(DP) - Angelic Wisdom about Divine Providence

DP 322

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It is a dictate of sound reason that all are predestined to heaven, and no one to hell; for all are born men, and consequently the image of God is in them. The image of God in them consists in this, that they are able to understand truth and to do good. To be able to understand truth is from the Divine Wisdom, and to be able to do good is from the Divine Love. This power constitutes the image of God, which remains with the man of sound mind, and is not eradicated. In consequence of this he can become a civil and a moral man; and he that becomes this can also become spiritual; for what is civil and moral is the receptacle of what is spiritual. He who knows the laws of the state of which he is a citizen and lives according to them is said to be a civil man; and he is said to be a moral man who makes those laws the standard of his morals and of his virtues, and from reason lives according to them.
[2] I will now state how the civil and the moral life is the receptacle of the spiritual life: Live these laws not only as civil and moral laws but also as Divine laws, and you will be a spiritual man. There scarcely exists a nation so barbarous that it has not by its laws prohibited murder, adultery with the wife of another, theft, false witness and the violation of another's property. The civil and the moral man observes these laws in order that he may be, or seem to be, a good citizen; but if he does not at the same time regard these laws as Divine he is only a civil and a moral natural man; and if he also regards them as Divine he becomes a civil and a moral spiritual man. The difference is, that the latter is a good citizen not only of an earthly kingdom but also of the heavenly kingdom, while the former is a good citizen of an earthly kingdom but not of the heavenly kingdom. They are distinguished by the good they do. The good which civil and moral natural men do is not good in itself, for man and the world are in it; while the good which civil and moral spiritual men do is good in itself because the Lord and heaven are in it.
[3] Hence it may be evident that every man because he is born such that he can become a civil and a moral natural man is also born such that he can become a civil and a moral spiritual man. The only condition is that he should acknowledge God and not do evil because it is against God but should do good because it is in harmony with God. When this condition is observed a spirit enters into his civil and moral actions, and they live; but when it is not observed there is no spirit in them, and consequently they do not live. Therefore the natural man, however civil and moral his actions may he, is called dead, while the spiritual man is called alive.
[4] It is of the Lord's Divine Providence that every nation has some form of religion; and the primary essential of every religion is the acknowledgment that there is a God, otherwise it is not called a religion; and every nation that lives according to its religion, that is, which refrains from doing evil because it is contrary to its God, receives something spiritual in its natural. When one hears some Gentile say that he will not commit this or that evil because it is contrary to his God, does he not say to himself, Is not this man saved? It appears as if it could not be otherwise: sound reason declares this to him. On the other hand, when one hears a Christian say, I regard this or that evil as of no moment; what does it signify that it is said to be contrary to God? does he not say to himself, Surely this man cannot be saved? it seems to be impossible that he should. This also sound reason declares.
[5] Should such a one say, I was born a Christian, I have been baptised, I have known the Lord, I have read the Word, I have attended the sacrament of the Supper, do these things avail when he does not regard as sins murder, or the revenge which inspires it, adultery, secret theft, false testimony or lying, and various ford of violence? Does such a man think of God or of any eternal life? Does he think that these exist? Does not sound reason declare that such a one cannot be saved? These things have been said of the Christian because the Gentile thinks more about God from religion related to life than the Christian does. More, however, will be said on this subject in what follows in this order:
I. The end of creation is a heaven from the human race.
II. Therefore it is from the Divine Providence that every man can be saved; and that those are saved who acknowledge God and live well.
III. The man himself is in fault if he is not saved.
IV. Thus all are predestined to heaven, and no one to hell.


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