Jesus Lives! - The Lord God
Jesus Christ: Creator, Sustainer and Redeemer of Heaven and Earth
 Now either what the Church teaches must be true, that all wisdom and prudence are from God, or what the world teaches, that all wisdom and prudence are from man. Can these be reconciled in any other way than by admitting that what the Church teaches is true, and what the world teaches is the appearance? For the Church confirms its teaching from the Word, while the world confirms its teaching from the proprium, and the Word is from God while the proprium is from man. Since prudence is from God and not from man, therefore the Christian in his devotions prays that God may lead his thoughts, his intentions and his actions; adding also, because he from himself cannot do this. Moreover, when he sees anyone doing good he says that he has been led to it by God; and many similar examples may be given. Can anyone so speak unless he at the same time interiorly believes it? And to believe it interiorly is from heaven. On the other hand, when one thinks within himself and collects arguments in favour of human prudence, he can believe the contrary, and this is from the world. Internal belief however, prevails with those who acknowledge God in their heart, while external belief prevails with those who do not acknowledge God in their heart whatever their oral profession may be.
 Earlier in this treatise, and in the one mentioned above on THE DIVINE LOVE AND WISDOM, it was shown that in the Lord are Divine Love and Divine Wisdom; that these two are Life itself; that from these two man has will and understanding, will from the Divine Love and understanding from the Divine Wisdom; that to these two the heart and the lungs in the body correspond; and that consequently it may be evident that as the pulsation of the heart together with the respiration of the lungs governs the whole man as to his body, so the will together with the understanding governs the whole man as to his mind. Thus, it has been shown, there are two principles of life in every man, the one natural and the other spiritual, the natural principle of life being the pulsation of the heart and the spiritual principle the will of the mind. Each of these joins to itself a consort with which it cohabits and with which it performs the functions of life, the heart joining to itself the lungs, and the will joining to itself the understanding.
 Now since the soul of the will is love and the soul of the understanding is wisdom, both being from the Lord, it follows that love is the life of everyone, and is life of such a quality as is joined to wisdom; or what is the same, that the will is the life of everyone, and is life of such a quality as is joined to the understanding. However, more on this subject may be seen above in this treatise, and especially in THE ANGELIC WISDOM CONCERNING THE DIVINE LOVE AND WISDOM in the First and Fifth Parts.
 Take, for example, sound. He is greatly mistaken who thinks that sound has existence unless there is in it that which makes it distinctive. Moreover, sound corresponds to affection in man; and because there is always in it that which makes it distinctive, the affection of one’s love is known from the sound of his voice when speaking; and from the variation of sound, which is speech, his thought is known. Hence it is that the wiser angels, merely from the sound of the voice of one speaking, perceive his life’s loves, together with certain affections which are derivations from them. These things have been stated that it may be known that no affection is possible without its thought, and no thought without its affection. More on this subject may be seen above in this treatise and in THE ANGELIC WISDOM CONCERNING THE DIVINE LOVE AND WISDOM.
 Since every affection has its own delight and every thought thence derived has its own pleasure, it may be evident what is the source of good and truth, and also what good and truth are in their essence. Everyone’s good is that which is the delight of his affection, and his truth that which is pleasant to the thought derived from the affection. For everyone calls that good which from the love of his will, he feels to be delightful, and he calls that truth which from the wisdom of his understanding thence derived he perceives to be pleasant. Both of these flow forth from the life’s love as water flows from a fountain, or as blood from the heart; and both taken together are like an ocean or an atmosphere in which dwells the whole human mind.
 These two, delight and pleasure, are spiritual in the mind but natural in the body, and in both planes they constitute man’s life. From this it is clear what it is in man that is called good, and what it is that is called truth; also what it is in man that is called evil and what it is that is called falsity; namely, that that is evil to him which destroys the delight of his affection and that false which destroys the pleasure of his thought derived from it. Moreover, it is clear, that evil from its own delight and falsity from its own pleasure may be called good and truth and may be believed to be good and truth. Indeed, goods and truths are changes and variations of state in the forms of the mind; but these are perceived and have existence solely through their delights and pleasures. These things have been set forth that it may be known what affection and thought are in their life.
