A Compendium of the Theological Writings of
Divine Providence is the government of the Lord's Divine Love and Divine Wisdom. (DP n. 1)
All that the Lord does is Providence; which, because as it is from the Divine, has within it what is eternal and infinite,—eternal because it looks to no limit from which, nor any limit to which it extends; infinite because it looks at once in every least particular to the universal, and in the universal to every least particular. This is called Providence. And there is such in each and all that the Lord does. His doing cannot be expressed by any other word than Providence. (AC n. 5264)
The Lord's Divine Providence has for its end a Heaven from the Human Race
Since heaven is from the human race, and is an abiding with the Lord to eternity, it follows that this was the Lord's end in the creation; and, as it was the end of creation it is the end of His Divine Providence. The Lord did not create the universe for His own sake, but for the sake of those with whom He will dwell in heaven; for spiritual love is of such a nature that it wills to give its own to another, and in so far as it can do this it is in its being, in its peace, and in its blessedness. This nature spiritual love derives from the Lord's Divine Love, which is such infinitely. Hence it follows that the Divine Love, and therefore the Divine Providence, has for its end a heaven; which shall consist of men become and who are becoming angels, to whom He can impart all the varieties of blessedness and happiness which are of love and wisdom, and impart them from Himself in them. (DP n. 27)
Divine Foresight with the Divine Providence
As regards Foresight and Providence in general: Relatively to man it is Foresight, relatively to the Lord it is Providence The Lord foresaw from eternity what the human race would be, and what each individual of the human race would be; and that evil would continually increase, until at length man of himself would rush headlong into hell. On this account the Lord not only provided means by which man might be turned from hell and led to heaven, but also by Providence He continually turns and leads him. The Lord foresaw, too, that no good could ever take root in man except in his freedom; for whatever does not take root in freedom, at the first approach of evil and temptation is dissipated. This the Lord foresaw, and also that of himself or of his freedom man would thus incline towards the deepest hell; and therefore the Lord provides, that if a man should not suffer himself to be led in freedom to heaven he might still be turned to a milder hell; and that if on the other hand he should suffer himself to be led in freedom to good he may be led to heaven. From this it is plain what Foresight and what Providence are, and that what is foreseen is thus provided for. It is therefore evident how greatly a man errs who believes that the Lord will not have foreseen, and does not see the least particulars relating to man, and that He does not in the least particulars foresee and lead; when yet the truth is that the Foresight and Providence of the Lord is in the very minutest of all the particulars relating to a mart,— even in things so exceedingly minute that it is impossible by any power of thought to comprehend one out of myriads of myriads of them. For every least moment of a man's life has a series of consequences following one after another to eternity. For every moment is as a new beginning of sequences; and so each and all the moments of his life, both as regards his understanding and his will. And as the Lord foresaw from eternity what he would be, even what he would be to eternity, it is evident that Providence is present in the very least particulars, which He governs and bends, as was said, in order that the man may be such,— and this by a continual moderation of his freedom. (AC n. 3854)
Divine Providence is Universal and Particular
The Divine Providence is universal, but universal from the fact that it is in the very least things, and that not even a hair falls from the head, that is, that there is nothing so minute, but it is foreseen and accordingly provided for. (AC n. 2694)
It is Jehovah from whom order proceeds. It may therefore be said that Jehovah is order itself; for He from Himself governs order, not as is believed in the universal only, but also in the very least particulars. For it is from the least particulars that the universal exists, and to speak of a universal, and separate the particulars from it, would be like talking of a whole in which there are no parts; thus like talking of something in which there is nothing. It is therefore most false, and a mere creature of the reason, as it is called, to say that the Lord's Providence is universal and not at the same time over the minutest particulars; for to provide and govern in the universal, and not at the same time in the least particulars, is not to provide and rule at all. This is philosophically true; and yet it is remarkable that philosophers themselves, even the more distinguished, conceive and think otherwise. (AC n. 1919)
If by Providence in the universal any one understands the conservation of the whole according to an order of universal nature enstamped upon it at its first creation, he does not consider that nothing can subsist unless it perpetually springs into being; for, as is known in the learned world, subsistence is a perpetual coming into existence, thus conservation is perpetual creation; consequently Providence is continually in the least particulars. (ibid. n. 6482)
In all that it does the Divine Providence looks to what is Infinite and Eternal from itself, especially in the Salvation of the Human Race
That the Divine Providence, in all that it does, looks to what is infinite and eternal from itself, is certain from the fact that everything created from the First, who is Infinite and Eternal, proceeds to ultimates, and from ultimates to the First from which it sprung; as was shown in the treatise on the Divine Love and Divine Wisdom, in the Part where it treats of the creation of the universe. And as the First from which it originates is inmostly in all progression, it follows that the Divine Proceeding or Divine Providence, in all that it does, has regard to some image of the infinite and eternal. This it has regard to in all things, but in some it is evident to the perception and in some not so. It presents that image to clearness of perception in the variety of all things, and in the fructification and multiplication of all things. An image of the infinite and eternal appears in the variety of all things, in the fact that there is no one thing which is the same as another, and that there cannot be to eternity. This is manifest to the eye in the faces of men, from the first creation likewise from their outer minds [animi], of which their faces are the types; and also from their affections, perceptions, and thoughts, for of these their outer minds consist.[See note, p. 457] Hence it is, that in the universal heaven there are not two angels or two spirits the same, nay, and cannot be to eternity. It is the same with every object of sight in both worlds, the natural as well as the spiritual. From these examples it is evident that variety is infinite and eternal. The image of the infinite and eternal in the fructification and multiplication of all things, is evident in the power implanted in seeds in the vegetable kingdom; and in prolification in the animal kingdom,—especially in the race of fishes, which if they fructified and multiplied according to their ability within an age would fill the space of the whole world, nay, of the universe. Whence it is plain, that in that power there lies hidden an endeavour to propagate itself to infinity; and as fructifications and multiplications have not failed since the beginning of creation, and will not fail to eternity, it follows that in that ability there is also an endeavour to propagate itself to eternity.
It is the same with men in respect to their affections, which are of love; and their perceptions, which are of wisdom. The variety of both these is infinite and eternal , so also are their fructifications and multiplications, which are spiritual. No man has delight in an affection and perception so like another's that they are the same, nor can this be to eternity; and affections can also be fructified and perceptions multiplied without end. That knowledges can never be exhausted is known. This capability of fructification and multiplication without end, or to infinity and eternity, with men is in natural things, with spiritual angels in spiritual things, and with celestial angels in celestial things. Such are not only affections, perceptions, and knowledges in general, but also every even the least thing of them in particular. They are such because they spring from the Infinite and Eternal in itself, by the infinite and eternal from itself. But as the finite possesses nothing of that which is Divine in itself, therefore there is no such thing, not even the least, in man or angel as his own; for man and angel are finite, and only receptacles, in themselves dead. Their living principle is from the proceeding Divine conjoined to them by contiguity, which appears to them as their own. That this is so will be seen in what follows.
The Divine Providence looks to what is infinite and eternal from itself in the salvation of the human race, especially because the end of the Divine Providence is a heaven from the human race; and this being the end, it follows that what the Divine Providence especially regards is the reformation and regeneration of man, and thus his salvation, for heaven consists of thesaved or regenerated. Since to regenerate man is to unite good and truth or love and wisdom in him, as they are united in the Divine which proceeds from the Lord, therefore the Divine Providence regards this especially in the salvation of the human race. The image of the infinite and eternal in man no otherwise exists than in the marriage of good and truth.
It has not as yet been known that in all its progress with man the Divine Providence looks to his eternal state. It can indeed look to nothing else; for the Divine is Infinite and Eternal, and the Infinite and Eternal or Divine is not in time, and therefore to Him all things future are present. And as such is the nature of the Divine it follows that the eternal is in each and every thing that it does. (DP n. 56-59)
Since the universal heaven in the Lord's sight is as one man, therefore heaven is distinguished into as many general societies as there are organs, viscera and members in man; and every general society into as many less general or particular societies as there are larger parts of each viscus and organ. (ibid. n. 65)
Now since by creation man is a heaven in the least form, and therefore an image of the Lord, and since heaven consists of as many affections as there are angels, and each affection in its form is a man, it follows that the continual [purpose] of the Divine Providence is, that man may become a heaven in form, and thereby an image of the Lord; and as this is effected through an affection for good and truth, that he may become that affection. This therefore is the continual [purpose] of the Divine Providence. But its inmost [purpose] is, that he may be here or there in heaven, or here or there in the Divine heavenly Man, for thus he is in the Lord. And this comes to pass with those whom the Lord can lead to heaven; and as the Lord foresees this, he also provides continually that man may become such; for thus every one who suffers himself to be led to heaven is prepared for his place in heaven.
It was said above that heaven is distinguished into as many societies as there are organs, viscera and members in man. Among these no one part can be in any other place than its own. Since therefore angels are such parts in the Divine heavenly Man, and no angels are created but who have been men in the world, it follows that a man who suffers himself to be led to heaven is continually prepared by the Lord for his place; which is done by such an affection for good and truth as corresponds. To this place also every angelic man after his departure from the world is assigned. This is the inmost of the Divine Providence respecting heaven.
tut the man who does not suffer himself to be led and assigned to heaven, is prepared for his place in hell. For of himself man continually tends to the lowest depth of hell, but is continually withdrawn by the Lord. And he who cannot be withdrawn is prepared for a certain place there, to which also he is assigned immediately after his departure from the world; and this place there is opposite to a certain place in heaven,--for hell is in the opposite over against heaven. Wherefore as a man angel is allotted his place in heaven according to his affection for good and truth, so a man devil is allotted his place in hell according to his affection for evil and falsity; for two opposites set in like position over against each other are held in connection. This is the inmost of the Divine Providence concerning hell. (ibid. n. 67-69)
What other end can the Divine Providence have than the reformation of the human race and its salvation? And no one can be reformed of himself by his own prudence, but of the Lord by His Divine Providence. It follows from this that unless the Lord leads man every minute, nay, every least moment, man would depart from the way of reformation and perish. Every change and variation of state of the human mind changes and varies something in the series of things present, and hence of the things consequent. Why not progressively to eternity? It is as an arrow shot from a bow; which, if in its aim it swerve in a very slight degree from the mark, at the distance of a thousand paces and more it would deviate immensely. So would it be if every least moment the Lord did not direct the states of human minds. This the Lord does, according to the laws of His Divine Providence; according to which also it is that it appears to man as if he led himself. But the Lord foresees how he leads himself, and continually accommodates [His Providence]. (ibid. n. 202)
That the Providence of the Lord is infinite, and looks to what is eternal, is evident from the formation of the embryo in the womb. Lineaments of things to come are there continually projected, so that one thing is always a plane for another, and this without any error, until the embryo is formed. And also afterwards when it is born, one thing is prepared in succession to another and for another, that the perfect man may come forth, and finally such a man as can receive heaven. If the least particulars are thus provided during man's conception, birth, and growth, why not in respect to his spiritual life? (AC n. 6491)
The Law of Divine Providence respecting Man's Freedom and Reason
It is a law of the Divine Providence that man should act from freedom according to reason. It is known that man has freedom to think and will as he pleases, but not freedom to say whatever he thinks, nor to do whatever he wills. The freedom therefore that is here meant is spiritual, and not natural freedom, except when they form one; for to think and will is spiritual, and to speak and act is natural. They are in fact clearly distinguished in man; for a man can think what he does not speak, and will what he does not do,—from which it is plain that the spiritual and natural in man are distinct. A man cannot therefore pass from one to the other except by determination. This determination may be compared to a door, which must first be unfastened and opened. But this door stands open, as it were, with those. who from reason think and will in accordance with the civil laws of the kingdom and the moral laws of society; for they speak what they think, and do as they will. On the other hand, with those who think and will contrary to those laws the door remains as it were closed. He who attends to his volitions and consequent acts will observe that such a determination intervenes,, and sometimes frequently in a single conversation, and in a single action. These things are premised that it may be known that by acting from freedom according to reason is meant thinking and willing freely, and then doing freely what is according to reason.
But as there are few who know that this can be a law of the Divine Providence,—from the fact especially that man thus has freedom to think evil and falsity also, and yet the Divine Providence continually leads man to think and will good and truth,—therefore, that this may be perceived, the development of the subject must advance clearly; which shall be in the following order: [The reader will understand that what follow are only extracts from the author's argument, and not the complete argument.]
I. Man has reason and free-will, or rationality and liberty; and these two faculties are from the Lord in man.... As many doubts may arise respecting both of these faculties when one reflects upon them, I will, at this threshold of the subject, only advance something concerning the freedom in man of acting according to reason. But first it should be known that all freedom is of love, insomuch that love and freedom are one; and as love is the life of man freedom also is of his life. For all the delight that man has is of his love; there is no delight from any other source. And to act- from the delight of his love is to act from freedom; for delight leads a man, as a river that which is carried by it along its course. Now, as there are many loves, some concordant and some discordant, it follows that there are likewise many varieties of freedom. But in general there are three kinds, natural, rational, and spiritual freedom. Natural freedom every man possesses hereditarily. From this a man loves nothing but himself and the world; his first life is nothing else. And as all evils spring from these two loves, and evils therefore become [a part] of the love, it follows that his natural freedom is [freedom] to think and will evils; and when he has confirmed them in himself he does them from freedom according to his reason So to act is from his faculty which is called liberty; and to confirm them is from his faculty which is called rationality.... Rational freedom is from the love of reputation, for the sake of honour, or for the sake of gain. It is the delight of this love to appear outwardly as a moral man; and because he loves this reputation he does not defraud, he does not commit adultery, he does not revenge, he does not blaspheme; and as he abstains from these of his own reason, from freedom according to his reason also he acts sincerely, justly, chastely, amicably. Nay, from reason he can speak well for these virtues. But if his rationality is only natural and not at the same time spiritual, this freedom is only external and not internal freedom; for he nevertheless does not inwardly love these goods, but only outwardly, for the sake of reputation, as was said. The goods that he does are therefore not good in themselves. He can even say that they ought to be done for the public good; but this he does not say from a love of the public good, but from the love of his own honour or gain. His freedom therefore derives nothing from a love of the public good; nor does his reason, for this assents to his love. This rational freedom therefore is interior natural freedom. This freedom also, by the Divine Providence of the Lord, is left remaining to every one. Spiritual freedom is from the love of eternal life. No one comes into this love and its delights but who regards evils as sins, and for that reason, does not purpose them, and who at the same time looks to the Lord. As soon as a man does that he is in this freedom; for no one has power not to purpose evils, because they are sins, and therefore not to do them, but from an interior or higher freedom, which is from his interior or higher love. This freedom at first does not appear as freedom; but yet it is, and afterwards so appears; and then he acts from very freedom according to very reason in thinking, willing, speaking, and doing good and truth. As natural freedom decreases and becomes subject, this freedom increases; and it conjoins itself with rational freedom and purifies it. Any one can come into this freedom if only he will reflect that life is eternal; and that the delight and happiness of life in time and for time is but as a fleeting shadow, to the delight and happiness of life in eternity and to eternity. And this a man can think if he will, because he has rationality and liberty; and because the Lord, from whom these two faculties are, continually gives him the ability to do so. (DP n. 71-73)
II. Whatever a man does from Freedom, whether an ad of reason or not of reason, if only it be according to his reason, appears to him as his own.... Every one with rationality unobscured can see or comprehend that man cannot be in any affection of knowing, nor in any affection of understanding, without the appearance that is his; for all delight and pleasure, thus every thing of the will, is from an affection which is of love. Who can desire to know and desire to understand any thing, unless he has some pleasure of affection [in it]? And who can have that pleasure of affection, unless that with which he is affected appears as his own? If nothing were his own, but all were another's, that is, if any one from his affections should pour any thing into the mind of another who had no affection for knowing and understanding it as if of himself, would he receive it? Nay, could he receive it? Would he not be like what is called a brute or stock? It is therefore very evident that although all things that man perceives and hence thinks and knows, and according to perception wills and does, flow in, yet it is of the Lord's Divine Providence that it should appear as man's own; for, as was said, otherwise man would receive nothing, and therefore could not be gifted with any intelligence and wisdom. It is known that good and truth are all, not man's but the Lord's, and yet that it appears to man as if they were his; and because all good and truth so appears, all things of the church and heaven also, and therefore all things of love and wisdom, as well as of charity and faith, so appear; and yet nothing of them is man's own. No one can receive these from the Lord, unless it appears to him that he perceives them as of himself. From these considerations the truth of this matter is evident; that whatever man does from freedom, whether it is of reason or not of reason, if only it is according to his reason, appears to him as his own. (ibid. n. 74, 76)
III. Whatever a man does from freedom according to his thought is appropriated to him and remains.... It is said that what a man does from freedom according to his thought also remains, because nothing whatever that a man has appropriated to himself can be eradicated; for it has become [a part] of his love and at the same time of his reason, or of his will, and at the same time of his understanding,—and therefore of his life. It can be set aside indeed, but not expelled; and when it is set aside it is transferred as from the centre to the circumference, and there abides. This is meant by saying that it remains. As for example, if in boyhood and youth a man has appropriated to himself a certain evil by doing it from the delight of the love of it,—as, if he has indulged in fraud, in blasphemy, in revenge, in fornication,—then as he had done these things from freedom according to thought, he has even made them his own; but if afterwards he repents, shuns them, and looks upon them as sins which must be held in aversion, and thus from freedom according to reason abstains from them, the goods are then appropriated to him to which those evils are the opposites. These goods then form the centre, and remove the evils towards the circumferences,—farther and farther according to his aversion and abhorrence of them. But yet they cannot be so cast out that it can be said they are extirpated; nevertheless, by that removal they may appear as if extirpated. This comes to pass through the fact that he is withheld by the Lord from evils and kept in goods. This takes place with respect to all hereditary evil, and likewise with respect to all man's actual evil. This too I have seen proved by the experience of some in heaven; who because they were kept by the Lord in good supposed themselves to be without evils. But that they might not believe the good in which they were was their own, they were let down from heaven and let into their evils, until they acknowledged that of themselves they were in evils, but in goods from the Lord. After this acknowledgment they were restored to heaven. Let it therefore be understood, that these goods are no otherwise appropriated to man than that they are constantly the Lord's in him; and that in so far as a man acknowledges this, in so far the Lord grants that the good appears to man as his; that is, that to the man he appears to love his neighbour or have charity as of himself, to believe or have faith as of himself, to do good and understand truth, and so to be wise as of himself. From which one who is enlightened can see the nature of and how strong is the appearance in which the Lord wills that man should be. And this the Lord wills for the sake of his salvation; for no one can be saved without this appearance. (ibid. n. 78, 79)
IV. By means of these two faculties man is reformed and regenerated by the Lord, and cannot be reformed and regenerated without them.... The reason why man is regenerated by means of the two faculties called rationality and liberty, and why he cannot be reformed and regenerated without them is, that by rationality he can understand and know what is evil and what is good, and consequently what is false and what is true; and by liberty he can will what he understands and knows. (ibid. n.. 82, 85)
V. Man can be reformed and regenerated by means of these two faculties in so far as he can be led by them to acknowledge that all the truth and good that he thinks and does is from the Lord, and not from himself.... From rationality man has ability to understand, and from liberty he has ability to will, both as of himself; but he cannot be able freely to will what is good, and hence to do it according to reason, unless he is regenerated. An evil man can only freely will evil, and do it according to his thought,—which by confirmations he makes to appear as of reason. For evil equally with good can be confirmed; but evil is confirmed by fallacies and appearances, which when confirmed became falsities; and when evil is confirmed it appears as if of reason.
