, he may then return thanks on his knees to God that He has given the victory; and except also by a few words before going into battle. But when he returns to himself he ascribes the victory either to the prudence of the general or to some measure or incident in the course of the battle which had not been thought of, by which nevertheless the victory was decided.
[6] It may be seen above (n. 217), that the Divine Providence, which is called fortune, operates in the most individual of even trivial affairs, and if you acknowledge the Divine Providence in these you will certainly acknowledge it in the affairs of war. Moreover, successes and incidents in warfare brought to a favourable conclusion are in common language called the fortune of war; and this is the Divine Providence, especially in the counsels and designs of the general, even although he at the time and also afterwards may ascribe it all to his own prudence. This he may do if he will, for he is at full liberty to think in favour of the Divine Providence or against it, and indeed in favour of God or against Him; but he should know that no part whatever of the counsel and design is from himself: it all flows in from heaven or from hell, from hell by permission, from heaven by Providence.


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