(DP) - Angelic Wisdom about Divine Providence

DP 314

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314. The character of those who are infatuated by their own intelligence may be evident from their fancies* in matters of interior judgment, as, for example, concerning influx, thought and life. Concerning Influx, their thought is inverted; as that the sight of the eye flows into the internal sight of the mind, which is the understanding, and that the hearing of the ear flows into the internal hearing, which also is the understanding. They do not perceive that the understanding from the will flows into the eye and into the ear, and not only constitutes those senses but also uses them as its instruments in the natural world. Because this is not according to the appearance they do not perceive it, if it is only said that the natural does not flow into the spiritual but that the spiritual flows into the natural. They still think, What is the spiritual but a purer form of the natural? Also, Is it not apparent that if the eye sees anything beautiful, and the ear hears anything harmonious, the mind, that is, the understanding and the will, is delighted? They do not know that the eye does not see from itself, nor the tongue taste from itself, nor the nostrils smell from themselves,** nor the skin feel from itself; but that it is man's mind or spirit that there perceives such things by the sense and is affected by the sense in accordance with its nature. Nevertheless, man's mind or spirit does not perceive them of itself but from the Lord; and to think otherwise is to think from appearances, and if these are confirmed, from fallacies.
[2] Concerning Thought, they say it is something modified in the air, varied according to its objects and increased in proportion as it is cultivated; thus that ideas of thought are images, like meteors, that appear in the air; and that the memory is a tablet upon which they are recorded. They do not know that thoughts are as much in substances purely organic as sight and hearing are in theirs. Let them only examine the brain and they will see that it is full of such substances; if you injure them you will become delirious: if you destroy them you will die. But what thought is, and also what memory is, may be seen above (n. 279), towards the end.
[3] Concerning Life they know nothing else than that it is a certain activity of nature that causes itself to be felt in various ways as a living body moves by the action of its organs. If it is asserted that in this case nature lives, they deny this, but they maintain that nature bestows life. If it is asked, Then is not life dissipated when the body dies? they answer that life remains in that small particle of air that is called the soul. If they are asked, What then is God? is He not Life itself? they are silent and are unwilling to declare what they think. If it is asked, Would you admit that the Divine Love and the Divine Wisdom are life itself? they answer, What is love and what is wisdom? For immersed in their fallacies they do not see what these are, or what God is. These things are set forth that it may be seen how man is infatuated by his own prudence, as he forms all his conclusions from appearances and from fallacies based on them.
* Original Edition and the Tafel Latin edition (1855) have "illarum." The Worcester Latin edition (1899) changes "illorum" as the antecedent is masculine.
** Original Edition omits "se."


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