Every one who has any thought from interior understanding can see that the power to will and the power to understand is not from man, but from. Him who has Power itself, that is, to whom Power in its essence belongs. Only consider from whence power comes. Is it not from Him who has it in its very potency? That is, who has it in Himself, and so from Himself? Power therefore is in itself Divine. To every power there must be an abundant supply which must be imparted, and thus a determination by an interior or higher self. The eye cannot see of itself; nor the ear hear of itself; neither can the mouth speak of itself; or the hand act of itself; there must be a supply [of power], and a consequent determination from the mind. Nor can the mind think and purpose this or that of itself, unless there be something interior or higher which determines the mind to it. It is the same with the power to understand, and the power to will. These powers cannot be conferred by any other than Him who in Himself is able to will and able to understand. From which it is plain that these two faculties which are called rationality and liberty are from the Lord, and not from man. And as they are from the Lord, it follows that man wills nothing whatever from himself, neither understands from himself, but only as if from himself. That it is so any one can confirm within him, who knows and believes that the will of all good and the understanding of all truth is from the Lord and not from man. That a man can receive nothing of himself, and do nothing of himself, the Word teaches in John iii. 27, xv. 5. (ibid. n. 87, 88)
It is said that a man can be reformed and regenerated in so far as, by means of these two faculties, he can be led to acknowledge that all the good and all the truth that he thinks and does is from the Lord, and not from himself. The reason why a man cannot acknowledge this except through these two. faculties is that these are from the Lord, and are the Lord's in man, as is clear from what has been said above. It follows therefore that a man cannot do this from himself, but from the Lord. But yet he can do it as of himself; this [power] the Lord gives to every one. Grant that he believes it to be from himself; yet when he is wise he will acknowledge that it is not from himself. Otherwise, the truth that he thinks and the good that he does are not true and good in themselves, for the man and not the Lord is in them; and good in which man is, if it be done for the sake of salvation, is good done for merit; but good in which the Lord is is not for merit. (ibid. n. 87, 89, 90)
VI. The conjunction of the Lord with man, and the reciprocal conjunction of man with the Lord, is effected through these two faculties.... Every one can see, from reason alone, that there is no conjunction of minds unless it be reciprocal, and that reciprocation conjoins. If one loves another and is not loved in return, then as the one advances the other recedes; but if he is loved in return, as the one advances the other advances also, and a conjunction takes place. Love desires to be also loved; this is implanted in it; and in so far as it is loved in return it is in itself and in its own delight. From these considerations it is plain that if only the Lord loved man, and were not loved by man in return, the Lord would approach and man would withdraw; thus the Lord would continually will to come to man and enter in to him, and man would turn back and go away. It is so with those who are in hell; but with those who are in heaven there is mutual conjunction. Since the Lord wills conjunction with man for the sake of his salvation, He also provides that with man there shall be reciprocation. Reciprocation with man is, that the good which he purposes and does from freedom, and the truth which from that purpose he thinks and speaks according to reason, appear as from him; and that that good in his will and that truth in his understanding appear as his. They actually do appear to man as if from himself and as his,—entirely as if they were his; there is no difference. Observe whether any one, by any sense, perceives otherwise. The only difference is that man ought to acknowledge that he does not do good and think truth from himself, but from the Lord; and therefore that the good which he does and the truth which he thinks are not his. Thus to think, from some love of the will, because it is the truth, effects conjunction; for so man looks to the Lord, and the Lord looks to man. (ibid. n. 92)
VII. .The Lord keeps these two faculties in man inviolate, and as sacred, in every proceeding of His Divine Providence. The reasons are that without these two faculties man would not have understanding and will, and thus would not be man; and that he could not be conjoined with the Lord without these two faculties, and so could not be reformed and regenerated; and also, that without these two faculties man would not have :immortality and eternal life. (ibid. n. 96)
VIII. It is therefore of the Divine Providence that man should act from freedom according to reason. To act from freedom according to reason, and to act from liberty and rationality, are the same; as also to act from the will and understanding. But it is one thing to act from freedom according to reason or from liberty and rationality, and another to act from true freedom according to true reason, or from true liberty and true rationality.
For the man who does evil from the love of evil, and confirms it in himself, acts indeed from freedom according to reason; but yet his freedom in itself is not freedom, or is not true freedom, but infernal freedom, which in itself is servitude; and his reason in itself is not reason, but is either spurious or false reason, or merely apparent through confirmations. And yet both are of the Divine Providence. For if the freedom to will evil, and to make it [appear] as of reason by confirmations, were taken away from the natural man, his liberty and rationality would perish, and at the same time his will and understanding, and he could not be led away from evils and be reformed; thus he could not be conjoined to the Lord and live to eternity. Therefore does the Lord so guard freedom in man, as a man guards the apple of his eye. But still by means of his freedom the Lord continually leads man away from evils; and in so far as He can lead him by his freedom, in so far through freedom He implants goods. Thus He successively introduces heavenly freedom in the place of infernal freedom. (ibid. n. 97)
The Law of the Divine Providence respecting the Removal of Sins in the internal and external Man
It is a law of the Divine Providence that man, as of himself, should remove evils, as sins, in the external man; and that thus and not otherwise the Lord can remove the evils in the internal man, and then at the same time in the external. (DP n. 100)
The internal cannot be purified from the concupiscences of evil so long as the evils in the external man are not removed, because they obstruct.... The external of a man's thought, in itself, is of the same character as the internal of his thought; and they cohere, as things of which one is not only within the other, but one also is from the other. One cannot therefore be separated [from a man] unless at the same time the other. It is so with everything external which is from an internal, and with everything posterior which is from a prior, and with every effect which is from a cause. Now since with the evil concupiscences together with subtleties constitute the internal of thought, and the delights of concupiscences together with their machinations constitute the external of thought with them, and these are conjoined with those in one, it follows that the internal cannot be purified from concupiscences, so long as the evils in the external man are not removed. It should be known that it is a man's internal will which is in concupiscences, and his internal understanding which is in subtleties; and that it is his external will which is in the delights of concupiscences, and his external understanding which is in machinations from subtleties. Any one can see that concupiscences and their delights form one; and that subtleties and their machinations form one; and that these four are in a series, and together make as it were one bundle. From which again it is plain that the internal which consists of concupiscences cannot be cast out, except by the removal of the external which consists of evils. Concupiscences through their delights produce evils; but when evils are considered allowable: which comes to pass by consent of the will and the understanding, then the delights and the evils make one. It is well known that consent is an act. This also is what the Lord says:—If any man looketh on the woman of another to lust after her, he hath committed adultery with her already in his heart" (Matt. v. 28). It is the same with the other evils. (DP n. 111)
When a man as of himself removes evils, then the Lord purifies the man from the concupiscences of evil. The reason is, that the Lord cannot` purify him before. For evils are in the external man, and the concupiscences of evil in the internal; and they are connected as roots with the trunk. Unless the evils are removed therefore there is no opening, for they obstruct and close the door; which cannot be opened by the Lord except by means of the man, as has been shown just above. When as of himself a man thus opens the door, then at the same time the Lord extirpates the concupiscences. A further reason is that the Lord acts in the inmost of man, and from the inmost in the sequences, down to the ultimates; and in the ultimates man is together [with the Lord]. So long therefore as the ultimates are kept closed by the man himself there cannot be any purification; but only a work can be wrought by the Lord in the interiors, of such a nature as is that of the Lord in hell,—of which the man who is in concupiscences and at the same time in evils is a form; which work is only an arrangement that one thing may not destroy another, and that good and truth may not be violated. That the Lord continually urges and entreats man to open the door to Him, is plain from the Lord's words in the Apocalypse: "Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear lily voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me" (iii. 20)
Man knows nothing at all of the interior state of his mind, or of his internal man; yet infinite things take place there, not one of which comes to his knowledge. For the internal of man's thought, or his internal man, is his spirit itself; and there are things as infinite or as innumerable therein as in man's body; nay, even more innumerable; for man's spirit in its form is a man, and all the things pertaining to it correspond to all things of man in his body. Now as a man knows nothing, by any sensation, of how his mind or soul operates in all things of his body, together and separately, so neither does a man know how the Lord operates in all things of his mind or soul, that is, in all things of his spirit. The operation is continual; man has no part in it; and yet the Lord cannot purify a man from any concupiscence of evil in his spirit or internal man, so long as the man keeps the external closed. It is by evils that man keeps his external closed; each of which appears to him as one, although there are infinite things in each. When a man removes this as one, then the Lord removes the infinite things within it. This is what is meant by the Lord then purifying man from the concupiscences of evil in the internal man, and from the evils themselves in the external. (ibid. n. 119, 120)
The Lord acts from inmosts and from ultimates simultaneously; because thus and not otherwise each and all things are held in connection. For the intermediates are in successive dependance, from the inmosts to the ultimates; and in the ultimates they are together, for in the ultimates is the simultaneous [order] of all things, from the first The Lord cannot act at the same time from inmosts and from ultimates except together with man; for man is with the Lord in the ultimates. As man therefore acts in the ultimates, which are under his control because subject to his free will, so the Lord acts from his inmosts and in the things following, down to the ultimates. The things that are in man's inmost parts, and in those that follow from the inmosts to the ultimates, are entirely unknown to a man; and man is therefore altogether ignorant of how and what the Lord there operates. But as they are connected as one with the ultimates, it is on this account unnecessary for man to know more than that he should shun evils as sins, and look to the Lord. Thus and not otherwise his life's love, which by birth is infernal, can be removed by the Lord, and the love of a heavenly life be implanted in its place. (ibid. n. 125)
The Law of the Divine Providence respecting Compulsion in matters of Faith and of Religion
It is a law of the Divine Providence that a man should not be compelled to think and to will, and so to believe and love, the things which pertain to religion, by external means; but that a man should bring and sometimes compel himself to it. This law of the Divine Providence follows from the two preceding.... Every one knows that no man can be compelled to think what he will not think, and to will what he thinks not to will; nor therefore to believe what he does not believe, and by no means what he will not believe; and especially can he not 'be compelled to love what he does not love, and by no means what he will not love. For the spirit or mind of a man is in full liberty to think, will, believe, and love A man may be compelled to say that he thinks and wills this and that, and that he believes and loves this and that; but if they are not and do not become objects of affection and thence of his reason he yet does not think, will, believe, and love them. A man may even be compelled to speak in favour of religion, and to act according to it; but he cannot be compelled to think in favour of it from any faith, and to desire it from any love. In kingdoms where justice and judgment are protected every one is in fact compelled not to speak against religion, and not to act against it; but yet no one can be compelled to think and will in favour of it. For it is within the liberty of every one to think with hell, and to will in favour of hell, as well as , also to think and will in favour of heaven; but reason teaches what is the nature of the one and of the other course, and what lot awaits the one and the other; and from reason the will has its option and election. It may appear from these considerations that the external cannot compel the internal; but yet this is sometimes done. But that it is injurious will be shown in the following order:—
I. No one is reformed by miracles and signs, because they compel.... It cannot be denied that miracles induce a faith and strongly persuade that that is true which he who performs the miracles teaches and says; and that this at first so occupies the external of a man's thought that it as it were binds and fascinates him. But a man is thereby deprived of his two faculties called rationality and liberty, so that he cannot act from freedom according to reason; and then the Lord cannot flow in through the internal into the external of his thought, but can only leave the man to confirm by his rationality that which by miracle was made a matter of his faith. Man's state of thought is such, that from the internal of thought he sees a subject in the external of thought as in a kind of mirror; for as was said above, a man can see his thought,—which can only be from an interior thought. And when he sees the subject as in a mirror, he can turn it over, this way and that way, and shape it until it appears to himself beautiful. This subject if it is a truth may be compared to a virgin or youth, living and beautiful. But if a man cannot turn a subject this way and that way, and shape it, but only believe it from a persuasion induced by miracle, if then it is a truth it may be compared to a virgin or youth sculptured out of stone or wood, in which there is no life. And it may also be compared to an object that is perpetually before the sight, which only is seen, and puts out of sight all that is on either side and that is behind it. And it may be compared to a sound continually in the ear, that takes away the perception of harmony from many sounds. Such blindness and deafness are induced upon the human mind by miracles. It is the same with every thing confirmed, which is not looked at from some rationality before it is confirmed.
It is evident from these considerations that a faith induced by miracles is not faith, but persuasion; for there is nothing rational in it, still less is there anything spiritual. It is in fact only the external without the internal. It is the same with all that a man does from that persuasive faith; whether he acknowledges God, or worships Him, at home or in temples, or does good. When only a miracle induces a man to acknowledgment, worship, and piety, he acts from the natural man and not from the spiritual. For a miracle introduces faith by an external way, and not through the internal way; thus from the world, and not from heaven; and the Lord does not enter into man by any other than the internal way, which is by means of the Word, through doctrine and preachings from it. And because miracles close this way, therefore at this day no miracles are wrought. That such is the nature of miracles is very evident from the miracles wrought before the Jewish and Israelitish people. Although they saw so many miracles in the land of Egypt and afterwards at the Red Sea, and others in the desert, and especially upon Mount Sinai when the law was promulgated, yet within a month, while Moses was tarrying upon that mountain, they made themselves a golden calf, and acknowledged it as Jehovah who led them forth out of the land of Egypt (Ex. xxxii. 4-6). And it is evident again from the miracles performed afterwards in the land of Canaan; and yet they as often departed from the worship commanded them. It is equally evident from the miracles which the Lord wrought before them; and yet they crucified Him. The reason why miracles were wrought among them was, that they were merely external men, and were led into the land of Canaan only that they might represent a church and its internals by the externals of worship,—and a bad man can represent equally with a good Man. For the externals are rituals, all of which among them signified things spiritual and celestial .. . And because they could not be led by the internals of worship to represent these things, they were led, nay, driven and compelled to it, by miracles. That they could not be led by the internals of worship was because they did not acknowledge the Lord,—although the whole Word, which was with them, treats of Him alone; and he who does not acknowledge the Lord cannot receive any internal of worship. But after the Lord manifested Himself, and was received and acknowledged in the churches as the eternal God, miracles ceased. (DP n. 129-132)
II. No one is reformed by visions and by conversations with the departed, because they compel.... That no one is reformed by conversations with the departed is evident from the Lord's words concerning the rich man in hell, and concerning Lazarus in Abraham's bosom. For the rich man said, "I pray thee, father Abraham, that thou wouldest send Lazarus to my father's house for I have five brethren, that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. And he said, Ray, father Abraham, but if one went unto them from the dead they would repent. And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rose from the dead" (Luke xvi. 27-31). Speaking with the dead would produce the same effect as miracles, of which just above; namely, that a man would be persuaded and driven to worship for a short time; but because this deprives a man of rationality, and at the same time shuts in his evils, as was said above, this fascination or internal bond is loosed, and the pent-up evils break forth with blasphemy and profanation. But this takes place only when spirits lead into some dogma of religion; which is never done by any good spirit, still less by any angel of heaven.
And yet conversation with spirits occurs,—but rarely with the angels of heaven,—and has occurred for many ages back. But when it takes place they speak with a man in his mother tongue; yet only a few words. But those who speak by permission of the Lord never say any thing that takes away the freedom of reason; nor do they teach. For the Lord alone teaches man; but mediately through the Word, .in illustration. (ibid. n. 134, 135)
III. No one is reformed by threats and punishments, because they compel.... To compel man to Divine worship by threats and punishments is injurious.... Forced worship shuts evils in; which then lie hidden like fires in wood beneath the ashes, that continually foment and spread until they burst forth into a flame. But worship that is not forced, but spontaneous, does not shut evils in; and they are therefore like fires that at once burn out and are dissipated.... The internal of thought cannot be coerced by any fear but it can be constrained by love and by the fear of losing it. The fear of God, in the genuine sense, is nothing else. To be constrained by love, and by the fear of losing it, is to compel one's-self. It will be shown below that to compel one's-self is not against liberty and rationality.
Forced worship is corporeal, inanimate, unintelligible, and sad; corporeal, because it is of the body and not of the mind; inanimate, because the life is not in it; unintelligible, because the understanding is not in it; and sad because the delight of heaven is not in it. But worship that is not forced, when it is genuine, is spiritual, living, luminous, and joyful; spiritual, because there is a spirit from the Lord in it; living, because there is life from the Lord in it; luminous, because there is wisdom from the Lord in it; and joyful, because there is heaven from the Lord in it. (ibid. n. 136, 137)
IV. No one is reformed in states that are not of rationality and liberty.... There are many states that are not states of rationality, and of liberty. But in general they may be referred to the following: to states of fear, of misfortune, of mental dis- order, of bodily disease, of ignorance, and of blindness of the understanding. But something shall be said of each state in particular.
