(DP) - Angelic Wisdom about Divine Providence

DP 298

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298. In order that these things may be made apparent to the rational man, whether he be a wicked man or a good man, thus whether he be in the light of winter or in the light of summer, for colours appear alike in both, they must be explained in their order.
First: One's own intelligence, when the will is in evil, sees nothing but falsity, and has neither the desire nor the ability to see anything else. This has often been shown in the spiritual world. Every man when he becomes a spirit, which takes place after death, for he then puts off the material body and puts on the spiritual, is introduced alternately into the two states of his life, the external and the internal. While he is in the external state he speaks and acts rationally, just as a rational and wise man does in the world; and he can also teach others many things that pertain to moral and civil life; and if he has been a preacher he can also teach things pertaining to spiritual life. But when from this external state he is introduced into his internal state, and the external is put to sleep and the internal awakes, if he is wicked the scene is changed. From being rational he becomes sensual, and from being wise he becomes spiritually insane; for he then thinks from the evil of his will and its delights, thus from his own intelligence, and he sees falsity only and does nothing but evil, believing that wickedness is wisdom and that cunning is prudence; and from his own intelligence he believes himself to be a deity and with his whole mind revels in wicked practices.
[2] I have frequently seen instances of such insanity; and I have also seen spirits introduced into these alternate states two or three times within an hour, and then it was granted them to see their insanities and also to acknowledge them. Nevertheless, they were unwilling to remain in a rational and moral state, but of their own accord they returned to their internal sensual and insane state; for they loved this more than the other because in it was the delight of their life's love. Who can believe that a wicked man is such beneath his outward appearance and that he undergoes such a transformation when he comes into his internal state? From this one experience may be evident what the nature of one's own intelligence is when he thinks and acts from the evil of his will. It is otherwise with the good; for when these are admitted into their internal state from their external they become still more wise and moral.
[3] Second: If one's own intelligence then sees the truth, it either turns itself away or falsifies it. Man has a voluntary proprium and an intellectual proprium; the voluntary proprium is evil and the intellectual proprium is falsity derived from it; the latter is meant by the will of man (vir) and the former by the will of the flesh (John i. 13). The voluntary proprium is in its essence the love of self, and the intellectual proprium is pride from that love. These are like two married partners, and their union is called the marriage of evil and falsity. Into this union every wicked spirit is admitted before he enters into hell; and when he is there he does not know what good is, for he calls his evil good because he feels it as a delight. He then also turns away from the truth and has no desire to see it, because he sees the falsity that accords with his evil as the eye sees what is beautiful, and he hears it as the ear hears what is harmonious.
[4] Third: The Divine Providence continually causes man to see truth and also gives him the affection of perceiving it and of receiving it. This is done because the Divine Providence acts from the interior, and through this it flows into the exteriors, that is, from the spiritual into the things that are in the natural man; and by the light of heaven enlightens his understanding and by the heat of heaven vivifies his will. The light of heaven in its essence is Divine Wisdom, and the heat of heaven in its essence is Divine Love; and from the Divine Wisdom nothing can flow in but truth, and from the Divine Love nothing can flow in but good, from which the Lord bestows in the understanding an affection for seeing truth and also for perceiving and receiving it. Thus a man becomes a man not only in external but also in internal aspect. Everyone wishes to appear a rational and a spiritual man, and everyone knows that he desires to appear so, in order that others may believe him to be a true man. If, therefore, he is rational and spiritual in his external form only, and not at the same time in his internal, is he a man? Is he other than as a player upon the stage or as an ape with a face almost human? May it not be known from this that he only is a man who is interiorly such as he desires others to suppose him to be? He who acknowledges the one must acknowledge the other. One's own intelligence can induce the human form on the externals only, but the Divine Providence induces that form on the internals and through these on the externals; and when it has been so induced a man does not only appear as a man but he is one.
[5] Fourth: By this means man is withdrawn from evil, not of himself but by the Lord. When the Divine Providence grants the perception of truth and at the same time the affection of it, man can be withdrawn from evil because truth points out and dictates; and when the will performs what truth dictates it unites itself with the truth and within itself it converts the truth into good; and the truth becomes the truth of its love, and what belongs to the love is good. All reformation is effected by means of truth, and not without it; for without truth the will is continually in its evil, and if it consults the understanding it is not instructed, but the evil is confirmed by falsities.
[6] With regard to intelligence, it appears both to the good man and to the wicked man to be his own and peculiar to him. Moreover, a good man just as much as a wicked man is bound to act from intelligence as if it were his own; but he who believes in the Divine Providence is withdrawn from evil, while he who does not believe is not withdrawn: and he believes who acknowledges evil to be sin and desires to be withdrawn from it, while he does not believe who does not acknowledge and desire this. The difference between these two kinds of intelligence is like the difference between that which is believed to exist in itself and that which is believed not to exist in itself but yet as in itself. It is also like the difference between an external without an internal which is similar in every respect and an external with a similar internal. Thus it is like the difference between mimics* and actors who by speech and gesture personate kings, princes and generals, and the kings, princes and generals themselves. The latter are such interiorly and at the same time exteriorly, but the former are such only exteriorly; and when this exterior is put off they are only comedians, actors and players.
* In the Original Edition the text reads "ita sicut inter loquelas et gestus mimorum et hariolorum, qui agunt personas regum, principum et ducum, et inter ipsos reges, principes et duces." Here the elements of the comparison are mixed.


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