(DP) - Angelic Wisdom about Divine Providence

DP 312

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312. II. MAN FROM HIS OWN PRUDENCE PERSUADES HIMSELF AND CONFIRMS THAT ALL GOOD AND TRUTH ORIGINATE FROM HIMSELF AND ARE IN HIMSELF AND IN LIKE MANNER ALL EVIL AND FALSITY. Suppose an argument instituted from the analogy between natural good and truth and spiritual good and truth. The question is asked: What are truth and good in the sight of the eye? Is not the truth there what is called beautiful and the good there what is called delightful? - for delight is felt in seeing beautiful things. Again, what are truth and good in the sense of hearing? Is not the truth there what is called harmonious, and the good there what is called pleasing? - for pleasure is felt in hearing harmonious sounds. It is the same with the other senses. Hence it is evident what natural truth and good are. Consider now what spiritual truth and good are. Is spiritual truth anything but the beauty and harmony of spiritual things and objects? Is spiritual good anything but the delight and pleasure derived from the perception of their beauty or their harmony?
[2] See now whether anything can be said of the one different from what may be said of the other, that is, of the spiritual different from what may be said of the natural. Of the natural it is said that the beauty and delight in the eye flow in from objects and that harmony and pleasure in the ear flow in from musical instruments. What is there different in the organic substances of the mind? It is said of the organic substances of the mind that beauty and delight are in them, but of the organs of the body that they flow into them; and if it is asked why it is said that they flow in, no other answer can be given than that there appears to be a distance between them, i.e., between the organs and what flows in. In the other case, if it is asked why it is said that they are in them, no other answer can be given than that there does not appear to be any distance between them. Consequently it is the appearance of distance that causes one kind of belief about what man thinks and perceives and another about what he sees and hears. This falls to the ground, however, when it is known that distance does not exist in the spiritual as it does in the natural. Think of the sun and moon, or of Rome and Constantinople: are they not in thought without distance between them, provided the thought is not united with experience acquired by sight or by hearing? Why then do you persuade yourself because distance does not appear in thought that good and truth, likewise evil and falsity, are there and do not flow in?
[3] To this I will add an experience common in the spiritual world. One spirit can infuse his thoughts and affections into another who is not aware that this is not an activity of his own thought and affection. This is called in that world thinking from and in another. I have seen it a thousand times and have also practised it a hundred times myself, and yet there was an appearance of considerable distance. As soon, however, as they learned that it was another who introduced those thoughts and affections they were angry and turned themselves away, thus confirming nevertheless that there is no appearance of distance in the internal thought or sight unless it is made manifest as it is to the external sight or the eye;* and consequently it is believed that there is influx.
[4] To this I will add my own daily experience. Evil spirits have often introduced into my thoughts evils and falsities which seemed to me as if they were in myself and originating from myself, or as if I myself thought them. But knowing them to be evils and falsities I endeavoured to find out who had introduced them, and when these spirits were detected they were driven away; and they were at a considerable distance from me. Hence it may be evident that all evil with its falsity flows in from hell and that all good with its truth flows in from the Lord, and that they both appear as if they were in man.
* Original Edition and Tafel Latin edition (1855) have "visu interno." Worcester Latin edition (1899) changes to "externo," and is followed by translators generally.


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