The reason why no one is reformed in a State of Fear, is that fear takes away freedom and reason, or liberty and rationality. For love opens the interiors of the mind; but fear closes them. And when they are closed a man thinks little, and only of those subjects which then present themselves to his outer mind [animus] or to his senses. Of such effect are all the fears that invade the outer mind. It was shown above that man has an internal of thought and an external of thought. Fear can never invade the internal of his thought; this is always in freedom, because in his life's love. But it can invade the external of thought, and when it invades this, the internal of thought is closed; which being closed, the man can no longer act from freedom according to his reason, and therefore cannot be reformed. The fear which invades the external of thought and closes the internal is chiefly the fear of loss of honour or of gain. But the fear of civil punishments and of outward ecclesiastical punishments does not close it, because these laws only prescribe punishments for those who speak and act contrary to the civil [interests] of the kingdom and the spiritual [interests] of the church; and not for those who think contrary to them. The fe ar of infernal punishments does indeed invade the external of thought, yet only for a few moments, or hours, or days; but it is soon remitted to the freedom it derives from the internal of thought, which is properly of his spirit and life's love, and is called the thought of the heart. On the other hand, the fear of loss of honour and of gain invades the external of a man's thought, and when it invades it closes the internal of thought from above against influx from heaven, and renders it impossible that the man can be reformed. The reason is that the life's love of every man by birth is the love of self and the world; and the love of self makes one with the love of honour, while the love of the world makes one with the love of gain. When therefore a man is in honour or in possession of wealth, from fear of the loss of them he confirms in himself the means which serve him for honour and gain, which are civil as well as ecclesiastical, both being of authority [utraque imperii]. So does he who is not yet in honour or in possession of wealth, if he aspires to them; but from fear of the loss of reputation on account of them. It is said that this fear invades the external of thought, and closes the internal from above against influx from heaven. This is said to be closed when it absolutely makes one with the external; for then it is not in itself, but in the external. But as the loves of self and of the world are infernal loves, and are the fountain heads of all evils, it is plain what the character of the internal of thought is, in itself, with those in whom these loves are the life's loves, or in whom they govern; namely, that it is full of the concupiscences of evils of every kind. They do not know this who from fear of loss of dignity and opulence are strongly persuaded of the religion in which they are; especially if in a religion which involves that they are worshipped as deities, and at the same time as Plutos in hell. These can burn as if with zeal for the salvation of souls, and yet from infernal fire. As this fear especially takes away rationality itself and liberty itself, which from their origin are heavenly, it is manifest that it so stands in the way that a man cannot be reformed.
The reason why no one is reformed in a State of Misfortune, if then only he thinks of God and implores His aid, is that it is a state of constraint; and therefore when he comes into a state of freedom he returns into the former condition, in which he had thought little if anything about God. It is different with those who feared God before, in a state of freedom. By fearing God is meant fearing to offend Him,—and to offend Him is to sin; and this is not of fear, but of love. Who that loves one does not fear to do him wrong? and fear it the more the more he loves? Without this fear love is vapid and superficial,—of the thought only, and not of the will. By states of misfortune are meant states of desperation from perils,—as in battles, duels, shipwrecks, falls, fires, imminent or unexpected loss of wealth, also loss of office an d hence of honour, and other such things. In these states alone to think of God is not from God, but from self. For the mind is then imprisoned as it were in the body; thus is not in liberty, nor therefore in rationality, without which there is no reformation.
The reason why no one is reformed in a Disordered State of the lower Mind [animus] is that disorder of the lower mind takes away rationality, and therefore the freedom of acting according to reason; for then the higher mind [mens] is disordered and unsound, and not a disordered but a sound mind is rational. Such disorders are states of melancholy, spurious and false consciences fantasies of various kinds, griefs of mind [animus] on account of misfortunes and anxieties, and anguish of mind [mens] from a vitiated condition of the body; things which are sometimes regarded as temptations, but are not so. For genuine temptations have for their objects things that are spiritual, and in these temptations the mind is sensible; but those troubled states have natural things for their objects, and in those states the mind is unsound.
No one is reformed in a State of bodily Disease, because the reason is then not in a free state; for the state of the mind depends on the condition of the body. When the body is ill the mind also is ill; if from nothing else, yet on account of its withdrawal from the world; for a mind withdrawn from the world thinks indeed of God, but not from God, because it has not freedom of reason. Man has freedom of reason from the fact that he is intermediate between heaven and the world, and that he can think both from heaven and from the world; equally from heaven concerning the world, and from the world about heaven. When therefore a man is in sickness and thinks of death, and of the state of his soul after death, he is then not in the world, but is withdrawn into the spirit; in which state alone no one can be reformed. But if he was reformed before his sickness he may be confirmed by it. It is the same with those who renounce the world and all business therein, and give themselves up solely to thoughts about God, heaven and salvation; but of this subject more in another place. If therefore they were not reformed before their sickness, after it, in case they die, they become such as they were before. It is vain then to suppose that any can repent or receive any faith in sickness; for there is nothing of action in that repentance, and nothing of charity in that faith. In both therefore it is all of the mouth, and nothing of the heart.
The reason why no one is reformed in a State of Ignorance, is that all reformation is effected by means of truths and a life according to them. They therefore who do not know truths cannot be reformed. But if they desire truths from an affection for them, they are reformed in the spiritual world after death.
Nor can any one be reformed in a State of Blindness of the Understanding. These also do not know truths, nor therefore life; for the understanding must teach truths, and the will do them; and when the will does what the understanding teaches, then its life comes into accordance with truths. But when the understanding is blinded the will too is closed, and does from freedom according to its reason nothing but the evil confirmed in the understanding, which is falsity. Besides the want of knowledge, a religion that teaches a blind faith also blinds the understanding. So also does the teaching of falsity; for as truths open the understanding, so falsities close it. They close it above, but open it below; and the understanding open only below cannot see truths, but can only confirm whatever it wishes, especially falsity. The understanding is blinded also by the lusts of evil. So long as the will is in them it actuates the understanding to confirm them; and in so far as the lusts of evil are confirmed the will cannot be in the affections of good, and from them see truths, and so be reformed. (ibid. n. 138-144)
V. It is not contrary to rationality and liberty to compel one's self.... Since the internal and external of the mind are so distinct as has been shown above, the internal can even fight with the external, and by conflict force it to agreement. Conflicts arise when a man thinks evils to be sins, and for that reason determines to abstain from them; for when he abstains the door is opened, and then the concupiscences of evil which occupy the internal of thought are cast out by the Lord, and affections of good are implanted in their place. This is in the internal of thought. But as the delights of the concupiscences of evil, which occupy the external of thought, cannot at the same time be cast out, a conflict therefore arises between the internal and the external of thought; the internal determines to cast out these delights,—because they are delights of evil and are not consonant with the affections of good in which the internal now is,—and to introduce delights of good, which are consonant, in place of the delights of evil. Delights of good are what are called goods of charity. The conflict springs from this contrariety, which, if it becomes severe is called temptation. Now, as a man is man by virtue of the internal of his thought,— for this is man's very spirit,—it is evident that when a man compels the external of his thought to agreement, or to receive the delights of his affections, which are goods of charity, he compels himself. It is plain that this is not contrary to rationality and liberty, but in accordance with them; for rationality produces the conflict, and liberty carries it on. Moreover, genuine liberty together with genuine rationality resides in the internal man, and from this in the external. When therefore the internal conquers,—which takes place as soon as the internal has reduced the external to consent and obedience,—then genuine liberty and genuine rationality is given to man by the Lord for then the man is taken by the Lord out of infernal freedom, which in itself is servitude, and is brought into heavenly freedom, which in itself is genuine freedom, and he has consociation with the angels. That they who are in sins are servants, and that the Lord makes free those who through the Word receive truth from Him, He teaches in John viii. 31-36. (ibid. n. 145)
All who voluntarily serve for the sake of freedom compel themselves. And when they compel themselves they act from freedom according to reason; but from an interior freedom, from which exterior freedom is looked upon as servitude. (ibid. n 148)
The Divine Providence unseen and unfelt, yet is to be known and acknowledged
It is a law of the Divine Providence that man should not perceive and feel anything of the operation of Divine Providence, but yet that he should know and acknowledge it. The natural man, who does not believe in the Divine Providence, thinks within himself, How can there be a Divine Providence, when the evil are raised to honours and acquire wealth rather than the good? and when many such things succeed with those who do not believe in the Divine Providence better than with those that do believe? Nay, that the faithless and impious can inflict injuries, losses, and misfortunes, and sometimes death, upon the faithful and devout, and this with craft and malice? And so he thinks, Do I not see, from very experience, as in the clear light of day, that wily machinations, if only a man by ingenious shrewdness can make them appear as if reliable and just, prevail over fidelity and justice? What remains but necessities, consequences, and chance, in which there appears nothing of Divine Providence? Are not necessities of nature? Are not consequences conditions flowing from natural or civil order? And are not matters of chance from causes that are unknown, or from no cause? Such things does the natural man think within himself, who ascribes nothing to God but all things to nature; for he who attributes nothing to God does not attribute anything to the .Divine Providence either; for God and the Divine Providence make one. But the spiritual man says or thinks otherwise within himself. Although he does not in thought perceive, nor by the sight of the eye discern the Divine Providence in its progression, yet he knows and acknowledges it. Now since the above-mentioned appearances and delusions therefrom have blinded the understanding, and it can receive no sight unless the delusions and the falsities are dispelled which have induced the blindness and the thick darkness, and this can only be done by truths, in which there is power to dispel falsities, therefore these truths are to be set forth.
If man perceived and felt the operation of Divine Providence he would not act from freedom according to reason, nor would any thing appear to him as from himself. So if man foreknew events. . . . If man perceived and felt the operation of the Divine Providence he would yet be led by it; for the' Lord leads all by His Divine Providence, and man only apparently leads himself, as has been shown above. If therefore he had a living perception and sensation that he is led he would not be conscious of life, and would then be moved to utterance and action scarcely otherwise than as a graven image. If he were still conscious of life, then he would be led but as one bound with handcuffs and fetters, or as a beast under the yoke before a cart. Who does not see that man would then have no freedom? And if he had no freedom neither would he have any reason; for every one thinks from freedom and in freedom, and whatever he does not think from freedom and in freedom does not appear to him to be from himself, but from another. Nay, if you weigh the matter interiorly you will perceive that he would neither have thought, nor still less reason, and would therefore not be man. (DP n. 175, 176)
It is also in order that he may act from freedom according to reason that it is not given man to know future events. For it is known that whatever a man loves, he desires its effect; and to this, by reason, he directs himself. Then, that there is nothing that a man revolves in his reason, which is not from the love that through thought it may come into effect. If therefore the effect or event were known by Divine prediction the reason would acquiesce, and with the reason the love; for love with reason terminates in the effect, and then from this begins anew. The very delight of reason is, that from love it sees the effect in thought; not in the effect but before it, or not in the present but in the future. Hence it is that man has what is called hope; which increases and diminishes in the reason as he sees or expects the event. This delight is completed in the event; but after that it is obliterated, together with the thought of it. So would it be with an event foreknown. Because the foreknowledge of future events takes away the very human, which is to act from freedom according to reason, therefore it is given no one to know the future; but it is permitted any one from reason to form conclusions respecting future events; reason, with all its attributes, is then in its proper life. It is on this account that man does not know his lot after death; or know any event before he is in it. For if he knew he would no longer from his interior self consider how to act and live that he might attain it; but would only from his outer self think that he is to attain it,—and this state closes the interiors of his mind wherein the two faculties of his life, which are liberty and rationality, chiefly reside. The desire to foreknow the future is innate with very many, but this desire originates from the love of evil. It is therefore taken away from those who believe in the Divine Providence, and trust is given to them., in that the Lord disposes their lot. And therefore they do not desire to foreknow it, lest in some way they should intrude themselves upon the Divine Providence. This the Lord teaches by the several admonitions in Luke 14-48. (ibid. n. 178, 179)
The Divine Providence seen from Behind and not in the Face
It is given man to see the Divine Providence from behind, but not in the face; and in a spiritual state, but not in his natural state. To see the Divine Providence from behind and not in the face, is to see it after and not before; and to see it from a spiritual but not from a natural state, is to see it from heaven and not from the world. All who receive influx from heaven, and acknowledge the Divine Providence,—and especially those who by reformation have become spiritual,--when they see events in a certain wonderful series, they see and confess it as it were from an interior acknowledgment. They do not wish to see it in the face, that is before it comes to pass; for they fear lest their will should enter into any thing of its order and tenor. It is otherwise with those who do not admit any influx from heaven, but only from the world; especially with those who by confirmation of appearances in themselves have become natural. They see nothing of the Divine Providence from behind or after it, but wish to see it in the face, or before it comes to pass; and as the Divine Providence operates through means, and the means are produced through man or through the world, therefore, whether they see it in the face or from behind, they attribute it either to man or to nature, and so confirm themselves in the denial of it. The reason why they thus attribute it is that their understanding is closed from above, and open only from beneath, —thus is closed towards heaven and open towards the world; and the Divine Providence is not seen from the world, but from heaven. I have sometimes thought within me, whether they would acknowledge the Divine Providence if their understanding were opened above, and they saw as in clear daylight that nature in itself is dead and human intelligence in itself is nothing, but that it is from influx that both appear to be. And I perceived that those who have confirmed themselves in favour of nature and of human prudence, would not acknowledge; because natural light flowing in from below would instantly extinguish the spiritual light flowing in from above. (DP 187)
The Divine Providence and Human Prudence
Man's own Prudence is nothing, and only appears to be, and moreover ought so to appear; but the Divine Providence from, the very least particulars is universal. It is entirely contrary to the appearance that man's own prudence is nothing, and it is therefore contrary to the belief of many. And because it is so, no one who, according to the appearance, is in the belief that human prudence accomplishes everything, can be convinced, unless by means of profounder investigation, which must be deduced from the causes; and the causes discover whence it is.
The affections of a man's life's love are known to the Lord alone. Man knows his thoughts, and therefore his intentions, because he sees them in himself; and as all his prudence is from them he sees this also in himself. If then his life's love is the love of self he comes into the pride of his own intelligence, and ascribes prudence to himself; and he gathers arguments in favour of it, and so recedes from acknowledgment of the Divine Providence. The same he does if the love of the world is his life's love; but yet this does not recede in a like degree. It is plain from these considerations that these two loves ascribe all to man and his prudence; and if they are examined interiorly nothing to God and His Providence. When therefore perchance they hear that the truth is that human prudence is nothing, but that it is the Divine Providence alone which governs all things, if they are thorough atheists they laugh at it; but if they retain something of religion in the memory, and it is said to them that all wisdom is from God, they assent indeed at the first hearing, but yet interiorly in their spirit they deny it.
There is no thought of man but from some affection of his life's love; and the thought is nothing else than the form of the affection. Therefore since a man sees his thought, and cannot see the affection,—for this he feels,—it follows that from sight, which is in the appearance, and not from the affection, which does not come into the sight but into sensation, he sets it down that his own prudence accomplishes everything. For the affection manifests itself only by a certain delight of thought and pleasure of reasoning upon the subject; and then this pleasure and delight make one with the thought, in those who from the love of self or from the love of the world believe in their own prudence. And thought flows in its delight, as a ship in the current of a river,—to which the master does not direct his attention, but only to the sails, which he spreads.
A man can indeed reflect upon the delight of his external affection, when this acts as one with the delight of some bodily sense; but yet he does not reflect upon the fact that this delight is from the delight of his affection within the thought. . . . The delights govern the thoughts, and the thoughts are nothing without them. But it is believed that they are thoughts only, when yet the thoughts are nothing but the affections composed into forms by the life's love, that they may appear in the light; for all affection is in heat, and thought is in light. The affections of external thought manifest themselves it is true in the sensation of the body, yet rarely in the thought of the mind. But the affections of internal thought, from which the external spring, never manifest themselves to a man. Of these a man knows no more than one sleeping in a carriage does of the road; and is no more sensible of them than of the circumrotation of the earth. Now as a man knows nothing of the things that are being done in the interiors of his mind, which are so infinite that they cannot be limited by numbers; and yet the few external things that come to the sight of thought are produced from those that are interior, and the interior are governed by the Lord alone through His Divine Providence, and these few external things by Him together with man; how can any one say that his own prudence accomplishes everything? If you should see but one idea of thought laid open you would see more wonderful things than tongue can tell. (DP n. 191, 197-199)
No one knows how the Lord leads and teaches a man in his internals; just as one does not know how his soul operates that the eye may see, the ear hear, the tongue and the mouth speak, the heart impel the blood, the lungs respire, the stomach digest, the liver and the pancreas distribute, the kidneys secrete, and innumerable other things. These operations do not come to a man's perception and consciousness. So with those that are wrought by the Lord in the interior substances and forms of the mind, which are infinitely more. The Lord's operations in these do not appear to a man; but the effects appear, which themselves are many, and some causes of the effects. These are the externals, in which the man is, together with the Lord. And as the externals make one with the internals,—for they are connected in a series,—for this reason he can only be disposed by the Lord in the internals in accordance with what is disposed in the externals by means of the man. (ibid. n. 174)
It has been fully shown in the preceding pages that if it did not appear to man as if he lived from himself, even so that he does think and will, speak and act just as if from himself, he would not be man. It follows from this that if man did not, as by his own prudence, dispose all things that pertain to his activity and life, he could not be led and disposed by the Divine Providence. For he would be as one who stands with hands down, mouth open, eyes shut, and holding his breath, in expectation of influx. He would divest himself of the human, which lie has from a perception and sense that he lives, thinks, wills, speaks, and acts, as of himself; and then at the same time he would divest himself of his two faculties by which he is distinguished from animals, which are liberty and rationality. . . . If therefore you would be led of the Divine Providence use prudence, as a servant and minister who faithfully dispenses the goods of his master. This prudence is the pound that was given the servants to trade with, of which they were to render an account (Luke xix. 13-25; Matt. xxv. 14-31). The prudence itself appears to man as his own; and is believed to be his own so long as man keeps inclosed within him the most malignant enemy of God and of the Divine Providence,—which is the love of self. This dwells in the interiors of every man from birth. If you do not take cognizance of it (for it does not wish to be recognized) it dwells securely, and keeps the door, lest it should be opened by man and it should thus be cast out by the' Lord. Man opens the door by shunning evils as sins, as of himself, with the acknowledgment that it is of the Lord. This is the prudence with which the Divine Providence acts as one. (ibid. n. 210)
The Divine Providence respecting temporal Things
It is of the Divine Providence that man puts off natural and temporal things by Death, and puts on things spiritual and eternal. Natural and temporal things are the extremes and ultimates into which man enters,—which takes place when he is born,—to the end that afterwards he may be introduced into things interior and higher. For the extremes and ultimates are containants; and these are in the natural world.... But as the extremes and ultimates of nature cannot receive things spiritual and eternal, for which the human mind is formed, as they are in themselves, and yet man is born that he may become spiritual and live to eternity, therefore man puts them off, and retains only the interior natural [substances] which harmonize and unite with the spiritual and celestial and serve them as containants. This is done by the rejection of the temporal and natural ultimates; which is the death of the body.
