335. II. THE OPERATION OF THE DIVINE PROVIDENCE IS EFFECTED UNCEASINGLY THROUGH MEANS OUT OF PURE MERCY. There are means and methods of the Divine Providence. Its means are the things from the exercise of which a man becomes a man and is perfected as to his understanding and his will; and its methods are the measures through which such things are effected. The means from the exercise of which a man becomes a man and is perfected as to his understanding are commonly termed truths. These become ideas in the thought, and in the memory they are said to be matters of memory; but in themselves they are rational conceptions from which the sciences are derived. All these means regarded in themselves are spiritual, but as they exist in natural things, from their covering or clothing they appear to be natural, and some of them to be material. These means are infinite in number and variety, and are more or less simple and compound, and also more or less imperfect and perfect. There are means for forming and perfecting natural civil life, also for forming and perfecting rational moral life, and also for forming and perfecting heavenly spiritual life.
 These means follow in succession, one after another, from infancy to the last age of man, and after that to eternity; and as they follow in their growth, so the former become the means of the later, since they enter into everything that is formed as mediate causes; for from such causes every effect or every conclusion becomes effective, and thus becomes a cause. Thus in succession the later become means; and as this process goes on to eternity, there is no last or ultimate which closes it. For as the eternal is without end so wisdom which increases to eternity is without end. If there were any end to wisdom in a wise man the delight of his wisdom, which consists in its perpetual multiplication and fructification, would perish; and so also would the delight of his life, and in its place would succeed the delight of glory, in which by itself there is no heavenly life. Then the wise man no longer becomes like a youth but like a man, old and at length decrepit.
 Although the wisdom of a wise man in heaven increases to eternity, yet there is no such approximation of angelic wisdom to the Divine Wisdom that it can reach it. It may be illustrated by what is said of a straight line drawn about a hyperbola, continually approaching but never touching it and by what is said about squaring the circle. Hence it may be evident what is meant by the means whereby the Divine Providence operates in order that a man may be a man and be perfected as to his understanding, these means being commonly termed truths. There is also an equal number of means by which man is formed and perfected as to his will, and these are commonly termed goods. From these man derives love, while from the former he derives wisdom. Their conjunction makes the man, for the nature of the man is according to the nature of their conjunction. This conjunction is what is called the marriage of good and truth.