(DP) - Angelic Wisdom about Divine Providence

DP 257

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257. 4. The merely natural man confirms himself against the Divine Providence because in many kingdoms where the Christian religion is received there are some who claim for themselves Divine power, and desire to be worshipped as gods, and because they invoke the dead. They say, indeed, that they have not arrogated to themselves Divine power, and do not wish* to be worshipped as gods. Yet they say that they can open and close heaven, remit and retain sins, and therefore can save and condemn men: and this is Divinity itself (Ipsum Divinum); for the Divine Providence has for its end nothing else than reformation and consequently salvation. This is its unceasing operation with everyone; and salvation can only be effected by the acknowledgment of the Divinity of the Lord, and by confidence that it is effected by Him when man lives according to His commandments. [2] Everyone may see that this is the Babylon described in the Revelation, and that it is the Babel spoken of in various places in the Prophets. It is also the Lucifer referred to in Isaiah xiv, as is clear from the verses of that chapter in which are these words:
Thou shalt take up this proverb against the king of Babylon, v. 4; Then: I will cut off from Babylon the name, and remnant, v. 22.
From this it is evident that Babel there is Lucifer of whom it is said:
How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!
For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:
I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the Most High. Isa. xiv. 12, 13, 14.
It is well known that they invoke the dead and pray to them for help. It is affirmed that they invoke the dead because such invocation was established by a papal bull confirming the decree of the Council of Trent, in which it is openly said that the dead should be invoked. Yet everyone knows that God alone should be invoked and not any dead person.
[3] It will now be stated why the Lord has permitted such things. It cannot be denied that He has permitted them for the sake of the end, which is salvation. For it is known that without the Lord there is no salvation; and since this is so it was necessary that the Lord should be preached from the Word and that the Christian Church by that means should be established. This, however, could only be done by leaders who would act with zeal; nor were others found but those who from the fire of self-love burned with a zealous ardour. At first this fire roused them to preach the Lord and to teach the Word; and it is from this their first state that
Lucifer is called the son of the morning, v. 12.
But as they saw that they could obtain dominion by means of the holy things of the Word and of the Church, the love of self, by which they were first roused to preach the Lord, burst forth from within and finally exalted itself to such a height that they transferred to themselves all the Divine power of the Lord, not leaving Him any.
[4] This could not be prevented by the Divine Providence of the Lord; for if it were prevented they would have declared that the Lord is not God, and that the Word is not holy, and would have made themselves Socinians and Arians, and thus would have totally destroyed the Church; but it, whatever may be the character of its rulers, still continues among the people who are submissive to them. For all those of this religion who approach the Lord and shun evils as sins are saved; and therefore there are many heavenly societies formed from them in the spiritual world. Moreover, it has also been provided that there should be among them a nation which has not submitted to the yoke of such domination and which regards the Word as sacred. This is the great French nation.
[5] But what has happened? When the love of self exalted its dominion even to the Lord's throne, removed Him and set itself upon it, that love, which is Lucifer, could not but profane all things of the Word and of the Church. To prevent this the Lord by His Divine Providence so ordered it that they should depart from His worship and should invoke the dead, pray to graven images of the dead, kiss their bones and bow down at their tombs, should forbid the reading of the Word, appoint holy worship in masses not understood by the common people, and sell salvation for money; because if they had not done these things they would have profaned the holy things of the Word and of the Church. For as was shown in the preceding section only those profane holy things who have a knowledge of them.
[6] Therefore, lest they should profane the most Holy Supper it is of the Divine Providence of the Lord that they should divide it, giving the bread to the people and drinking the wine themselves; for the wine in the Holy Supper signifies holy truth and the bread holy good; but when they are divided the wine signifies profaned truth and the bread adulterated good; and further that they should make the Holy Supper corporeal and material, and adopt this as the primary principle of religion. Anyone who turns his attention to these particulars and considers them with a somewhat enlightened mind may observe the wonderful operations of the Divine Providence for guarding the holy things of the Church, and for saving all who can be saved, and who are willing to be saved, but who must be snatched as it were from the fire.
* Original Edition omits "non," inserted by Tafel Latin edition (1855) and Worcester Latin edition (1899).


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