The Lord by His Divine Providence conjoins Himself to natural things by means of spiritual, and to temporal things by means of eternal, according to uses. Natural and temporal things are not only those that are peculiar to nature, but also those that are peculiar to man in the natural world. Both of these man puts off by death, and puts on the spiritual and eternal things corresponding to them. He puts them on according to uses. The natural things that are peculiar to nature relate in general to time and space; and in particular to the things which are seen on the earth. Man leaves these by death, and in place of them receives spiritual things which as to outward form or appearance are similar to them, but not so as to internal form and very essence. The temporal things which are peculiar to men in the natural world relate in general to dignities and possessions; and in particular to the necessities of every man, which are food, clothing, and habitation. These also are put off and left behind by death, and such things are put on and received as are similar to them in outward form or appearance, but not as to internal form and as to essence. They all have their internal form and essence from the uses of temporal things in the world. The uses are the goods which are called goods of charity. From these considerations it may be seen that the Lord by His Divine Providence conjoins spiritual and eternal things to natural and temporal according to uses. . . . Dignities, and honors, and wealth, and influence, are each in outward form natural and temporal; but in inward form they are spiritual and eternal. Dignities with their honors are natural and temporal when a man looks to himself personally in them, and not to the commonwealth and uses; for then a man cannot but think within himself, interiorly, that the commonwealth exists for him, and not he for the commonwealth. He is as a king who thinks that the kingdom and all the people in it exist for him, and not he for his kingdom and people. But the same dignities with their honours are spiritual and eternal when a man looks upon himself personally as existing for the sake of the commonwealth and uses, and not these for him. If a man does this, then he is in the truth and in the essence of his dignity and his honour; but if the former he is in the correspondence and appearance,— which if he confirm within him he is in fallacies, and no otherwise in conjunction with the Lord than as those who are in falsities and thence in evils; for fallacies are the falsities with which evils conjoin themselves. Such have indeed performed uses and good works, but from themselves and not from the Lord; thus they have put themselves in place of the Lord. It is the same with -wealth and influence, which also are natural and temporal, as well as spiritual and eternal. Wealth and influence are natural and temporal with those who look only to them and to themselves in them, and in these two find all their pleasure and delight; but the same are spiritual and eternal with those who look to good uses in them, and in these find interior pleasure and delight. With them even outward pleasure and delight becomes spiritual, and the temporal becomes eternal. (DP 220)
Whoever duly considers may know that eminence and opulence in the world are not actual Divine blessings,—although man from his pleasure in them calls them so; for they are transient, and also seduce many and turn them away from heaven. But life in heaven and happiness there are actual blessings, which are from the Divine. These things the Lord teaches in Luke:— "Provide yourselves . . . a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also" (xii. 33, 34). (AC n. 10,776)
They who place all prosperity in worldly and corporeal things, that is in honours and riches, and believe that these only are Divine blessings, in their hearts reject and deny the Divine Providence in particulars, when they see many of the evil abound in such things, and not so much the good; not considering that Divine blessing consists in being happy to eternity, and that such things as are momentary,—which the things of this world are, comparatively,—the Lord looks upon but as means to eternal things. On this account the Lord also provides for the good, who receive His mercy, such things in time as conduce to the happiness of their eternal life,—riches and honours to those whom they do not injure, and not riches and honours to those to whom they are hurtful. Yet to these He gives, in time, in place of honours and riches, more to rejoice in a few things, and to be more content, than the rich and honoured. (ibid. n. 8717)
The Divine Providence respecting the Reception of Truth and Good
The Lord does not admit a man interiorly into the truths of wisdom, and at the same time into the goods of love, except in the degree that the man can be kept in them to the end of life.... That this mystery of the Divine Providence may be explained, so that the rational man can see it in its light, it shall be unfolded in this order. I. There cannot be evil and at the same time good in man, in his interiors, nor therefore the falsity of evil and at the same time the truth of good. II. Good and the truth of good cannot be introduced by the Lord into the interiors of a man, except in so far as the evil therein and the falsity of evil are removed. III. If good with its truth were introduced therein before or more than evil with its falsity is removed, a man would depart from good and go back to his evil. IV. While man is in evil many truths may be introduced into his understanding, and these be stored up in the memory, and yet not be profaned. V. But the Lord by His Divine Providence takes the greatest care that it may not be received from thence by the will, before and more than in the degree in which the man as of himself puts away evil in the external man. VI. If it were done before, and more, then the will would adulterate the good and the understanding would falsify the truth, by mingling them with evils and with falsities. VII. Therefore the Lord does not admit a man interiorly into the truths of wisdom and into the goods of love, except in the degree that the man can be kept in. them to the end of life.
I. That in the interiors of man there. cannot at the same time be evil with its falsity and good with its truth, may be seen by the rational man without explanation. For evil is opposite to good, and good is opposite to evil; and two opposites cannot be together. There is also inherent in all evil a hatred against good, and there is inherent in all good a love of protecting itself against evil, and of putting it away from itself. Whence it follows that the one cannot exist in company with the other; and if they were together, there would arise first a conflict and battle, and then destruction. This indeed the Lord teaches in these words:—"Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand... He that is not with Me is against Me; and he that gathereth not with Me scattereth abroad" (Matt. xii. 25-30); and in another place; "No man can at once serve two masters; for he will either hate the one, or love the other" (Matt. vi. 24). Two opposites cannot exist together in one substance and form without its being distracted and destroyed. If one should advance and draw near the other they would certainly separate; like two enemies, one of whom would retire within his encampment, or within his fortifications, and the other remain without. This is the case with the evils and goods in a hypocrite. He is in both; but the evil is within, and the good is without,—and so the two are separate and not commingled.
II. That good and the truth of good cannot be introduced by the Lord into the interiors of a man except in so far as the evil therein and the falsity of evil are removed, is the very consequence of the foregoing. For since evil and good cannot exist together, good cannot be introduced until the evil is removed. It is said, into the interiors of a man; by which are meant the internals of his thought. These are the interiors referred to,—in which either the Lord must be, or the devil. After reformation the Lord is there; but before it the devil is there. In so far then as a man suffers himself to be reformed the devil is cast out; but in so far as he does not suffer himself to be reformed the devil remains. Who is not able to see that the Lord cannot enter so long as the devil is there? And he is there so long as man keeps the door closed,—in which man is, together with the Lord.' That the Lord enters when by means of man this door is opened the Lord teaches in the Apocalypse:—"Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me" (iii. 20)
III. If good with its truth were introduced before or more than evil with its falsity is removed, man would depart from good, and go back to his evil. The reason is that evil would be in power, and that which is in power conquers,—if not then yet afterwards. So long as evil is still in power good cannot be introduced into the inmost chambers, but only into the outer courts,—since, as was said, evil and good cannot dwell together; and that which is only in the outer courts is removed by its enemy which occupies the inner apartments. Hence occurs the departure from good and the return to evil, which is the worst kind of profanation. Besides, the very delight of man's life is to love himself and the world above all things. This delight cannot be removed in a moment, but successively. Yet in the degree that this delight remains in a man evil is in power there; and this evil can only be removed by the love of self becoming a love of uses, or by the love of rule coming to be exercised not for the sake of self, but for the sake of uses.... Since therefore the state of man's life must be inverted, so that what is above may be below, and this inversion cannot be affected in a moment,—for the veriest delight of life, which is from the love of self and the consequent love of rule, cannot be diminished and turned into the love of uses otherwise than successively,—therefore good cannot be introduced by the Lord before and more than in the degree that evil is removed; and if it were done before, and more, man would depart from good and return to his evil.
IV. While man is in evil many truths may be introduced into his understanding, and these stored up in the memory, and yet not be profaned. The reason is that the understanding does not flow into the will, but the will into the understanding. And as it does not flow into the will, many truths may be received by the understanding, and these be laid up in the memory, and yet not be mingled with the evil of the will, and so holy things not be profaned. And it is also incumbent upon every one to learn truths from the Word or from preachings, to lay them up in the memory, and to meditate upon them; for, from the truths which are in the memory and which come thence into thought the understanding must teach the will, that is, must teach the man, what he should do. This therefore is the principal means of reformation. While truths are only in the understanding, and hence in the memory, they are not within the man, but without him. Man's memory may be compared to the ruminatory stomach of certain animals, into which they introduce their food; which so long as it is there is not within their body, but without it; but as they take it from thence and eat it, it becomes of their life, and the body is nourished. But in man's memory there is not material food but spiritual, which is meant by truths; and in themselves' they are cognitions. In proportion as a man takes these out from thence, by meditating, ruminating as it were upon them, his spiritual mind is nourished. It is a love of the will which desires and as it were hungers, and causes them to be drawn out and nourished. If that love is evil it desires and as it were hungers for what is impure; but if good it desires and as it were hungers for what is pure; and those things which do not agree with it, it separates, removes, and expels,—which is done in various ways.
V. The Lord by His Divine Providence takes the greatest care that it may not be received from thence by the will, before and more than in the degree that the man as of himself puts away evil in the external man. For what is received by the will enters into the man, and is appropriated by him, and becomes of his life; and in his very life, which man has from the will, evil and good cannot dwell together; for thus he would perish. Yet these can both be in the understanding,—which are there called falsities of evil or truths of good; but not together, else a man could not distinguish evil from good and know good from evil; but they are distinguished and separated there, as a house into the interior and exterior. When an evil man thinks and speaks of goods he thinks and speaks outwardly; and when of evils, inwardly. When he speaks of goods therefore his speech comes as from the wall; and may be compared to fruit outwardly beautiful which is worm-eaten and rotten within, and also to the shell of a dragon's egg.
VI. If it were done before, and more, then the will would adulterate the good and the understanding falsify the truth, by mingling them with evils and the falsities therefrom. When the will is in evil, it adulterates the good in the understanding; and good adulterated in the understanding is evil in the will, for it confirms that evil is good and good evil. Evil does this to all good, because it is the opposite to itself. Evil also falsifies truth, because the truth of good is opposite to the falsity of evil; this also the will does in the understanding, and not the understanding of itself. Adulterations of good are described in the Word by adulteries, and falsifications of truth by fornications. These adulterations and falsifications are effected by reasonings from the natural man, who is in evil; and are also effected by confirmations from the appearances in the literal sense of the Word. The love of self, which is the head of all evils, surpasses other loves in its capacity for adulterating goods and falsifying truths; and 'it does this by the abuse of the rationality, which every man has from the Lord, the evil as well as the good. Nay, it can by confirmations make evil appear precisely as if it were good, and falsity as if it were truth.
VII. Therefore the Lord does not admit a man interiorly into the truths of wisdom and into the goods of love, except in the degree that the man can be kept in them to the end of life. The Lord does this that man may not fall into the most grievous kind of profanation of what is holy. On account of this danger the Lord even permits evils of life, and many things that are heretical pertaining worship. (DP n. 232, 233)
Permissions of the Divine Providence
There are no laws of permission by themselves, or separate from the laws of the Divine Providence, but they are the same. It is therefore said that God permits; by which is meant not that He wills, but that on account of the end, which is salvation, He cannot avert. Whatever is done for the sake of the end, which is salvation, is according to the laws of the Divine Providence. For, as was said before, the Divine Providence continually moves in a contrary direction and in opposition to the will of man, perpetually stretching forward to the end. Therefore, in every moment of its operation, or in every step of its progress, whenever it observes man to wander from the end, according to its laws it directs, bends, and disposes him, by leading him away from evil, and leading to good. That this cannot be done without the permission of evil, will be seen in what follows. Moreover, nothing can be permitted without a cause; and there is no cause elsewhere than in some law of the Divine Providence, which law teaches why it is permitted. (DP n. 234)
Every worshipper of self and worshipper of nature, when he sees so many impious in the world, and their so many impieties, and at the same time the gloryings of some of them, and yet no punishment of them therefor by God, confirms himself against the Divine Providence. And he confirms himself the more against the Divine Providence when he sees that machinations, craft, and deceit succeed even against the pious, just and sincere; and that injustice triumphs over justice in judicial investigations, and in business. Especially does he confirm himself when he sees the impious raised to honours, and become great, and leading men, and abound too in riches, and live in luxury and magnificence; and sees the worshippers of God, on the contrary, in contempt and poverty. He also confirms himself against the Divine Providence when he considers that wars are permitted; and then the violent death of so many men, and the plundering of so many cities, nations, and families; and also that victory stands on the side of prudence, and sometimes not on that of justice; and that it makes no difference whether the commander be upright or not upright; besides other such things, all which are permissions in accordance with the laws of the Divine Providence.
The natural man likewise confirms himself against the Divine Providence when he beholds the religions of the different nations. As for instance, that there are those who are ignorant of God; that there are those who worship the sun and moon; and those who worship idols, graven images, and even monsters; and those also who worship dead men. Above all, when he observes that the Mahometan religion is received by so many empires and kingdoms, while the Christian religion prevails only in the smallest quarter of the habitable globe, which is called Europe; and that there it is divided; that there are those there who claim for themselves Divine power, and would be worshipped as gods; and who invoke dead men; and that there are those who place salvation in certain words that they think and say; and that there are few who live according to their religion.... The denier of the Divine Providence concludes from these facts that religion is nothing in itself; but yet that it is necessary because it serves as a restraint.... All these things are mentioned to the end that it may be shown that each and all things that take place in the world, the evil as well as the good, are of the Divine Providence. (DP n. 237, 238, 240)
Permissions of Providence with respect to Worldly Possessions and Honors
The worshipper of self and the worshipper of nature believes dignities and possessions to be the highest and only happiness that can be given, thus happiness itself. And if from being initiated into worship in infancy he thinks anything about God, he calls them Divine blessings; and so long as from these he does not aspire to anything higher he thinks there is a God, and worships Him. But there is concealed in his worship what he himself is then ignorant of,—[the hope] that he may be elevated by God to still higher dignities, and to yet more ample possessions. And if he comes into them his worship becomes more and more external until it glides away, and at length he thinks slightingly of God, and denies Him. He does the same if he is cast down from the dignity and opulence on which he has set his heart. What then are dignities and possessions but stumbling-blocks, to the evil? But they are not so to the good; because they do not set their heart upon them, but upon the uses or goods for the accomplishment of which dignities and possessions serve as means. No one therefore can confirm himself against the Divine Providence by the fact that the impious are advanced to dignities and honours, and become great, and leading men, but who:is a worshipper of himself and a worshipper of nature. Besides, what is greater or less dignity? and greater or less opulence? Is it other, in itself, than a something imaginary? Is the one more fortunate and happy than the other? Is not dignity with a great man, nay, with a king or emperor, after a year's time, regarded but as a common thing, which no longer exalts the heart with its joy, and which may even become worthless to him? Are they by reason of their dignities in a greater degree of happiness than those who are in less dignity? nay, who are in the least, as husbandmen, and even their servants? These may be in a greater degree of happiness, when it is well with them and they are content with their lot. What is more restless at heart, what more frequently irritated, what more violently rages, than the love of self? This is the case as often as it is not honoured according to the pride of its heart; and as often as anything does not prosper with it according to its will and pleasure. What then is dignity but an idea, if it be not for some object or use? Can there be such an idea in any thought but thought about self and the world?—in its very self, even the thought that the world is everything and eternity nothing? Now something shall be said about the Divine Providence, as to why it permits that men impious in heart are elevated to dignities and acquire wealth. The impious or evil equally with the pious or good can perform uses nay, from a more ardent fire; for they have regard to themselves in uses, and regard honours as uses. In the degree therefore that the love of self rises the lust of performing uses for the sake of their own glory is enkindled. There is no such fire with the pious or good, unless it is fomented beneath by honour. The Lord therefore governs the impious in heart who are in dignities through the celebrity of their name, and excites them to perform uses to the state or their native country, to the society or city in which they live, and also to their fellow-citizens or neighbours among whom they dwell. This is the Lord's government, which is called the Divine Providence, with such. For the kingdom of the Lord is a kingdom of uses; and when there are but few who perform uses for the sake of uses He causes worshippers of self to be exalted to the more conspicuous offices, in which every one is excited by his love to do good Light your candle and seek how many there are in the kingdoms at this day, who aspire to dignities, that are not lovers of themselves and the world. Will you find fifty among a thousand who are lovers of God? And among these there are but few who aspire to dignities. Since then they are so few in number who are lovers of God, and so many who are lovers of themselves and of the world, and since these from their own fires perform more uses than the lovers of God from theirs, how can any one confirm himself [against the Divine Providence] by the fact that the evil are in eminence and opulence more than the good? (DP n. 250)
Permission of Providence with respect to Wars
It is not from the Divine Providence that wars exist; for they are connected with murders, plunderings, acts of violence, cruelties, and other enormous evils, which are diametrically opposed to Christian charity. And yet they cannot but be permitted, because the life's love of men, since the most ancient who are meant by Adam and his wife, has become such that it desires to rule over others, and at length over all, and desires to possess the wealth of the world, and finally all wealth. These two loves cannot be kept in bonds, since it is in accordance with the Divine Providence that every one should be permitted to act from freedom according to reason; and since without permissions man cannot be led by the Lord from evil, thus cannot be reformed and saved. For if evils were not permitted to break out man would not see them, therefore would not acknowledge them, and so could not be led to resist them. Hence it is that evils cannot be repressed by any Providence; for thus they would remain shut in, and, like the disease called cancer, and gangrene, would spread and consume all that is vital in man. For man is by birth as a little hell, between which and heaven there is a perpetual disagreement. No man can be extricated from his hell by the Lord unless he sees that he is in it, and unless he wishes to be extricated; and this cannot come to pass without permissions,—the causes of which are laws of the Divine Providence. It is for this reason that there are wars, greater and less; the less between possessors of estates and their neighbours, and the greater between the monarchs of kingdoms and their neighbours. Greater and less makes no difference, save that the less are kept within bounds by the laws of the nation, and the greater by the law of nations; and that the less as well as the greater wish to transgress their laws, but the less cannot and the greater can,—but yet not beyond what is possible. There are many causes, which lie hidden in the treasury of Divine wisdom, why the greater wars,--because they are connected with murders, plunderings, acts of violence, and deeds of cruelty,—are not repressed by the Lord in the kings and the generals, neither in their inception nor in their progress, but at the end, when the power of one or the other has become so weak and that it is in imminent danger of destruction. Some of these have been revealed to me; among which is this:—That all wars, howsoever political they are, are representative in heaven of states of the church; and that they are correspondences. Such were all the wars described in the Word; and such also are all wars at this day. The wars described in the Word are those that the children of Israel waged with different nations; as for instance with the Amorites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Philistines, the Syrians, the Egyptians, the Chaldeans, and the Assyrians. And when the children of Israel, who represented the church, departed from the commandments and statutes, and fell into the evils which were signified by those nations, (for every nation with which the children of Israel waged war signified some kind of evil,) then they were punished by that nation. Thus when they profaned the holy things of the church by foul idolatries, they were punished by the Assyrians and Chaldeans because by Assyria and Chaldea the profanation of what is holy is signified. Similar things are represented by wars wherever they are, the present day; for all things that occur in the natural world correspond in the spiritual world to spiritual things, and all spiritual things concern the church. It is not known in this world what kingdoms in Christendom represent the -Moabites and Ammonites, what the Syrians and Philistines, the Chaldeans and Assyrians, and the other nations with whom the children of Israel waged war; yet there are those that represent them. But it also cannot be seen at all in this world what the character of the church is on earth, and what the evils are into which it is falling, and on account of which it is punished by wars; for in this world only the externals are visible, which do not constitute the church. But it is seen in the spiritual world, where the internals appear, in which the church itself consists. And there they are all connected according to their various states. The conflicts of these in the spiritual world correspond to wars; which are on both sides governed by the Lord correspondentially according to the course of His Divine Providence. The spiritual man acknowledges that wars in the world are governed by the Lord's Divine Providence; but not the natural man,— save that when a festival is proclaimed on account of a victory, he can then upon his knees give thanks to God that He has given him the victory; and also in a few words before he goes to battle. But when he returns into himself he ascribes the victory either to the prudence of the general, or to some device or occurrence in the midst of the battle which they had thought nothing of, yet from which came the victory. It has been shown [See p. 536] that the Divine Providence,—which is called fortune,—is in the very least particulars even of trivial things. If you acknowledge the Divine Providence in these you must certainly acknowledge it in the affairs of war. The successes and events of war, resulting favourably, are indeed said by the common voice to be by the fortune of war; and this is the Divine Providence,—especially in the plans and deliberations of the general, —although he should then and afterwards ascribe them all to his own prudence. But this he can do if he will, for he is in the full liberty to think in favour of the Divine Providence or against it; nay, in favour of God and against Him. But let him know that no jot of his plan and deliberation is from himself. It all flows in either from heaven or from hell,—from hell by permission, from heaven by Providence. (DP n. 251)