 In the spiritual world I once heard two priests discussing with a certain royal ambassador about human prudence, whether it is from God or from man, and the discussion was heated. In heart the three believed alike, namely, that human prudence does all things and the Divine Providence nothing; but the priests, who were then in theological zeal, were maintaining that there is nothing of wisdom and prudence from man; and when the ambassador retorted that in this case there was nothing of thought either, they declared that this was so. As angels, however, perceived that the three believed alike, the ambassador was told to put on the robes of a priest and to believe himself to be a priest and then to speak. He put them on and believed; and then in lofty tones he declared that in no wise was it possible for any wisdom and prudence to be in man unless from God; and he defended this with his customary eloquent speech full of rational arguments. The two priests were then told to put off their robes and put on those of officers of state and to believe themselves to be officers. They did so, and then, thinking at the same time now from their interior self they spoke from the arguments they had inwardly entertained previously in favour of human prudence and against Divine Providence. Thereupon the three, as they believed alike, became cordial friends and entered together upon the way of one’s own prudence, which leads to hell.
 These are external affections of thought, and they manifest themselves indeed in bodily sensation, but rarely in the thought of the mind. But the internal affections of thought, from which the external affections exist, never make themselves manifest to man. Of these man knows no more than one sleeping in a carriage knows of the road or than one feels of the earth’s rotation. Now, since man knows nothing of the things going on in the interiors of his mind, which are so many that they cannot be numbered, and yet those few external things which come within the view of his thought are produced from the interiors, and since the interiors are governed by the Lord alone, by means of His Divine Providence, and those few external things by the Lord in conjunction with man, how then can anyone say that his own prudence accomplishes all things? If you were to see but one single idea of thought opened up you would see wonderful things more in number than tongue can tell.
 That there are in the interiors of man’s mind so many things that they cannot be numbered is clear from the infinitude of things in the body; and from these nothing comes to sight and sense but action alone in a very simplified form. Yet to this there contribute thousands of motor or muscular fibres, thousands of nerve fibres, thousands of blood-vessels, thousands of cells in the lungs which must co-operate in every action, thousands in the brains and in the spinal cord; and many more things still in the spiritual man, which is the human mind, in which all things are forms of affections and of their derived perceptions and thoughts. Does not the soul, which disposes the interiors, dispose also actions which spring from these? Man’s soul is nothing else than the love of his will and the consequent love of his understanding; and the whole man is such as this love is, and he becomes such according to the manner in which he disposes his externals in which he and the Lord are together. Therefore, if he attributes all things to himself and to nature, the love of self becomes the soul; but if he attributes all things to the Lord, love to the Lord becomes the soul; and this love is heavenly, but the other is infernal.
 But reflect within yourself what universal providence is when the individual things are taken away. Is it anything more than a mere word? For that is said to be universal which is constituted of individual things taken together just as that is said to be general which exists from particulars. If therefore, you take away the individual things what then is the universal but like something empty within, thus like a surface with nothing beneath, or like a complex that includes nothing? If it should be said that the Divine Providence is a universal government, while nothing is governed, but things are merely maintained in connection, and matters pertaining to government are disposed by others, can this be called a universal government? No king has such a government as this; for if any king were to grant to his subjects to govern everything in his kingdom, he would no longer be a king, but would only be called king; and thus he would have only a nominal and not a real dignity. With such a king there cannot be predicated government, still less universal government.
 Providence with God is called prudence with men. As there cannot be said to be universal prudence with a king who has reserved to himself no more than the name in order that his kingdom may be called a kingdom and thus held together, so there cannot be said to be a universal providence if men from their own prudence were to provide all things. It is the same with the terms universal providence and universal government when used of nature, when it is understood that God created the universe and endowed nature with the power of producing all things from herself. What then is universal providence but a metaphysical term, a term and nothing more? Of those who attribute to nature everything that is produced and to human prudence everything that is done, and who nevertheless declare with the lips that God created nature, there are many who think of the Divine Providence only as an empty term. But the case really is that the Divine Providence is in the most individual things of nature and in the most individual things of human prudence, and from these it is universal.
 No one who knows from the doctrine of the Church and believes that God is infinite and eternal (for it is in the doctrine of all the Churches in the Christian world that God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost, is infinite, eternal, uncreated and omnipotent, as may be seen in the Athanasian Creed), can be so devoid of reason as not to admit as soon as he hears it that God cannot do otherwise than regard what is infinite and eternal in the great work of His creation. What else can He regard when He looks from Himself? Moreover, it must be admitted that God also regards this in the human race from which He forms His heaven. Now what else can the Divine Providence have for its end than the reformation of the human race and its salvation? And no one can be reformed by himself by means of his own prudence, but only by the Lord by means of His Divine Providence. Hence it follows that unless man were led by the Lord every moment, yea, every minutest fraction of a moment, he would depart from the way of reformation and perish.
