(DP) - Angelic Wisdom about Divine Providence

DP 321

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321. These things will now be explained in the order proposed. First: He who confirms in himself the appearance that wisdom and prudence originate from man and are in man as his own must needs see that if this were not so he would not be a man, but either a beast or a statue, when yet the contrary is true. It is in accordance with a law of the Divine Providence that man should think as of himself and should act prudently as of himself, but yet should acknowledge that he does so from the Lord. Hence it follows that he who thinks and acts prudently as of himself and at the same time acknowledges that he does so from the Lord is a man. On the other hand, he is not a man who confirms in himself the idea that all he thinks and does is from himself; neither is he a man who, because he knows that wisdom and prudence originate from God, still waits for influx; for the latter becomes like a statue, and the former like a beast. It is clear that he who waits for influx is like a statue; for he must stand or sit motionless, with hands hanging down and eyes either shut or open without winking, neither thinking nor breathing. What life then has he?
[2] It is also clear that he who believes that everything he thinks and does is from himself is not unlike a beast, for he thinks only from the natural mind which man has in common with the beasts, and not from the spiritual rational mind which is the truly human mind; for this mind acknowledges that God alone thinks from Himself, and that man thinks from God. Therefore, one who thinks only from the natural mind knows no difference between a man and a beast except that a man speaks and a beast makes sounds, and he believes that they both die in a similar manner.
[3] Of those who wait for influx this further may be said. They receive none, except the few who from their heart desire it; and they occasionally receive some response by a vivid perception, or by tacit speech in the response, in their thought but rarely by any manifest speech. It is then to this effect that they should think and act as they wish and as they can, and that he who acts wisely is wise and he who acts foolishly is foolish. They are never instructed what to believe and what to do, and this in order that the human rational principle and human freedom may not perish; that is, that everyone may act from freedom according to reason, to all appearance as from himself. Those who are instructed by influx what to believe or what to do are not instructed by the Lord or by any angel of heaven but by some Enthusiast, Quaker, or Moravian spirit and are led astray. All influx from the Lord is effected by enlightenment of the understanding, and by the affection for truth, and through the latter passing into the former.
[4] Second: To believe and think, as is the truth, that all good and truth originate from the Lord and all evil and falsity from hell, appears as if it were impossible, when yet it is truly human and consequently angelic. To believe and think that all good and truth are from God appears possible, provided nothing further is said, because it is according to theological faith, and it is not allowable to think contrary to this. On the other hand, to believe and think that all evil and falsity are from hell appears to be impossible, because one would then believe that man could not think at all. Yet man does think as from himself even though from hell, because the Lord grants to everyone that thought, whatever its origin, should appear in him as his own. Otherwise a man would not live as a man, nor could he be led out of hell and introduced into heaven, that is, be reformed, as has been frequently shown above.
[5] Therefore also the Lord grants to man to know and consequently to think that he is in hell when he is in evil, and that he thinks from hell if he thinks from evil. He also grants to him to think of the means by which he may escape out of hell and not think from it, but may enter heaven and there think from the Lord; and He further grants to man freedom of choice. From these considerations it may be seen that man is able to think evil and falsity as if from himself, and also to think that this or that is evil or false; consequently that it is only an appearance that he does so of himself, for without this appearance he would not be a man. To think from truth is the human and consequently the angelic principle itself; and it is a truth that man does not think from himself, but that it is granted him by the Lord to think, to all appearance as from himself.
[6] Third: To believe and think thus is impossible to those who do not acknowledge the Divinity of the Lord, and who do not acknowledge evils to be sins, but it is possible to those who acknowledge these two things. It is impossible to those who do not acknowledge the Divinity of the Lord because it is the Lord alone who grants to man to think and to will; and those who do not acknowledge the Divinity of the Lord, being separated from Him, believe that they thin from themselves. It is impossible also to those who do not acknowledge evils to be sins, because they think from hell; and in hell everyone imagines that he thinks from himself. However, that it is possible to those who acknowledge these two things may be evident from what has been fully set forth above (n. 288-294).
[7] Fourth: Those who are in the acknowledgment of these two things reflect only upon the evils in themselves; and, so far as they shun them as sins and turn away from them, they cast them out from themselves to the hell from which they come. Everyone knows, or may know, that evil originates from hell and that good is from heaven. Consequently, everyone may know that so far as man shuns evil and turns away from it so far he shuns and turns away from hell. So, too, he may know that so far as anyone shuns evil and turns away from it so far he wills and loves good; and consequently so far is he brought out of hell by the Lord and led to heaven. These things every rational man may see, provided he knows that there is a heaven and a hell and that evil and good are from their own respective sources. Now if a man reflects upon the evils in himself, which is the same thing as examining himself, and shuns them, he then frees himself from hell and casts it behind him, and introduces himself into heaven where he sees the Lord face to face. It is stated that man does this, but he does it as of himself, and then from the Lord. When a man from a good heart and a pious faith acknowledges this truth, it lies inwardly concealed in everything that he afterwards thinks and does as from himself. It is like the prolific principle in a seed which inwardly remains with it even until the production of new seed; and like the pleasure in the appetite for food which a man has once recognised to be wholesome for him; in a word, it is like the heart and soul in everything that he thinks and does.
[8] Fifth: In this way the Divine Providence does not appropriate either evil or good to anyone, but one's own prudence appropriates both. This follows from all that has now been said. The end in view of the Divine Providence is good; accordingly it purposes good in every operation. Therefore it does not appropriate good to anyone, for such good would thereby become meritorious; nor does it appropriate evil to anyone, for it would thereby make him answerable for the evil. Yet man does both from his proprium because this is nothing but evil. The proprium of his will is the love of self, and the proprium of his understanding is the pride of his own intelligence, and from this arises man's own prudence.


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