Permission of Providence with respect to the Religions of the various Nations
They who deduce arguments against the Divine Providence from these permissions do not know the mysteries of heaven, which are innumerable,—scarcely one of which does man become acquainted with. Among them is this; that man is not taught immediately from heaven, but mediately. And as it is done mediately, and the gospel could not come through missionaries to all that dwell on the whole globe, but yet by various ways a religion could be communicated even to the nations that dwell in the corners of the world, therefore by the Divine Providence this has been done. For no man has a religion from himself, but through another, who either himself or by communication from others knew from the Word that there is a God, that there is a heaven and a hell, that there is a life after death, and that God must be worshipped in order that a man may become blessed. Religion was transplanted throughout the whole globe from the ancient Word, [See p. 134] and afterwards from the Israelitish Word. Unless there had been a Word no one could have known of God, of heaven and hell, of the life after death, and still less, of the Lord. When once religion is implanted [in a nation] that nation is led by the Lord according to the precepts and tenets of their religion. And the Lord provides that in every religion there shall be precepts such as are in the decalogue; as, that God is to be worshipped; His name is not to be profaned; a solemn day is to be kept; parents are to be honoured; that one must not kill; nor commit adultery; nor steal; nor bear false witness. A nation which esteems these precepts Divine, and lives according to them from religion, is saved. Very many nations remote from Christendom do in fact regard these laws not as civil, but as Divine, and hold them sacred. Among the mysteries of heaven is this also:—That the angelic heaven before the Lord is as one man, whose soul and life is the Lord; and that this Divine man is in every form a man; not only as to the external members and organs, but also as to the internal members and organs, which are more numerous; and even as to the integuments, membranes, cartilages, and bones. Yet none of these in that man are material, but they are spiritual. Now it is provided by the Lord that even they to whom the gospel could not come, but only a religion, might also have a place in that Divine man, that is in heaven,—by constituting those parts which are called integuments, membranes, cartilages, and bones,—and that they like the others might be in heavenly joy. For it matters not whether they are in such joy as is felt by the angels of the highest heaven; or in such as is felt by the angels of the lowest heaven; for every one who comes into heaven comes into the greatest joy of his heart. A greater joy he could not endure, for he would be suffocated in it. It is as with a farmer and a king. A farmer may be in the greatest joy when he goes clad in new clothing of coarse wool, and sits down to a table upon which there is set pork, a piece of beef, cheese, beer, and a rough wine. He would be oppressed at heart if like a king he were clothed in purple and silk and gold and silver, and a table were set before him on which there were delicacies and costly luxuries of various kinds, with the choicest wine. From which it is plain that for the last as well as the first there is heavenly happiness, —for each in his degree. So it is also with those who are out of the Christian world, if only they shun evils as sins against God, because they are contrary to religion. There are a few who are totally ignorant of God But these also, if they have lived a moral life, are instructed by the angels after death, and receive a spiritual principle into their moral life. So with those who worship the sun and moon, and believe God to be there. They know no otherwise; therefore this is not imputed to them as sin. For the Lord says:—"If ye were blind," that is if ye did not know, "ye should have no sin" (John ix. 41). And there are many even in the Christian world who worship idols and graven images. This in truth is idolatrous, but not with all; for there are those to whom graven images serve as a means of awakening thought concerning God. For it is owing to influx from heaven that he who acknowledges God desires to see Him; and as these cannot like interior spiritual men lift the mind above sensual things, therefore they arouse it by a graven image or picture. They who do this and do not worship the image itself as God, if also from religion they live the precepts of the Decalogue, are saved. From these considerations it is clear that, as God wills the salvation of all, He has also provided that every one, if he lives well, may have some place in heaven. (DP n. 254)
Permission of Providence with respect to the Mohametan Religion
The fact that this religion is received by more kingdoms than the Christian religion may be a stumbling-block to those who think of the Divine Providence, and at the same time believe that no one can be saved but who is born a Christian, thus where the Word is and by means of it the Lord is known. But to those who believe that all things are of the Divine Providence the Mahometan religion is not a stumbling-block. They inquire, and they also find, wherein it is [of the Divine Providence]. It is in this:—That the Mahometan religion acknowledges the Lord as the Son of God, as the wisest of men, and as the greatest prophet, who came into the world that he might teach men. The greater part of them make Him greater than Mahomet. That it may be fully known that that religion was raised up by the Lord's Divine Providence to destroy the idolatries of many nations, it shall be explained in a certain order. First, therefore, concerning the origin of idolatries. Before that religion the worship of idols was common throughout the whole earth. The reason was, that the churches before the Lord's advent were all representative churches. Such was the Israelitish church. The tent there, the garments of Aaron, the sacrifices, all things of the temple at Jerusalem, and also the statutes, were representative. And among the ancients there was a knowledge of correspondences, which is also the knowledge of representations,—the very knowledge of the wise,—especially cultivated in Egypt; whence their hieroglyphics. From this knowledge they understood what animals of every kind signified; and trees of every kind; and also mountains, hills, rivers, fountains; and the sun, moon, and stars. And as their worship was all representative, consisting of pure correspondences, therefore they had worship upon mountains and hills, and also in groves and gardens. And therefore they consecrated fountains, and in their adoration of God turned their faces to the rising sun; and moreover made sculptured horses, oxen, calves, lambs, and even birds, fishes and serpents. And these they placed in their houses and elsewhere, in an order according to that of the spiritual things of the church to which they corresponded, or which they represented. They placed similar representative things in their temples also, that they might call to remembrance the holy things which they signified. After a time, when the knowledge of correspondences was blotted out of remembrance, their posterity began to worship the sculptured images, as in themselves holy; not knowing that their ancient progenitors saw nothing holy in them, but only that according to correspondences they represented and therefore signified holy things. Hence arose the idolatries that filled the whole world,--Asia with the neighbouring islands, and Africa and Europe. That all these idolatries might be extirpated, it was brought to pass, by the Divine Providence of the Lord, that a new religion should arise, accommodated to the genius of the orientals, in which there should be something from both Testaments of the Word, and which should teach that the Lord came into the world, and that he was the greatest prophet, the wisest of all men, and the Son of God. This was accomplished through Mahomet, from whom that religion is called the Mahometan religion. This religion was raised up of the Divine Providence of the Lord, and was, as was said, accommodated to the genius of the orientals, to the end that it should destroy the idolatries of so many nations, and give some knowledge of the Lord before they should come into the spiritual world. This religion would not have been received by so many kingdoms, and could not have extirpated the idolatries, unless it had been made conformable to and on a level with the ideas of the thoughts and of the life of them all. The reason why it did not acknowledge the Lord as God of heaven and earth, was that the orientals acknowledged God the Creator of the universe, and could not comprehend that He came into the world and assumed the Human. So neither do Christians comprehend it; who therefore in their thought separate His Divinity from His Humanity, and place the Divinity beside the Father in heaven, and His Humanity,—they know not where. It may be seen from these statements that the Mahometan religion arose in fact out of the Lord's Divine Providence; and that all of that religion who acknowledge the Lord as the Son of God, and at the same time live according to the commandments of the Decalogue, which they also possess, by shunning evils as sins, come into the heaven which is called the Mahometan heaven. This heaven also is divided into three heavens, a highest, a middle, and a lowest. In the highest heaven are those who acknowledge the Lord as one with the Father, and thus as Himself the only God; in the second heaven are those who renounce polygamy and live with one wife; and in the last heaven are those who are being initiated. (DP n. 255)
Permission of Providence with respect to the limited prevalence of the Christian Religion
The reason why the Christian religion exists only in the smaller portion of the habitable globe called Europe [See page 130] is, that it was not adapted to the genius of the Orientals, like the Mahometan religion,—which, as was said above, is mixed; and a religion that is not adapted is not received. For example, a religion which decrees that it is unlawful to have more than one wife, is not received but rejected by those who for ages back have been polygamists. So also with respect to some other things ordained by the Christian religion. Nor does it matter whether a less or greater part of the world receive it, if only there are peoples with whom the Word exists; for from thence there is light to those who are out of the Church and have not the Word.' And it is marvellous that where the Word is devoutly read and the Lord is worshipped from the Word, there the Lord is, together with heaven. This is because the Lord is the Word, and the Word is the Divine Truth which makes heaven. The Lord therefore says ,—"Where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them" (Matt. xviii. 20). This may be done with the Word by Europeans in many parts of the habitable globe; because they have commerce over the whole earth, and everywhere the Word is read or taught by them. This appears like an invention; but yet it is true. (DP n. 256)
Permission of Providence with respect to the Divisions and Corruptions of the Christian Religion
The natural man may think within him that if the Divine Providence were universal, in the very least things, and had for its end the salvation of all, it would have caused that there should be one true religion throughout the world, and that it should not be divided, still less rent with heresies. But exercise your reason, and if you are able think more profoundly. Can a man be saved if he is not first reformed? For he is born into the love of self and of the world; and, as these loves have not within them anything of love to Gad, nor anything of love towards the neighbour except for the sake of self, he is also born into evils, of every kind. What is there of love or mercy in these loves? Does he make anything of defrauding another? Of blaspheming him? Of hating him, even to the death? Of committing adultery with his wife? Of venting his rage upon him, when in a state of revenge?—Seeing that in his lower mind (animus) he bears the desire to be highest of all, and to possess the goods of all; thus seeing that he looks upon others as trivial and of small account in comparison with himself. That such a man may be saved, must he not first be led away from his evils, and thus reformed? It has been shown above, upon many considerations, that this cannot be done except according to many laws; which are the laws of the Divine Providence. These laws are for the most part unknown, and yet they are of the Divine wisdom, and at the same time of the Divine love; against them the Lord cannot act, for to act against them would be to destroy man, and not to save him. Scan briefly the laws which have been adduced, and you will see. Since therefore it is also in accordance with these laws that there is no immediate influx from heaven, but a mediate influx through the Word, doctrines, and preaching; and since the Word, in order that it should be Divine, could not be written otherwise than by pure correspondences; [See p. 98] it follows that dissensions and heresies are inevitable, [See p. 121] and that the permission of them is also in accordance with the laws of the Divine Providence. And are the more when the Church itself had taken for its essentials such things as relate to the understanding, thus to doctrine, and not such as relate to the will, and thus to life, and when those that relate to life are not essentials of the church. Man is then, from his understanding, in mere darkness, and wanders about as one blind, who. everywhere runs against things and tumbles into pitfalls. For the will must see in the understanding, and not the understanding in the will. Or what is the same, the life and its love must lead the understanding to think, speak, and act, and not the reverse; if the reverse then the understanding, from an evil, nay, a diabolical love, might seize upon whatever impressed it through the senses and enjoin upon the will to do it. From these considerations it may be seen whence come dissensions and heresies. But it is provided that every one, in whatever heresies he may be as to his understanding, may yet be reformed and saved,—if only he shuns evils as sins, and does not confirm the heretical falsities in himself. For by shunning evils as sins the will is reformed, and through the will the understanding; which then first from darkness comes into the light. There are three essentials of the church;—the acknowledgment of the Lord's Divinity; the acknowledgment of the holiness of the Word; and the life which is called charity. According to the life which is charity every man has faith; from the Word, he has a knowledge of what his life must be; and reformation and salvation are from the Lord. If these three had remained as the essentials of the church intellectual differences would not have divided, but only varied it; as the light gives various colours in beautiful objects; and as the various gems add beauty to the crown of a king. (DP n. 259)
The Permission of Evils
If man had not full liberty he not only could not be saved, but would even utterly perish. Hear now the reason:—Every man by birth is in evils, of many kinds. These evils are in his will; and what is in his will is loved; for what a man inwardly wills he loves, and what he loves he wills. And the love of the will flows into the understanding, and there causes its delight to be felt. From thence it comes into the thoughts, and also into the intentions. If therefore a man were not permitted to think according to the love of his will, which is from inheritance in him, that love would remain shut in, and would never come to the man's sight; and the love of evil not apparent is as an enemy in ambush, as purulent matter in an ulcer, as poison in the blood, and corruption in the breast, which if kept confined lead to dissolution. But on the other hand when a man is permitted to meditate the evils of his life's love, even to intention, they may be healed by spiritual means, as diseases are by natural means.
The Lord might heal the understanding in every man, and thus cause him not to meditate evils but goods. This He might do by various fears, by miracles, by converse with the departed, and by visions and dreams. But to heal the understanding only, is merely to heal man outwardly; for the understanding with its thought is the external of man's life, and the internal of his life is the will with its affection. The healing of the understanding only would therefore be like a palliative cure, whereby the interior malignity, shut in and prevented from coming out, would consume first the neighbouring and afterwards the remoter parts, until the whole were mortified. It is the will itself that is to be healed,—not by influx of the understanding into it, for that does not take place, but by instruction and exhortation by the understanding. If only the understanding were healed man would become as a dead body embalmed, or covered over with fragrant spices and with roses; which soon would so absorb the fetid odor of the body, that they could not be applied to the nostrils of any one. So would it be with heavenly truths in the understanding if the evil love of the will were obstructed. (DP n. 281, 282)
The Divine Providence is equally with the Evil and the Good
The Divine Providence, not only with the good but also with the evil, is universal, in the very least particulars, and yet is not in their evils. It was shown above that the Divine Providence is in the very least particulars of a man's thoughts and affections; by which is meant that a man can think and will nothing from himself, but all that he thinks and wills and therefore says and does, is from influx,—if it is good, from influx out of heaven, and if evil, from. influx out of hell; or what is the same, that the good is from influx from the Lord, and the evil from the man's proprium. But I know that this can with difficulty be comprehended, because a distinction is made between that which flows in from heaven, or from the Lord, and that which flows in from hell, or from man's proprium, and yet it is said that the Divine Providence is in the very least particulars of a man's thoughts and affections,—even so far that a man cannot think and will from himself; and as it is also said that he can do this from hell, and again, from his proprium, it appears as if it were contradictory; but yet it is not. That it is not so will be seen in what follows. (DP n. 287)
That everything that man thinks and wills and therefore that he says and does flows in from the one only fountain of life, and yet that that only fountain, which is the Lord, is not the cause of man's thinking evil and falsity, may be illustrated by these facts in the natural world:—From its sun proceed heat and light; and these two flow into all subjects and objects that appear before the eyes,—not into good subjects and beautiful objects only, but also into evil subjects and unsightly objects,—and produce varieties in them. For they flow not only into trees that bear good fruits, but into trees also that bear evil fruits; nay, even into the fruits themselves, and give them sustenance. In like manner they flow into good seed, and into tares; into shrubs that are of good use, or wholesome, and into srubs that are of evil use, or poisonous. And yet it is the same heat, and the same light,—in which there is no cause of evil; but this is in the recipient subjects and objects. The heat that hatches eggs wherein lurk the owl, the screech-owl, the asp, acts in the same way as when it hatches eggs in which the dove, the beautiful bird, and the swan are concealed. Place eggs of each kind under a hen, and by her heat, which in itself is harmless, they will be hatched. But what has the heat therefore in common with these evil and noxious things? So heat in marshy, stercoraceous, putrid and cadaverous substances, operates just as when it flows into things vinous and fragrant, and into living plants and animals. Who does not see that the cause is not in the heat, but in the recipient subject? The same light also presents pleasing colours in one object, and disagreeable-colours in another; nay, is lustrous and effulgent in dazzling white objects, and covers itself with shade and with darkness in things verging to black. It is the same in the spiritual world. There are heat and light there also from its sun, which is the Lord; which flow from it into their subjects and objects. The subjects and objects there are angels and spirits; in particular, their voluntary and intellectual faculties. The heat there is the proceeding Divine love, and the light is the proceeding Divine wisdom. The cause is not in them of their being differently received by one and by another; for the Lord says, that "He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust" (Matt. v. 45). In the highest spiritual sense the Divine Love is meant by the sun, and by rain the Divine Wisdom. (ibid. n. 292)
The Divine Providence in withdrawing Man from Evil
What the Divine Providence is with the good can be more easily comprehended than what it is with the evil. And as this is now treated of it shall be explained in the following order:—
FIRST: In every evil there are things innumerable. Every evil appears to man as one simple thing. So hatred and revenge, so theft and fraud, so adultery and whoredom, so pride and arrogance, and the other evils appear; and it is not known that in each evil there are innumerable things. They are more than the fibres and vessels in a man's body. For an evil man is a hell in the least form, and hell consists of myriads of myriads; and every one there is as a man in form, although monstrous and all the fibres and all the vessels in him are inverted. The spirit himself is an evil, appearing to himself as one; but the concupiscences of that evil are as innumerable as the things that are in him. For every man is his evil or his good, from the head to the sole of the foot. Since then an evil man is so constituted, it is plain that one evil is composed of things various and innumerable, which distinctly are evils, and are called the concupiscences of evil. It follows from this that all these in the order in which they are, must be restored and converted by the Lord, in order that man may be reformed; and that this can only be done by the Lord's Divine Providence successively, from a man's earliest age to his last . . . And it cannot be effected otherwise than, comparatively, as in the grafting of trees, the roots of which with some of the trunk remain; but yet the ingrafted branch converts the sap extracted through the old root into sap forming good fruit. The branch to be ingrafted cannot be taken from elsewhere than from the Lord, who is the Tree of Life; which indeed is according to the Lord's words in. John xv. 1-7.
