(DP) - Angelic Wisdom about Divine Providence

DP 201

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201. IV. THE LORD BY MEANS OF HIS DIVINE PROVIDENCE ARRANGES THE AFFECTIONS [OF THE WHOLE HUMAN RACE] INTO ONE FORM, WHICH IS THE HUMAN FORM. It will be seen in the following number that this is the universal end of the Divine Providence. Those who ascribe all things to nature also ascribe all things to human prudence; for those who ascribe all things to nature deny God in their heart, and those who ascribe all things to human prudence deny the Divine Providence in their heart; the two are inseparable. Yet both classes, for the sake of their good name and from fear of losing it, profess in words that the Divine Providence is universal, and that its individual things rest with man, and that these universal things in their complex are understood by human prudence.
[2] 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.
[3] Providence with God is called prudence with men. As there cannot he 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 he 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.


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