(DP) - Angelic Wisdom about Divine Providence

DP 294

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294. It was stated above (n. 289) that when some were convinced that no one thinks from himself but only from others, and that all those others think not from themselves but from influx through heaven from the Lord, they said in their astonishment that in this case they are not in fault for doing evil; also that it thus seems that evil originates from the Lord; and also that they do not understand that the Lord alone can cause all to think so differently. Now since these three ideas cannot but flow into the thoughts of those who think only of effects from effects, and not of effects from causes, it is necessary that they be taken up and explained from causes.
[2] First: In this case they are not in fault for doing evil. For if every thing that a man thinks flows into him from others the fault seems to rest with those from whom it comes. Nevertheless, the fault is in him who receives, because he receives it as his own; and he neither knows nor desires to know otherwise. For everyone desires to be his own, and to be led by himself, and especially to think and to will from himself; this is freedom itself and it appears as his proprium in which every man is. Therefore, if he knew that what he thinks and wills flows in from another he would seem to himself to be bound and captive and no longer master of himself; and thus all the delight of his life, and at length his human itself, would perish.
[3] That this is so I have often seen proved. It was granted to some spirits to perceive and to feel that they were being led by others. Thereupon they were so enraged that they became as it were demented; and they said they would rather be kept bound in hell than not be allowed to think in accordance with their will and to will in accordance with their thought. Not to be allowed to do so they called being bound as to life itself, which was harder and more intolerable than being bound as to their body. Not to be allowed to speak and act in accordance with their thought and will they did not call being bound; because the delight of civil and moral life, which consists in speaking and doing, acts as the restraining influence and, at the same time, mitigates the restraint.
[4] Now since man is not willing to know that he is led to think by others, but desires to think from himself and also believes that he does so, it follows that he himself is at fault, nor can he free himself of blame so long as he loves to think what he is thinking; But if he does not love it he breaks his connection with those from whom his thought flows. This happens when he knows that it is evil, and therefore desires to shun it and to desist from it. Then also he is taken away by the Lord from the society which is in that evil and is transferred to a society where it does not exist. If, however, he knows the evil and does not shun it the fault is imputed to him, and he becomes answerable for that evil. Therefore, whatever a man believes that he does from himself is said to be done from the man and not from the Lord.
[5] Second: It thus seems that evil originates from the Lord. This may be thought to be the conclusion from what was shown above (n. 288), namely, that good flowing in from the Lord is turned in hell into evil and truth into falsity. Anyone can see that evil and falsity do not originate from good and truth, and consequently not from the Lord, but from the recipient subject and object which is in evil and falsity and which perverts and inverts that which flows in, as was fully shown above (n. 292). However, the source of evil and falsity in man has been frequently shown in the preceding pages. Moreover, an experiment was made in the spiritual world with those who believed that the Lord could remove evils in the wicked and introduce good in their place, and in this way could transfer all hell into heaven and save all. But that this is impossible will be seen towards the end of this treatise, where instantaneous salvation and immediate mercy are to be considered.
[6] Third: They do not understand that the Lord alone can cause all to think so differently. The Lord's Divine Love is infinite and infinite also is His Divine Wisdom; and infinite things of love and wisdom proceed from the Lord, and these flow into all in heaven, and thence into all in hell, and from both of these into all in the world; therefore, thinking and willing cannot fail in anyone, for infinite things are all things without limit. Those infinite things which proceed from the Lord flow in not only universally but also most individually; for the Divine is universal from the most individual things, and these Divine individual things constitute what is called the Universal, as was shown above; and the most individual Divine thing is also infinite. Hence it may be evident that the Lord alone causes everyone to think and to will in accordance with his own peculiar quality and in accordance with the laws of His Providence. That all things which are in the Lord and which proceed from Him are infinite has been shown above (n. 46-69); and also in the treatise THE DIVINE LOVE AND WISDOM (n. 17-22).


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