SECONDLY: An evil man, from himself, continually brings himself more deeply into his evils. It is said from himself, because all evil is from man; for he turns the good which is from the Lord into evil, as was said above. The real cause of an evil man leading himself more deeply into evil is, that as he wills and does evil he brings himself more and more interiorly, and also more and more deeply into infernal societies. Hence the delight of evil also increases, and this so takes possession of his thoughts that at length he feels nothing more delightful. And whoever has brought himself more interiorly and more deeply into infernal societies, becomes as it were bound about with cords. But so long as he lives in the world he does not feel the cords. They are as of soft wool or tender threads of silk, which he likes because they titillate; yet after death those cords from soft become hard, and from titillating become galling. That the delight of evil receives increase is known from thefts, robberies, plunderings, revenge, tyrannies, the love of gain, and other evils. Does not a man feel an elation of delight in them according to their success and unrestrained exercise? .. . If the evils are in thought only and not in the will a man is not yet connected with evil in an infernal society; but when they are also in the will he then enters it. If then he also considers that this evil is contrary to the precepts of the Decalogue, and regards these as Divine, he commits it from purpose, and thereby 'lets himself down deeply [into the infernal society], from which he cannot be drawn out save by actual repentance.
THIRDLY The Divine Providence with the evil is a continual permission of evil, to the end that there may be a continual withdrawal from it. The reason why the Divine Providence with evil men is a continual permission is that nothing but evil can come forth from their life. For a man, whether he is in good or in evil, cannot be in both at the same time, nor alternately unless he is lukewarm; and evil of life is not introduced into the will and through it into the thought by the Lord, but by man; and this is called permission. Now as every thing that an evil man wills and thinks is of permission, it is asked, What then is the Divine Providence therein, which is said to be in the very least things with every man, the evil as well as the good? But it consists in this; that it continually permits for the sake of the end, and that it permits such things as are for the end, and no others; and that the evils which proceed from permission it continually observes, separates, purifies, and those that are not concordant [with the end] it removes, and through unknown ways discharges. These things are done chiefly in man's interior will, and from this in his interior thought. The Divine Providence is continual also in this; that it is watchful that the things removed and discharged be not received again by the will, since all things that are received by the will are appropriated to man; but those that are received by the thought, and not by the will, are separated and banished. This is the continual Providence of the Lord with the evil; which, as was said, is a continual permission, to the end that there may be a perpetual withdrawal. Of these things man knows scarcely anything, because he does not perceive them. The primary reason why he does not perceive them is, that they are evils of the concupiscences of his life's love, and these evils are not felt as evils, but as delights, to which no one pays attention. Who attends to the delights of his love? His thought floats in them, as a skiff that is borne upon the current of a river; and is perceived as a fragrant atmosphere, which is inhaled with a full breath. He is only able to perceive something of them in his external thought; yet he does not attend to them there unless he well knows that they are evils. But more respecting these things in what now follows.
FOURTHLY: The withdrawal from evil is effected by the Lord in a thousand, and moreover in most mysterious ways. Of these a few only have been disclosed to me, and indeed none but the most general; which are, that the delights of the concupiscences,of which a man knows nothing,—are emitted in troops and bundles into the interior thoughts, which are those of man's spirit, and thence into his exterior thoughts in which they appear,—under a certain sense of enjoyment, pleasant or passionate,—and are there mingled with his natural and sensual delights. These are the means of separation and purification, and also the ways of withdrawal and discharge. The means are chiefly the delights of meditation, thought, and reflection, with a view to certain ends which are uses; and the ends which are uses are as many as are the particulars and least particulars of any one's business and employment; and then they are also as many as are the delights of reflection to the end that he may appear as a civil, and a moral, and also as a spiritual man,—besides the undelightful things which interpose. These, because they are the delights of his love in the external man, are means for the separation, purification, excretion and withdrawal of the delights of the concupiscences of evil in the internal man. Take for example an unjust judge, who looks to gain or to friendships as the ends or the uses of his function. Inwardlyhe is continually in these ends; but so that outwardly he may act as lawyer and a just man. He is continually in the delight of meditation, thought, reflection, and intention, as to how he may bend, turn, adapt and adjust the right, so that it shall appear conformable to the law, and analogous to justice; nor is he conscious that his internal delight consists in cunning, fraud, deceit, clandestine theft, and many other evils; and that that delight, composed of so many delights of the concupiscences of evil, governs in each and all the particulars of his external thought, in which are the delights of the appearance that he is just and sincere. The internal delights are let down into these external delights, and commingled like food in the stomach, and are there separated, purified, and conducted away,—but yet no others than the more baneful delights of the concupiscences of evil. For in a wicked man there is no other separation, purification, and removal, than of the more grievous evils from the less grievous. But in a good man there is a separation, purification, and removal, not only of the more grievous but of the less grievous. And this is done by the delights of affections for good and truth, and justice and sincerity, into which he comes in so far as he regards evils as sins and therefore shuns and holds them in aversion; and the more if he fights against them. These are the means by which the Lord purifies all who are saved. He also purifies them by external means, which are [the delights] of fame, of honour, and sometimes of gain. But into these the delights of affections for truth and good are introduced by the Lord, by which they are so directed and adapted that they become delights of the love of the neighbour That the withdrawal from evils is effected by the Lord in innumerable and most mysterious ways, cannot better be seen, and thus placed beyond doubt, than from the secret operations of the soul in the body. Those of which man has cognizance are; that he looks at the food he is about to eat, perceives its odor, hungers for it, tastes it, grinds it with his teeth, rolls it with his tongue into the oesophagus, and so into the stomach. While, on the other hand, the secret operations of the soul, of which a man knows nothing, because he has no sensation of them, are; that the stomach rolls about the food received, opens and separates it by solvents, that is digests it, and offers suitable parts to the little mouths opening there and to the vessels, which imbibe them; and that it sends away some into the blood, some into the lymphatic vessels, some into the lacteal vessels of the mesentery, and some it sends down into the intestines; then that the chyle, drawn from its receptacle in the mesentery through the thoracic duct, is carried into the vena cava, and so into the heart, and from the heart into the lungs, and from them through the left ventricle of the heart into the aorta, and from this through its branches into the viscera of the whole body, and also into the kidneys,—in each of which there then takes place a separation and purification of the blood, and a withdrawal of heterogeneous substances. To say nothing of how the heart sends its blood, defecated in the lungs, into the brain, which is done through the arteries called the carotids; and how the brain returns the vivified blood into the vena cava,—just above where the thoracic duct brings in the chyle,—and so back again into the heart. These with innumerable others are the secret operations of the soul in the body. Man has no sensation of them, and he who is not versed in the science of anatomy knows nothing of them. And yet similar things take place in the interiors of a man's mind; for nothing can be effected in the body but from the mind. For the mind of man is his spirit,. and his spirit is equally a man, with the only difference that the things that are done in the body are done naturally, and the things done in the mind are done spiritually; there is in every way a similarity. From these considerations it is plain that the Divine Providence operates with every man in innumerable and moreover in most secret ways; and that its continual end is to purify him, because its end is to save him; and that nothing more is incumbent upon man than to remove the evils in the external man. The rest the Lord provides if he is implored. (DP n. 296)
Every Man may be reformed, and there is no Predestination
Sound reason dictates that all are predestined to heaven, and no one to hell.... The end of creation is a heaven from the human race.... Every man is created that he may live to eternity in a state of happiness; thus every man is created that he may come into heaven. Divine Love cannot but will this, and Divine Wisdom cannot but provide for it.... It is therefore of the Divine Providence that every man can be saved; and that they are saved who acknowledge God and live uprightly.... To live uprightly is to shun evils because they are contrary to religion and therefore against God.... Man is himself at fault if he is not saved.... Any other predestination than to heaven is contrary to the Divine Love, which is infinite;.... and it is contrary to the Divine Wisdom, which also is infinite.... The means by which the Divine Providence works out its end, which is the salvation of man, are Divine truths whereby he has wisdom, and Divine goods whereby he has love; for he who purposes an end purposes also the means. (DP n. 322-331)
The Operations of Providence for Man's Salvation are continual and progressive
The operation of the Divine Providence to save man begins at his birth and continues to the end of his life, and afterwards to eternity.... All things that are exterior to man and subserve a use to him are secondary ends of creation; which ends in the aggregate have relation to all things that exist in the three kingdoms, the animal, the vegetable, and the mineral. Since all things in these kingdoms constantly proceed according to the laws of Divine order established in their first creation, how then is it possible for the primary end, which is the salvation of the human race, not to proceed constantly according to the laws of its order, which are laws of the Divine Providence? Look only at a fruit tree. Is it not first born as a tender germ from a diminutive seed? And does it not afterwards, successively, grow to a trunk, and spread forth branches, and they are covered with leaves, and then put forth blossoms, and bear fruit, and in it form new seeds, by which it provides for its perpetuation? It is the same with every shrub, and with every herb of the field. Do not all things, even the least particulars, in them constantly and wonderfully proceed from end to end according to the laws of their order? Why not likewise the primary end, which is a heaven from the human race? Can there be anything in its progression that does not most constantly proceed according to the laws of the Divine Providence? Since there is a correspondence of the life of man with the growth of a tree, let there be a parallelism or comparison drawn between them:—The infancy of man is comparatively as the tender germ of the tree springing forth from a seed out of the earth; the childhood and youth of man are like that germ growing to a trunk, with branchlets; the natural truths with which every man is first imbued are as the leaves with which the branches are covered,—leaves have no other signification in the Word; man's initiations into the marriage of good and truth, or the spiritual marriage, are as the blossoms that the tree produces in the time of spring; spiritual truths are the leaflets of those blossoms; the earliest [effects] of the spiritual marriage are as the inchoate forms of the fruit; spiritual goods, which are goods of charity, are as the fruit,—they also are signified by fruits in the Word; the procreations of wisdom from love are as the seeds,—by which procreations man becomes as a garden and a paradise. Man is indeed described by a tree in the Word, and his wisdom from love by a garden; nothing else is signified by the Garden of Eden. It is true that man is an evil tree from the seed; but there is vouchsafed a grafting or inoculation with branchlets taken from the Tree of Life, whereby the sap drawn out of the old root is turned into sap forming good fruit. This comparison is made that it may be seen, that since there is a so constant progression of the Divine Providence in the vegetation and regeneration of trees, it must certainly be constant in the reformation and regeneration of men, who are of far more value than the trees,-- according to these words of the Lord:—"Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God? But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore; ye are of more value than many sparrows And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit? If ye then be not able to do that which is least, why take ye thought for the rest? Consider the lilies, how they grow. . . . . If then God so clothe the grass, which is to-day in the field, and to-morrow is cast into the oven, how much more [will he clothe] you, O ye of little faith." (Luke xii. 6, 7, 25-28) (DP n. 332)
Reason why the Divine Providence operates invisibly and incomprehensively
The Divine Providence operates invisibly and incomprehensibly in order that a man may be able to ascribe it, freely, either to Providence or to chance. For, if Providence should act visibly and comprehensibly, there would be danger that from the visible and comprehensible a man might believe a thing to be of Providence, and afterwards come into the opposite belief. Truth and falsity would thus be conjoined in the interior man, and the truth would be profaned,—which carries damnation with it. Such a man is therefore rather kept in unbelief, than that he should once be in the faith and then recede from it. This is what is meant in Isaiah Say unto this people, Hearing, hear ye but understand not; and seeing, see ye, and perceive not; make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest peradventure they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and their heart understand, and they be converted and healed" (vi. 9, 10; John xii. 40). And hence it is that at this day no miracles are wrought; for these, like all visible and comprehensible things, would constrain men to believe; and whatever constrains takes away the freedom; whereas, all reformation and regeneration of a man is effected in his freedom. Whatever is not implanted in freedom does not remain. It is implanted in freedom when the man is in an affection for good and truth That at this day a man ought to believe what he does not see is established by the Lord's words to Thomas, in John:—"Thomas, because thou hast seen me thou hast believed; blessed are they that do not see, and yet believe" (xx. 29). (AC n. 5508)
While I was conversing with the angels respecting the Lord's Divine Providence there were also spirits present, who had impressed upon themselves that there was something of fate or absolute necessity in it. They supposed the Lord to act from that necessity because he cannot but proceed according to the veriest essentials, therefore according to those [principles] which are of the most perfect order. But it was shown them that man has freedom; and that if he has freedom it is not-of necessity. This was illustrated by reference to houses that are to be built; in that the bricks, the lime, the sand, the stones serving for pedestals and pillars, the joists and beams, and many such materials, are brought together, not in the order in which the house is to be constructed, but at pleasure;—and that the Lord only knows what kind of a house can be built of them. All things are most essential which are from the Lord; but they do not follow in order from necessity, but in accommodation to man's freedom. (AC n. 6487)
Fortune and Chance
Who does not speak of fortune? And who since he speaks of it, and since he knows something of it from experience, does not acknowledge it? Yet who knows what it is? That it is something cannot be denied, for it is real and is ordained; and nothing can really be and be ordained without a cause. But the cause of this something, or fortune, is unknown. And lest it should be denied, from mere ignorance of the cause, take dice or playing cards, and play; or consult players. Who of them denies fortune? For they play with it, and it with them, wonderfully: Who can strive against it, if it be obstinate? Does it not then laugh at prudence and wisdom? Is it not, while you shake the dice and shuffle the cards, as if it knew and disposed the movements and turnings of the joints of the hand, to favour one more than another for some cause? Can there be a cause from elsewhere than the Divine Providence in ultimates, where by means of certainties and uncertainties it deals wonderfully with human prudence, and at the same time conceals itself? It is known that the heathen anciently acknowledged Fortune, and built a temple to it, as did also the Italians at Rome. Respecting this Fortune,—which as was said is the Divine Providence in ultimates,—it has been given me to know many things that I am not permitted to make public, from which it was evident to me, that it is no illusion of the mind, nor freak of nature; nor any thing without a cause, for this is nothing; but that it is ocular evidence that the Divine Providence is in the very least particulars of the thoughts and actions of men. Since there is a Divine Providence in the very least particulars of things so trivial and unimportant, why not in the very least particulars of things not trivial and unimportant, such as the affairs of peace and war in the world, and matters pertaining to salvation and life in heaven? (DP n. 212)
I have often conversed with spirits respecting fortune; which in the world appears as a fortuitous event, because they know not whence it is,—and because they know not whence it is some deny that it is. When such a thing befell me as appeared an accident, it was said by the angels, that it occurred because there were such spirits present: and that when the accident is evil the sphere of such spirits prevailed. In truth the evil spirits by their arts contrived to produce a sphere from which unfortunate cirumstances arose which plainly appeared as by chance. And it was further said that all things, nay, the least of all, even to the least particulars of the least, are directed by the Lord's Providence,—even as to the very steps; but when such a sphere as is contrary to it prevails misfortunes occur. And it was confirmed by them that there is no chance; and that apparent accident or fortune is Providence in the ultimate of order, in which all things are relatively inconstant. (AC n. 6493)
Care for the Morrow