 Every change and variation of state of the human mind makes some change and variation in the series of things present and consequently of things that follow; what, then, must it not do in the progression to eternity? It is like an arrow shot from a bow which, if it made the slightest deviation from the target at the moment of being aimed would deviate immensely at a distance of a thousand feet or more. So it would be if the Lord did not lead the states of human minds every fraction of a moment. This the Lord does in accordance with the laws of His Divine Providence; and it is in accordance with these laws that it should appear to man that he leads himself; but the Lord foresees how he leads himself and continually makes suitable adaptation. It will be seen in what follows that the laws of permission are also laws of the Divine Providence, and that every man can be reformed and regenerated, and that no other predestination is possible.
 From these things it is clear that the Divine Providence of the Lord is universal because it is in the most individual things; and that this is the infinite and eternal creation which the Lord provided for Himself by means of the creation of the universe. Man does not see anything of this universal providence; and if he did, it could not appear to him otherwise than as passers-by see the scattered heaps and collections of materials from which a house is to be built; while the Lord sees it as a magnificent palace with its work of construction and enlargement continually going on.
 Now since the love of self desires to be sole lord of the world, and thus a god, therefore the lusts of evil, which are derived from that love, have their life from it; as have in like manner the perceptions belonging to the lusts, perceptions which are cunning devices; as have also the delights pertaining to the lusts, delights which are evils, and as also have the thoughts pertaining to the delights, thoughts which are falsities. All these are like slaves and servants of their lord, responding to his every nod, unaware, however, that they do not act but are only acted upon, being acted upon by the love of self through the pride of their own intelligence. Hence it is that man’s own prudence, by virtue of its origin, lies concealed in every evil.
 The acknowledgment of nature alone also lies concealed in it because self-love has closed the window on its roof by which heaven lies open and also its side windows, lest it should see and hear that the Lord alone governs all things, that nature in herself is dead, and that man’s proprium is hell, and consequently that the love of the proprium is the devil. Then, with its windows closed, it is in darkness and there makes a fire on the hearth for itself at which it sits with its consort; and they reason together in a friendly way in favour of nature as against God, and in favour of man’s own prudence as against the Divine Providence.
 If therefore, you wish to be led by the Divine Providence use prudence as a servant and steward does who faithfully dispenses the goods of his master. This prudence is the talent which was given to the servants to trade with, of which they must render an account (Luke 19:13-25; Matt. 25:14-31). Prudence itself appears to man as his own; and it is believed to be his own so long as he keeps shut up within him the deadliest enemy of God and the Divine Providence, the love of self. This dwells in the interiors of every man from birth; if you do not recognise it, for it does not wish to be recognised, it dwells securely, and guards the door lest man should open it, and it should thus be cast out by the Lord. Man opens this door by shunning, as of himself evils as sins, with the acknowledgment that he does so from the Lord. This is the prudence with which the Divine Providence acts as one.
I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head. (Gen. 3:15).
The serpent is evil of every kind, its head is self-love; the seed of the woman is the Lord; the enmity that is put, is between the love of man’s proprium and the Lord, and thus between man’s own prudence and the Divine Providence of the Lord. For man’s own prudence is continually raising that head, and the Divine Providence is continually putting it down.
 If man felt this he would be enraged and exasperated against God, and would perish; but while he does not feel this he may be enraged and exasperated against men, and against himself and also against fortune, without perishing. Hence it is that the Lord by His Divine Providence continually leads man in freedom, and the freedom appears to him to be none other than his own; and to lead man in freedom in opposition to himself is like lifting up a heavy and resisting weight from the ground by means of screws, through the power of which the weight and the resistance are not felt; or it is like what happens to a man in the company of an enemy who intends to kill him, an intention he is not aware of; and a friend leads him away by unknown paths and afterwards discloses to him his enemy’s intention.
 It is well known that the Gentiles in days gone by acknowledged Fortune and built a temple to her, as did the people of Italy at Rome. Concerning this fortune, which is, as has been said, the Divine Providence in ultimates, it has been granted me to know many things that I am not permitted to make public. From these it was made clear to me that fortune is not an illusion of the mind, nor a sport of nature, nor something without a cause, for this has no reality; but that it is ocular evidence that the Divine Providence is in the most individual things of man’s thought and action. As the Divine Providence presents itself in the most individual things, so insignificant and trifling, why should it not do so in the most individual things, not insignificant and trifling, such as matters of peace and war on earth, and matters of salvation and life in heaven?