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actions, plans and schemes, are from the low and base affections which favor these two loves. The Lord sees these affections, and the angels also who are set over man, and they understand them much better than the man himself does. Hence the plans which grow from them are so frequently thwarted by unforeseen occurrences, and are either turned to favor man's salvation, or to lighten the evil of condemnation which he would otherwise bring upon himself. They are permitted to succeed for a time, — they go on bravely and well, as though in truth the man had power in his own hands to become “the architect of his own fortune.” But by and by he is circumvented in a way he least suspected. Some change of societies in the spiritual world, or power applied there, starts up an obstruction here in the ultimates of nature; all his boasted power is humbled into nothing; the mighty fabric of his pride topples down before him as he looks on in astonishment; and he is obliged to confess to that mysterious destiny which the natural man knows nothing of, only to dignify with the name of Fortune.

And in like manner also, if the man is principled in the love of the Lord and the neighbor. He may need a lighter or even a heavier treatment; more or less disappointment or success; but inasmuch as his aim is now heavenly, he is more fully within the sphere of the Divine Providence, and less implicated in the mistakes of mere humanity. He is therefore carried to his goal in a more orderly manner.

It is one's own prudence that lies hid in every evil from its origin, and in which also is concealed the acknowledgment of nature alone. Hence also it is that those in the future world who have most relied upon their own prudence against the Divine Providence, become, according to Swedenborg, mere worshippers of nature, and more than others, magicians also, and skilled in wicked arts. For it is by these means that they hope to affect more fully their own purposes, to circumvent the laws of nature, and to provide for themselves.

It will not of course be inferred, or felt in the least, from

any thing which has been said of the perfection and fulness of the Divine Providence, that any relaxation of effort is encouraged on the part of man: for inasmuch as the whole of nature is in effort, or connatus, to effect its own results, so man, as a part of it, though acted upon continually by the Divine Will and by influx from the unseen world, must still continue with all energy to exert himself, and to contribute his part to the mighty movement. Because there is so resistless and continual a Providence, that is no reason why man should not act with all diligence as of himself; for it is the very order of Providence to cause man to act, and thus, by means of his free powers, receive and appropriate those blessings which he can thus only enjoy. He could not enjoy them unless he appeared to acquire them himself. How great is the satisfaction of accomplishing any thing of one's self! What a divine pleasure in the very work itself! In fact, Providence can only come, most fully and successfully, where the free-will of man is most active to admit it. It thus opens the doors, and throws open the windows of the mind, for influx. Hence the proverb “ Providence helps those who help themselves.”

But if we deny it, or do not look to it, our own power dwindles into imbecility. We may succeed for a while, but the great currents of influx and of destiny will sooner or later assert their mastery, and man be humbled and carried away with them.

“I have discoursed with good spirits,” says Swedenborg, “concerning the Divine Providence, and concerning man's own proper prudence, and they showed me about this by a representative familiar amongst them, namely by a mote scattered and rare in the atmosphere, saying that man's own proper prudence is to the Divine Providence as that mote is to the universal atmosphere, which mote is respectively nothing, and also falls down. They added, that they who attribute all things to their own proper prudence, are like those who wander in thick forests, and do not know the way out, and if they find it, they attribute it either to their own prudence, or to fortune.” A. C. 6485. “ But I know that human prudence brings over the rational

more to its side, than the Divine Providence does to its; for the reason that the latter is not apparent, but the former is apparent: it can be more easily received that there is one only life, which is God, and that all men are recipients of life from Him; and yet this is the same thing, because prudence is of life. Who in reasoning does not speak in favor of one's own prudence, and in favor of nature, when he reasons from the natural or external man? but who in reasoning does not speak in favor of the Divine Providence, and in favor of God, when he reasons from the spiritual or internal man? But I say to the natural man, pray write books, and fill them with arguments, plausible, probable, and likely, and in your judgment solid ; one in favor of one's own prudence, the other in favor of nature, and afterwards give them into the hand of any angel, and I know that he will write below these few words : They are all appearances and fallacies. D. P. 213



Thou only knowest,
Thou, whose broad eye the future and the past
Joins to the present, making one of three
To mortal thought: of two eternities
Amazing Lord !”. Young.

It is doubtless very difficult for our finite faculties to realize how such a truth as the infinite Divine foresight can possibly exist. It seems almost too much for even Deity himself. That some generals of the universe should be previsioned to the Deity -- that the planetary systems, for instance, and the nature of man, and his fall and restoration, with other things of a like general character, should be known and seen by the great Creator from all past eternity, is a truth we can very readily admit. We can seem to comprehend how such a thing could be. But that all the minutiæ. - the infinite and everlasting complication of events in all worlds — the smallest particulars, with all the thoughts, motives, and actions of man, spirit, and angel, should be thus seen and scrutinized what an overwhelming contemplation! And yet if we will stop upon the very threshold, and consider what the generals are without the particulars — that they can in fact only be made up of each several particular, we may infer that one can be foreseen, on the same principle as the other. How is a general seen? How does God see any thing before it comes to pass ? This question answered, the whole is answered; for the difference between one such thing and many is only that which is involved in the infinity of the contemplation. The infinity of the subject may perplex us, but the principle not at all.

Let us then proceed to narrow down the contemplation to the nature and proportions of a man.

We know that man is the image of God, created from Him, and spiritual like Him. And now the astounding fact presents itself that man foresees, with wonderful accuracy, an event before its existence in the world of nature. How often is it the case! It is proved by prophecy, by dream, by presentiment, by actual spiritual sight, either in sleep or wakefulness, in numberless instances. And it is a truth of the most wonderful and interesting nature. How is it we have asked ourselves many a time — that the future can be foreseen? We can understand how the past can be seen, and this even by the spiritual vision of one who has never known the history of it — never heard of the events which are now for the first time discovered, and which are viewed and read distinctly by a clairvoyant power, on the records of the bygone. There is a very appreciable philosophy for this. The past has existed. It has therefore made its impress on the substances of the world, either material or spiritual, or both; either in human souls, or in the general sphere of spiritual existence from them; and it is so indelibly engraven that it can be read there by the eye of the soul as from the page of a book. Let none think that the actions of the past are not preserved, and stratified, as it were, in the earth of human experience. Witness the truths in the previous chapter on Memory. Most astonishing is the reality — most thorough and substantial the philosophy which so interprets it.

But how can the future be seen? that which has not yet existed — which no human soul has felt or sensed in any way

– which depends upon the concurrence of a thousand wills, and purposes formed and annulled, and re-formed and re-annulled, and ten thousand contingencies. How can such a thing be seen even for a day, much less a year, or many years in advance? And yet we know that it is seen, and with the most amazing particularity, even in the recognition of accidental circumstances. How is it?

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