The manna was given to the Israelites every morning, and worms were bred in the residue; by which is signified that the Lord daily provides necessaries, and that therefore men ought not to be anxious about acquiring them of themselves. This is also meant by the daily bread in the Lord's Prayer; and likewise by the Lord's words in Matthew:—"Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. .. Why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin.,,, Therefore, take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? For after all these things do the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow; for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself" (vi. 25-34). For the subject treated of in this verse (Ex. xvi. 20) and the following, in the internal sense, is care for the morrow; and it teaches that this care it not only prohibited but also condemned. That it is prohibited is signified by the injunction that they should not leave a residue of the manna until the morning; and that it is condemned is signified by the fact that worms were bred in the residue, and that it became putrid. One who looks at the subject no farther than according to the sense of the letter may believe that all care for the morrow is to be cast off, and thus that necessaries are to be daily expected from heaven; but he who looks at the subject more deeply than from the letter, that is to say from the internal sense, is able to understand what is meant by care for the morrow. It does not mean the care of procuring for one's self food and raiment, nor even provision for the time to come; for it is not contrary to order to exercise forethought for one's self and one's own. But they have care for the morrow who are not content with their lot; who do not trust in the Divine [Being], but in themselves; and who only look to worldly and terrestrial things, and not to heavenly. There universally prevails with them a solicitude about things to come, a longing to possess all things, and to rule over all, which is inflamed and increased with their aggrandizement, and finally beyond all measure. They grieve if they do not obtain the objects of their desire, and are in anguish when they suffer the loss of them. Nor is there any consolation for them; for they are then angry against the Divine, rej ect it together with all faith, and curse themselves. Such are they with whom there is care for the morrow. It is entirely different with those who trust in the Divine [Being]. Although they have a care for the morrow yet they have it not; for they do not think of the morrow with solicitude, still less with anxiety. They are of tranquil mind whether they obtain the objects of their desire or not; nor do they grieve at their loss. They are content with their lot. If they become opulent they do not set their heart upon opulence; if exalted to honours, they do not regard themselves more worthy than others. If they become poor they are not made sad; if in humble condition they are not dejected. They know that to them who trust in the Divine [Being] all things advance to a happy state in eternity; and that whatever circumstances befall them in time they are yet conducive to that end. It should be known that the Divine Providence is universal, that is, in the very least particulars of all things; and that they who are in the stream of Providence are continually borne along to happinesses, however the means may appear; and that they are in the stream of Providence who put their trust in the Divine [Being] and ascribe all things to Him and that they who trust in themselves only, and attribute all things to themselves, are not in the stream of Providence. They are indeed in opposition to it; for they derogate from the Divine Providence, and ascribe it to themselves. It should be known also, that in so far as any one is in the stream of Providence he is in a state of peace; and in so far as one is in a state of peace from the good of faith, or trust, he is within the Divine Providence. (AC n. 8478)
Prevailing Ignorance respecting the Soul
The soul as to its every quality is unknown, especially in the learned world. This is evident from the fact that some believe it to be an ethereal principle, some a sort of flame or fire, some merely the thinking principle, some the vital principle in general, some the natural active principle. And what still further attests their ignorance of the nature of the soul, they assign it to various places in the body; some place it in the heart, some in the brain and in the fibres there, some in the corpora striata, others in the ventricles, and others in the exigua glandula; some in every part. But then what they conceive of is a vital principle that is common to every living thing. From all which it is plain that nothing is known about the soul. This is the reason why all that has been offered respecting the soul is conjectural. And because they could thus form no idea of the soul, very many could but believe that it is nothing else than a vital something which when the body dies is dissipated. Hence it is then that the learned have less belief than the simple in a life after death; and as they do not believe in it, neither can they believe in the things relating to that life, which are the celestial and spiritual things of faith and love. This is evident also from the Lord's words in Matthew: "Thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes" (xi. 25); and again:— "Seeing they see not, and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand" (xiii. 13). For the simple have no such thoughts about the soul, but believe that they shall live after death; in which simple faith is concealed,—although they are not aware of it,—a belief that they shall live there as men, shall see the angels, converse with them, and enjoy happiness. (AC n. 6053)
What the Soul is
In the universal sense a soul is that from which another thing exists and lives. Thus the soul of the body is its spirit, for from this the body lives; and the soul of the spirit is its still more interior life, from which it discerns and understands. (AC n. 2930)
There are three parts of which every man consists, and which follow in order within him; the soul, (anima), the mind (mens), and the body. His inmost is the soul, his intermediate is the mind, and his ultimate is the body. All that flows from the Lord into man flows into his inmost, which is his soul, and descends thence into his intermediate, which is the mind, and through this into his ultimate, which is the body. (CL n. 101)
The soul is the inmost and highest part of man; and into this influx from God takes place, and descends thence into the parts that are below it, and vivifies them according to reception. The truths which are to be truths of faith do indeed flow in through the hearing, and so are implanted in the mind (mens), thus below the soul; but by these truths a man is only set in order for the reception of the influx from God through the soul; and such as the order is such is the reception, and such the transformation of natural faith into spiritual faith. (TCR n. 8) [See also pp. 24, 57]
As regards the soul, of which it is said it shall live after death, it is nothing else than the man himself who lives in the body; that is, the interior man, who through the body acts in the world, and who confers life upon the body. This man when he is loosed from the body is called a spirit, [[The soul is here considered, in its wider and more general sense, as including its derivations. Specifically and strictly the soul is the inmost, and is the very man; but comprehensively, as here represented, it is the whole spirit of man, or all that lives after death. All of this that is below the soul is derived from and is as it were an extension of the soul. Thus the author says in another place:—"The soul is a human form, from which not the least can be taken away, and to which not the least can be added; and it is the inmost form of all the forms of the whole body; and the forms that are without receive both essence and form from the inmost. . . . In a word, the soul is the very man, because it is the inmost man; and therefore its form is fully and perfectly the human form. Yet it is not life, but is the proximate receptacle of life from God, and so is the habitation of God." (CL n. 315) See also p. 457, note] and then appears completely in the human form; yet he can in nowise be seen by the eyes of the body. But he can be by the eyes of the spirit, and to the eyes of the spirit he appears as a man in the world; has senses, touch, smell, hearing, sight, far more exquisite than in the world; has appetites, pleasures, desires, affections, loves, such as he had in the world, but in a surpassing degree; thinks also as in the world, but more perfectly; converses with others; in a word, is there as in the world, insomuch that if he does not reflect upon the fact that he is in the other life he does not know but that he is in the world,—as I have sometimes heard from spirits. For the life after death is a continuation of the life in the world. This then is the soul of man, which lives after death. But lest the idea should fail to be apprehended (cadat in ignotum quid) through using the term soul,—in consequence of the conjectural or hypothetical [preconceptions] concerning it,—it is better to say the spirit of man, or, if you prefer, the interior man. For he there appears entirely as a man, with all the members and organs in which man appears, and is in truth the man himself that was in the body. That this is so is indeed evident from the angels seen, of which we read in the Word, who all appeared in the human form; for all the angels in heaven have the human form because the Lord is in that form, who so often appeared as a man, after his resurrection. (AC n. 6054)
It should be known that man's spirit in the body is in the whole and in every part of it; and that it is the purer substance of it,—as well in its organs of motion as of sense, and every where else; and that his body is the material substance every where annexed to it, adapted to the world in which he then is. This is what is meant by saying that man is a spirit, and the body serves him for uses in the world; and that the spirit is the internal of man, and the body his external. (ibid. n. 4659)
Origin of the Soul
By no wise man is it doubted that the soul is from the father. It is in fact manifestly to be seen from the minds (animi), and also from the faces which are the types of the minds, in descendants which proceed in regular line from the fathers of families; for as in an image the father returns, if not in his sons yet in his grandsons and great-grandsons. And this comes from the cause, that the soul constitutes the inmost of man; and though this may be covered over in the next offspring yet it comes forth and reveals itself in the descendants afterwards. That the soul is from the father, and its clothing from the mother, may be illustrated by analogies in the vegetable kingdom. Here the earth or ground is the common mother; it receives into itself as in a womb and clothes the seeds; nay, it as it were conceives, bears, brings forth, and nurtures, as a mother her offspring from the father. (CL n. 206)
Discrete and Continuous Degrees
He who does not know the method of Divine order in respect to degrees cannot comprehend in what manner the heavens are distinct, nor indeed the nature of the internal and the external man. Most men in the world have no other idea of things interior and exterior, or higher or lower, than as of what is continuous, or connected by continuity from purer to grosser; but things interior and exterior in respect to each other are not continuous but discrete. Degrees are of two kinds; there are continuous degrees, and degrees that are not continuous. Continuous degrees are as the degrees of diminution of light, from the flame to darkness; or as the degrees of diminution of sight, from the things that are in the light to those that are in the shade; or as the degrees of purity of the atmosphere from lowest to highest. Distances determine these degrees. But degrees that are not continuous but discrete are distinguished as prior and posterior, as cause and effect, and as that which produces and that which is produced. Whoever investigates will see that in all, even the least things in the universal world, whatever they are, there are such degrees of production and composition; namely, that from one thing proceeds another, and from that a third, and so on. He who does not acquire a perception of these degrees can by no means have a knowledge of the distinctions of the heavens, and the distinctions of the interior and exterior faculties of man; nor of the distinction between the spiritual world and the natural world; nor of the distinction between the spirit of man and his body: and therefore cannot understand what and whence correspondences and representations are, nor what is the nature of influx. Sensual men do not comprehend these distinctions; for they make increase and decrease even according to these degrees continuous. They are therefore unable to conceive of the spiritual except as a purer natural. (HH n. 38)
The knowledge of degrees is as it were the key to open the causes of things, and give entrance into them. Without this knowledge scarcely any thing of cause can be known; for, the objects and subjects of both worlds appear, without this knowledge, of one significance (univoca),—as if there were nothing in them except of such a nature as that which is seen with the eye; when yet this, relatively to the things that lie concealed within, is as one to thousands, nay to myriads. Unless degrees are understood the interior things which lie concealed can by no means be discovered, for exterior things advance to interior, and these to inmost, by degrees,—not by continuous but by discrete degrees . . . They are called discrete degrees, because the prior exists by itself, the posterior by itself, and the ultimate by itself, and yet taken together they form one. The atmospheres, which are called ether and air, from highest to lowest, or from the sun to the earth, are discrete in such degrees; and are as simples, the congregates of these simples, and the congregates of these again, which taken together are called a composite.
All things, even the least that exist in the spiritual world and in the natural world, coexist from discrete degrees and at the same time from continuous degrees, or from degrees of height and degrees of breadth. That dimension which consists of discrete degrees is called height, and that which consists of continuous degrees is called breadth. Their situation relative to the sight of the eye does not change their denomination.
That it may be still better comprehended what discrete degrees are and the nature of them, and what the difference is between them and continuous degrees, take for example the angelic heavens:—There are three heavens, and these are distinguished by degrees of height; one heaven is therefore below another; nor do they communicate with each other except by influx, which proceeds from the Lord through the heavens in their order to the lowest, and not contrariwise. But each heaven in itself is distinguished not by degrees of height but by degrees of breadth; they who dwell in the midst or in the centre are in the light of wisdom, and they who dwell towards the circumferences even to the boundaries are in the shade of wisdom. Thus wisdom decreases to ignorance just as light decreases to shade, which is by continuity. It is the same with men. The interiors which are of their minds are distinguished into as many degrees as the angelic heavens, and one of these degrees is above another. The interiors of men which are of their minds are therefore distinguished by discrete degrees, or degrees of height. Hence it is that a man may be in the lowest degree, then in the higher, and even in the highest, according to the degree of his wisdom; and that when he is only in the lowest degree, the higher degree is closed, and that this is opened as he receives wisdom from the Lord. There are also in man, as in heaven, continuous degrees or degrees of latitude. That a man is similar to the heavens is because, as to the interiors of his mind in so far as he is in love and in wisdom from the Lord, he is heaven in its least form. (DLW n. 184-186)
All things that exist in the world of which threefold dimension is predicated, or which are called compound, consist in degrees of height or discrete degrees. But this shall be illustrated by examples:—It is known by ocular experience that each muscle in the human body consists of very minute fibres, and that these composed in little bundles form the larger fibres called moving fibres, and that from the bundles of these arises the composite, which is called a muscle. It is the same with the nerves; of the very small fibres in them the larger are corn-posed, which appear as filaments; of an assemblage of these is the nerve composed. So is it with the other combinations, fasciculations, and assemblages of which the organs and viscera consist; for they are compositions of fibres and vessels variously fashioned through similar degrees. It is the same too with each and every thing in the vegetable kingdom, and with each and every thing in the mineral kingdom. In wood there is a combination of filaments in threefold order; in metals and in stones also there is an accumulation of parts in threefold order. It is plain from these illustrations what is the nature of discrete degrees; namely, that one is from another, and by means of the second a third, which is called composite; and that each degree is discrete from the other.
From these examples a conclusion may be formed respecting those things which are not visible to the eyes, for the case is the same with them; as for example, with the organic substances which are the receptacles and abodes of the thoughts and affections in the brain; with the atmospheres; with heat and light; and with love and wisdom. For the atmospheres are receptacles of heat and light, as heat and light are receptacles of love and wisdom. Since therefore there are degrees of atmospheres, there are also similar degrees of heat and light, and of love and wisdom; for the method of these is not different from that of the former. (ibid. n. 190, 191)
The first degree is all in all in the subsequent degrees. The reason of this is that the degrees of every subject and of every thing are homogeneous; and they are homogeneous because produced from the first degree. For the formation of them is such that the first, by confasciculations or conglobations, in a word by assemblages, produces the second, and by this the third; and distinguishes each from the other, by a covering thrown around it. It is therefore plain that the first degree is the principal, and is solely regnant in the subsequent degrees; consequently that the first degree is all in all in the subsequent degrees. (ibid. n. 194, 195)
Successive and Simultaneous Order of Discrete Degrees
There is a successive order, and a simultaneous order. The successive order of these degrees is from the highest to the lowest, or from summit to base. The angelic heavens are in this order; the third heaven is the highest in order, the second is the middle, and the first is the lowest; such is their relative situation. The states of love and wisdom with the angels there is in similar successive order; so also the states of heat and light, and of the spiritual atmospheres. In similar order are all the perfections of forms and powers there. When degrees of height or discrete degrees are in successive order, they may be compared to a column divided into three degrees, through which there is an ascent and descent; in the highest abode of which are things most perfect and most beautiful, in the middle things less perfect and beautiful, and in the lowest things still less perfect and beautiful. But the simultaneous order which consists of similar degrees presents another appearance. In this order the highest things of successive order, —which as was said are the most perfect and most beautiful,—are in the inmost, the lower things are in the middle, and the lowest in the circumference. They are as in a solid consisting of these three degrees; in the middle or centre of which are the most subtile parts, around this are the less subtile parts, and in the extremes which form the circumference are the parts composed of these, and therefore the grosser. It is like the column mentioned just above subsiding into a plane, the highest part of which forms the inmost, the middle part forms the intermediate, and the lowest forms the extreme. (ibid. n. 205)
Three Discrete Degrees of the Mind
These three degrees of height are from birth in every man; and may be successively opened; and as they are opened the man is in the Lord and the Lord in him. It has hitherto been unknown that there are three degrees of height in every man; for the reason that the degrees have been unrecognized, and so long as these degrees lay hidden none but continuous degrees could be known; and when these only are known, it may be supposed that love and wisdom in a man increase only by continuity. But it should be known that there are three degrees of height or discrete degrees in every man from his birth, one degree above or within another; and that each degree of height or discrete degree has also degrees of breadth, or continuous degrees, according to which it increases by continuity. For there are both kinds of degrees in the greatest and the least of all things.
These three degrees are named natural, spiritual, and celestial. When a man is born he comes first into the natural degree and this increases within him by continuity, according to his knowledge and the understanding acquired thereby, to the highest point of understanding called the rational But yet the second degree which is called spiritual is not thereby opened. This is opened by the love of uses from things intellectual, that is by a spiritual love of uses, which is love towards the neighbour. This degree likewise may increase by degrees of continuity to its highest; and it increases by cognitions of truth and good, or by spiritual truths. Yet even by these the third or celestial degree is not opened; but this is opened by a celestial love of use, which is love to the Lord; and love to the Lord is nothing else than committing to life the precepts of the Word; the sum of which is to flee from evils because they are infernal and diabolical, and to do good works because they are heavenly and Divine. In this manner these three degrees are successively opened in man.
A man knows nothing of the opening of these degrees within him, so long as he lives in the world; because he is then in the natural which is the ultimate degree, and from this thinks, wills, speaks, and acts; and the spiritual degree, which is interior, does not communicate with the natural degree by continuity but by correspondence, and communication by correspondence is not felt. But when a man puts off the natural degree, which he does when he dies, he comes into the degree that was opened within him in the world; into the spiritual degree he in whom the spiritual degree has been opened; into the celestial degree he in whom the celestial degree has been opened. (DLW n. 236-238)
A knowledge of these degrees is at this day of the greatest utility; since many because they do not know them abide and stick fast in the lowest degree, wherein their bodily senses are; and on account of their ignorance, which is intellectual darkness, cannot be elevated into the spiritual light which is above them. Hence they are as it were spontaneously seized with naturalism, as soon as they undertake to search into and investigate any matter relating to the human soul and mind, and its rationality; and especially if anything relating to heaven and the life after death. (Influx, n. 16)
In each Degree there is a Will and an Understanding
Since there are three degrees of love and wisdom and therefore of use in man, it follows that there are three degrees of the will and of the understanding, and therefore of conclusion and so of determination to use, in him. For the will is the receptacle of love, and the understanding is the receptacle of wisdom, and the conclusion from them is use. From which it is plain that in every man there is a natural, a spiritual, and a celestial understanding,—potentially from birth, and actually when they are opened. In a word, the mind (mens) of man, which consists of will and understanding, from creation and therefore from birth is of three degrees; so that man has a natural mind, a spiritual mind, and a celestial mind; and he can thereby be elevated to and possess angelic wisdom while he lives in the world. But yet he cannot enter into it until after death; and then, if he becomes an angel, he talks of things that to the natural man are ineffable and incomprehensible. (DLW n. 239)
A yet interior Region of the Understanding, above the Celestial, in the Inmost Man
There are three degrees of things intellectual in man; his lowest [degree] is the knowing [faculty]; the intermediate is the rational, [In the aspect of the understanding here presented, its spiritual and celestial degrees appear to be taken together,—as in the following section,—as constituting the rational mind, of which they are respectively the exterior and the interior.] the highest is the intellectual. These are so distinct that they are never confounded. But that man is not cognizant of this, is because he places life in the sensual and knowing [faculty]; and while he cleaves to this [notion] he cannot even be aware that the rational is distinct from the knowing, still less then that it is so from the intellectual. When yet the truth is that the Lord flows into man through the intellectual into his rational, and through the rational into the knowing [faculty] of memory. Thence comes the life of the senses,—of the sight, and of the hearing. This is the true influx; and this is the true intercourse of the soul with the body. Without an influx of the Lord's life into things intellectual in man,—or rather into things of the will, and through these into things intellectual,—and through things intellectual into things rational, and through things rational into his matters of knowledge, which are of the memory, life cannot be imparted to man. And although a man is in falsities and in evils, yet there is an influx of the Lord's life through things of the will into things intellectual,—but the things that flow in are received by the rational according to its form; and this enables man to reason, to reflect, and to understand what is true and good. (AC n. 657)
There are in man things intellectual, rational, and of knowledge; his inmost things are the intellectual, his interior are the rational, and his exterior are matters of knowledge. These are called his spiritual things, which are in such order. (ibid. n. 1443)
In every man intellectual truth, which is internal and in his inmost, is not man's but the Lord's in man. From this the Lord flows into the rational, where truth first appears as if it were man's own; and through the rational into the knowing [faculty]. From which it is clear that a man can never think as of himself from intellectual truth; but from rational and known truth; because these appear as his own. (ibid. n. 1904)
The Lord, while He lived in the world, thought from intellectual truth; which, because it is above the rational, could perceive and see what was the nature of the rational. . . . The interior can perceive what exists in the exterior, or what is the same, the higher can see what is in the lower; but not vice versa. . . . Perception is an interior [intellection] in the rational. . . . What it is to think from intellectual truth cannot be explained to the apprehension; and this the less because no one has thought from that affection and from that truth except the Lord. Who thinks from that is above the angelic heaven; for the angels of the third heaven do not think from intellectual truth, but from interior rational truth. (ibid. n. 1904, 1914). [See also pp. 24, 57, 542]
In man there is no pure intellectual truth, that is truth Divine; [See pp. 566, 567] but the truths of faith which are in man are appearances of truth, to which fallacies which are of the senses adjoin themselves. (ibid. n. 2053)
The Rational and the Natural Mind
By the natural and the rational the man himself is meant, in so far as he is formed to receive the celestial and the spiritual; but by the rational his internal is meant, and by the natural his external (AC n. 5150)
By the natural, here and elsewhere, the natural mind is meant. For there are two minds in man; the rational mind and the natural mind. (ibid. n. 5301)
It must be stated in a few words what the rational is:—The intellectual [part] of the internal man is called the rational; on the other hand, the intellectual [part] of the external man is called the natural. Thus the rational is internal, and the natural is external; and they are most distinct from each other. But a man is not truly rational unless he is what is called a celestial man, who has a perception of good, and from good a perception of truth; while he who has not this perception, but only a cognition that it is truth, because he is so instructed, and from this a conscience, is not truly a rational man, but an interior natural man. Such are they who are of the Lord's spiritual church. They differ from each other as the light of the moon differs from the light of the sun; and therefore the Lord actually appears as a moon to the spiritual, and as a sun to the celestial. Many in the world think a man is rational who can reason ingeniously on many subjects, and can so connect his reasonings that his conclusion appears as the truth. But this [ability] falls to the lot even of the worst men, who can skilfully reason and show that evils are goods and that falsities are truths, and also the contrary. But whoever reflects must see that this is depraved phantasy, and not rational. The rational is [the faculty] to see and perceive from within that a good is good, and from this that a truth is truth; for the sight and perception of these is from heaven. (ibid. n. 6240)
The interior rational constitutes the first degree in man; in this are the celestial angels, or in this is the inmost or third heaven. The exterior rational forms another degree, in which are the spiritual angels, or in which is the intermediate or second heaven. The interior natural forms a third degree, in which are good spirits, or the ultimate or first heaven. The exterior natural forms a fourth degree, in which man is. (ibid. 5145)
Evils and Falsities reside in the Natural Degree of the Mind
All evils, and the falsities from them, both hereditary and acquired, reside in the natural mind. The reason is that that mind in its form or image is a world; while the spiritual mind in its form or image is a heaven, and evil cannot be a guest in heaven. This mind therefore is not opened from birth, but is only in the capability of being opened. The natural mind also takes its form in part from the substances of the natural world; but the spiritual mind, only from the substances of the spiritual world,—which are preserved by the Lord in their integrity, that man may be capable of becoming a man. He is born an animal; but becomes a man. The natural mind, with all things pertaining to it, revolves in spiral motions from right to left; but the spiritual mind, in spiral motions from left to right. These minds are thus in a contrary movement relatively to each other; an indication that evil resides in the natural mind, and that of itself it acts against the spiritual mind. And the spiral motion from right to left is downwards, thus towards hell; but the spiral movement from left to right goes upwards, thus towards heaven. (DLW n. 270)
The Action and Reaction of the Natural and Spiritual Mind
If the spiritual mind is closed the natural mind continually acts against the things which are of the spiritual mind, and is afraid lest any thing shoul& flow in from thence, because it would disturb its own states. All that flows in through the spiritual mind is from heaven, for the spiritual mind in its form is a heaven; and all that flows into the natural mind is from the world, for the natural mind is a world in form. From which it follows, that when the spiritual mind is closed the natural mind reacts against all things of heaven, and does not admit them,—except in so far as they serve it as means for acquiring and possessing the things of the world. And when those things even which belong to heaven serve the natural mind as means to its ends, then those means, though they appear heavenly, become natural; for the end qualifies them. They in truth become as matters of knowledge belonging to the natural man, in which internally there is nothing of life. But as heavenly things cannot be so conjoined to natural that they act as one, they separate, and things heavenly with merely natural men take their place without, round about the natural things that are within. Hence it is that a merely natural man can talk of heavenly things, and preach them, and even simulate them in his actions, although within he thinks against them. This he does when alone, and that when he is in company. (DLW n. 261)
But when the spiritual mind is opened the state of the natural mind is entirely different. Then the natural mind is disposed to obedience to the spiritual mind, and is subordinated. The spiritual mind acts upon the natural mind from above or from within, and removes the things therein which react, and adapts to itself those that act in the same manner with itself. It thereby gradually takes away the predominant reaction. (ibid. n. 263)
The Closing of the Spiritual Degree of the Mind
With those who as to life are in evils the spiritual degree is closed, and more completely with those who from evils are in falsities. It is the same as with the fibril of a nerve, which from the least touch of any heterogeneous body contracts itself. So every motive fibre of a muscle, nay, the whole muscle itself, and even the whole body contracts from the touch of any thing hard or cold. Thus do also the substances or forms of the spiritual degree in man shrink from evils and the falsities from them, because they are heterogeneous. For the spiritual degree since it is in the form of heaven admits nothing but goods, and truths which are from good. These are homogeneous to it; but evils and the falsities which are from evil are heterogeneous to it. This degree is contracted and by contraction is closed, especially, with those who in the world are in the love of rule from the love of self, because this love is the opposite of love to the Lord. It is closed also, but not so entirely, with those who from the love of the world have a mad desire to possess the goods of others. The reason why these loves close the spiritual degree is that they are the origins of evils. The contraction or shutting of this degree is like the retortion of a spiral in the opposite direction; for which reason that degree, after it is closed, turns back the light of heaven. Hence instead of the light of heaven there is darkness there, so that truth which is in the light of heaven becomes nauseous. With these not only is the spiritual degree itself closed, but also the higher region of the natural, which is called the rational,—until the lowest region of the natural degree only, which is called the sensual, stands open; for this is nearest to the world and to the outward senses of the body, from which the man afterwards thinks, speaks, and reasons. (DLW n. 254)
A Man is perfected in the other Life according to the Degree opened in the World
Every angel is perfected in wisdom to eternity; but each one according to the degree of affection for good and truth in which he was when he departed from the world. It is this degree which is perfected to eternity; what is beyond this degree is without the angel, and not within him; and that which is without him cannot be perfected within him. (DP n. 334)
The Will and Understanding are Organic Forms
Since the will and understanding are receptacles of love and wisdom, therefore they are two organic forms, or forms organized from the purest substances; they must be such that they may be receptacles. It is no objection that their organization is not visible to the eye; it is interior to its vision, even when increased by microscopes. Even very small insects are interior to the sight, yet there are within them organs of sense and motion; for they feel, and walk, and fly. That they have also brains, hearts, pulmonary tubes, viscera, has been discovered from their anatomy by acute observers, by means of the microscope. Since the little insects themselves are not manifest to the sight, and still less the minute viscera of which they are constituted, and it is not denied that even to least particulars within them they are organized, how then can it be said that the two receptacles of love and wisdom, which are called the will and the under-. standing, are not organic forms? How can love and wisdom, which are life from the Lord, act upon what is not a subject, or upon something which does not substantially exist? How else can thought endure? and how can any one speak from thought that is not enduring? Is not the brain, where the thought comes forth, full, and every thing therein organized? The organic forms themselves appear there, even to the naked eye; and manifestly in the cortical substance, the receptacles of the will and understanding in their beginning,—where, as it were, minute glandules are observed. Do not, I pray, think of these things from the notion of a vacuum. A vacuum is nothing; and in nothing nothing takes place, and from nothing nothing comes. (D. L W. n. 373)
The Understanding can be elevated above the Will
Wisdom and Love proceed from the Lord as a Sun and flow into heaven, universally and particularly,—from which source the angels have wisdom and love; and also, universally and particularly, into this world,—whence men have wisdom and love. But these two proceed in union from the Lord; and in union they likewise flow into the souls of angels, and of men. But they are not received in union into their minds; light is first received there, which forms the understanding, and love, which forms the will, is received gradually. This too is of Providence; because every man is to be created anew, that is, reformed, and this is effected by means of the understanding; for he must from infancy imbibe cognitions of truth and good, which shall teach him to live well, that is, rightly to purpose and to act. Thus the will is formed by means of the understanding. For this end there is given to man the capability of elevating his understanding almost into the light in which the angels of heaven are; that he may see what he ought to purpose and therefore do, in order that he may be prosperous for a time in the world, and after death be blessed to eternity. He becomes prosperous and blessed if he acquires wisdom, and keeps his will under obedience to it; but unprosperous and unhappy if he allows his understanding to be under obedience to his will. The reason is that from birth the will inclines to evils, even to enormous evils; if therefore it were not curbed by the understanding, man would rush into acts of heinous wickedness, nay, from his inmost bestial nature he would for the sake of himself ruin and destroy every one who does not favour and yield to him. Besides, if the understanding could not be separately perfected, and the will by means of it, a man would not be man, but a beast. For without this separation, and without the ascent of the understanding above the will, he would be unable to think, and from thought to speak, but could only utter his affection by sound. Nor would he be able to act from reason, but only from instinct; still less would he be able to acquire a knowledge of the things that are of God, and a knowledge of God by means of them, and thus to be conjoined with him and live to eternity. For man thinks and wills as if from himself, and this "as if from himself " is the reciprocal of 'conj unction; for there can be no conjunction without a reciprocal,—just as there is no conjunction of an active with a passive without a reactive. God alone acts, and man suffers himself to be actuated; and reacts to all appearance as from himself, though interiorly from God. (Influx, n. 14)
The Will rather than the Understanding constitutes the Man
As the quality of the love is such is the wisdom, and therefore such is the man; for such as the love and the wisdom are such are the will and the understanding; because the will is the receptacle of love, and the understanding is the receptacle of wisdom, as has been shown above,—which two make the man and his character. Love is manifold; even so manifold that its varieties are indefinite,—as is evident from the human race on earth and in the heavens. There is not one man or one angel so like another that there is no distinction. Love is what distinguishes; for every man is his own love. It is supposed that wisdom distinguishes. But wisdom is from love; it is its form; for love is the esse of life, and wisdom is the existere of life from that esse. It is believed in the world that the understanding constitutes the man; but this is because the understanding can be elevated as was shown above into the light of heaven, and man may thus appear wise. But so much of the understanding as transcends the love, that is, as is not of the love, though it appears to be of the man, and therefore that the man is such, yet this is only an appearance. For so much of his understanding as transcends, is in fact from the love of knowing and being wise, but not at the same time from the love of applying to his life what he knows and understands. It therefore either passes away in the world, in the course of time, or abides outside the subjects of the memory, upon its boundaries, as a something deciduous. It is therefore separated after death, and nothing more remains than accords with the proper love of the spirit. (DLW n. 368)
Thoughts and Affections are Variations of State and Form of the Organic Substances of the Mind
There was a philosopher who died some years ago,—among the more celebrated and sound,—with whom I conversed respecting the degrees of life in man; saying, that man consists of mere forms for receiving life; and that one form is interior to another, yet that one exists and subsists from another; also that when a lower or exterior form is dissolved, the higher or interior form still lives. It was further said that all operations of the mind are variations of its form, which variations are in such perfection in its purer substances that they cannot be described; that the ideas of thought are nothing else; . and that these variations proceed according to the changes of state of the affections. How exceedingly perfect variations these are in the purer forms may be inferred from the lungs, which variously ply themselves, and change their forms, to each particular utterance of speech, to every note of song, to the particular motions of the body, and also to the particular states of thought and affection. What must not be the case then with more interior things, which are in the most perfect state, in comparisonwith so large an organ? The philosopher confirmed this, and declared that such things had been known to him when he lived in the world; and that the world should apply philosophy to such uses, and not give their attention to naked forms of words, and disputes about them, and so labour in the dust. (AC n. 6326)
Affections, which are of the will, are mere changes of state of the purely organic substances of the mind; and thoughts, which are of the understanding, are mere changes and variations of their form; and the memory is the permanent state of these changes and variations. Who does not assent when it is said that there are no affections and thoughts except in substances and their forms, which are subjects? And as they exist in the brains, which are full of substances and forms, they are called purely organic forms. There is no one who thinks rationally but must smile at the fancies of some, that affections and thoughts are not in substantial subjects, but that they are exhalations modified by heat and light,—like images appearing in the air and ether; when yet there can no more be thought apart from a substantial form, than sight apart from its form, which is the eye, hearing from its form, which is the ear, and taste from its form, which is the tongue. Examine the brain and you will see innumerable substances, and likewise fibres, and that there is nothing there which is not organized. What need is there of other than this ocular confirmation? But it is asked, What is affection then, and what is thought? This may be inferred from all and each of the things that are in the body. There are many viscera there, each fixed in its place, and they perform their functions by changes and variations of state and form. That they are in the performance of their functions is known; the stomach in its function; the intestines in theirs; the kidneys in theirs; the liver, pancreas, and spleen in theirs; and the heart and lungs in theirs. And all these operations are set in motion only from within; and to be moved from within is to be moved by changes and variations of state and form. It is therefore evident that the operations of the purely organic substances of the mind are nothing else; with the difference, that the operations of the .organic substances of the body are natural, while those of the mind spiritual; and that by correspondences these and those make one. What is the nature of the changes and variations of state and form of the organic substances of the mind, which are affections and thoughts, cannot be shown to the eye; but yet they may be seen as in a mirror from the changes and variations of state of the lungs in speaking and singing. There is in fact a correspondence; for the tone in speaking and singing, and also the articulations of sound, which are the words of speech and the modulations of song, are made by the lungs; but the tone corresponds to an affection, and the speech to thought. They are in truth produced from them,,—and this is done by changes and variations of the state and form of the organic substances in the lungs; and from the lungs, through the trachea or arteria aspera, in the larynx and glottis; and then in the tongue; and finally in the lips. The first changes and variations of the state and form of sound are made in the lungs; the second in the trachea and larynx; the third in the glottis, by the manifold openings of its orifice; the fourth in the tongue, by its manifold applications to the palate and teeth; the fifth in the lips, by their manifold forms. From these things it is evident that mere changes and variations of state of organic forms, continued successively, produce the sounds and the articulations of them which are speech and. song. Now as sound and speech are produced from no other source than from affections and thoughts of the mind,—for they come from these, and never without them,—it is plain that affections of the will are changes and variations of state of the purely organic substances of the mind; and that thoughts of the understanding are changes and variations of the form of those substances,—in like manner as in the lungs. Since affections and thoughts are mere changes of state of the forms of the mind, it follows that the memory is no other than their permanent state; for all changes and variations of state in organic substances are such, that being once habitual they are permanent. Thus the lungs are accustomed to produce various sounds in the trachea, and to vary them in the glottis, to articulate them with the tongue, and modify them by the mouth; and when these organic [changes] are once accustomed they are in the organs and can be reproduced. These changes and variations are infinitely more perfect in the organic substances of the mind than in those of the body. (DP n. 279)
Ideas of Thought
The thought of man is distinguished into ideas; and one idea follows another as one word follows another in speech. But the ideas of thought succeed each other with such rapidity that the thought appears to a man while in the body as if it were continuous, and therefore as if there were no distinction [of the thought into ideas]. But in the other life it becomes manifest that thought is distinguished into ideas; for then speech is effected by ideas. There are things innumerable in a dingle idea of thought; and still more innumerable in a thought composed of ideas. (AC n. 6599)
The Appearance of Understanding in Brutes – Difference between them and Man
They who judge only from the appearance to the bodily senses conclude that beasts in like manner as men have will and understanding; and therefore that the only distinction is that man is able to speak, and thus to tell what he thinks and what he desires, while beasts can only make them known by a sound. Nevertheless beasts have not will and understanding, but merely a semblance of each; what the learned call an analogue. That man is a man is because his understanding can be elevated above the desires of his will,—even so that from above he can cognize, and observe them, and also moderate them; but a beast is a beast because its desires drive it to do whatever it does. A man is therefore a man by the fact that his will is under obedience to his understanding; but a beast is a beast by the fact that its understanding is under obedience to its will. From these considerations this conclusion follows; that the understanding of man, because it receives inflowing light from heaven, and apprehends and apperceives this as its own, and from this light thinks analytically precisely as if from itself, with all variety, is a living and therefore a true understanding; and that his will because it receives the inflowing love of heaven, and from this acts as from itself, is a living and therefore a true will; and that with beasts it is the reverse. For this reason they who think from the desires of the will are likened to beasts, and in the spiritual world they also appear as beasts at a distance; and they act like beasts, with the only difference that they can act otherwise if they will. But they who restrain the desires of their will by the understanding, in the spiritual world appear as men, and are angels of heaven. In a word, with beasts the will and the understanding always cohere; and as the will in itself is blind,— for it is [the receptacle] of heat and net of light,—it makes the understanding blind also. Hence a beast does not know and understand what it does, and yet it acts; for it acts by virtue of influx from the spiritual world, and such action is instinct. It is believed that a beast thinks from the understanding about what it does. But not in the least; it is impelled to action only by a natural love that is in it from creation, recruited by its bodily senses. Man thinks and speaks solely because his understanding is separable from his will, and capable of being elevated even into the light of heaven; for the understanding thinks, and thought speaks. That beasts act according to the laws of order inscribed upon their nature, and some as if morally and rationally, and differently from many men, is because their understanding is in blind obedience to the desires of their will; and therefore they could not, like men, pervert them by depraved reasonings. It is to be observed that by the will and understanding of beasts, in what has been said, their semblance and analogue is meant. The analogues are thus called from the appearance. The life of a beast may be compared with a night-walker, who, the understanding being asleep, walks and acts from the will; and with a blind man, who walks the streets led by a dog.... It is evident from these considerations how mistaken they are who believe that beasts enjoy rationality, and are only to be distinguished from men by their outward form, and by the fact that they cannot utter the rational things which they lay up within. From which fallacies many conclude also that if man lives after death beasts will live also; and on the other hand, that if beasts do not live after death neither will man; and many other dreams, arising from ignorance respecting the will and understanding, and also respecting the degrees by which the mind of man, as by a ladder, mounts up to heaven. (Influx, n. 15)
How the Spirit dwells within the Body
It has been said above that man is a spirit, and that the body serves him for the performance of uses in the world; and elsewhere, in different places, that the spirit is the internal of man and the body his external. They that do not comprehend how it is with respect to the spirit of man and his body, may therefore assert that the spirit dwells thus within the body, and the body, as it were, incloses and invests it. But it should be known, that the spirit of man within the body is in the whole and in every part, and is the purer substance of it, in its organs of motion and of sense, and everywhere else, and that the body is material annexed to it everywhere adapted to the world in which he then is. This is what is meant by saying that man is a spirit, and the body serves him for the performance of uses in the world, and that the spirit is man's internal and the body his external. It is clear, therefore, that man is in active and sensitive life likewise after death; and also in the human form, as in the world, but in a more perfect human form. (A. C n. 4659)