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mensity with His presence can comprehend all breadth, all length, and the whole infinite connection.
And be it observed, the infinite eye of God, the same as his infinite power, or love, involves a spiritual faculty in its own ineffable organism. God is infinite Man. “ He that planted shall he not hear? He that formed the
shall he not see?” (Psalm, 94: 9.) And these infinite things in the Deity do not act without their proper mediums, any more than man sees without the aid of light. The whole spiritual world is full of light from its own Sun, and it is by this light that God sees into the minds of angels, and also of wicked spirits. If, therefore, we cannot comprehend the infinity of the subject, we can the rationale ; and inasmuch as man the creature foresees, we have only to transfer the mediumistic connections of his creatureship, in an infinite amplitude to the Creator, to conceive how He can see, not only by Himself, but by angels and spirits from Him, which is the same thing, and from eternity to eternity inspect the myriads of thoughts, feelings, and action's of all his creatures, and every position and circumstance into which they may come! It all results from the germal and infolded Essence of all things from the very first, and from the fact that God is all in all in a most necessary connection.
Mighty and overwhelming as the truth is to all finite faculties, yet it is from such a truth that the very best of consolation is derived for poor and helpless humanity. If God did not foresee and foreknow, how could he provide for every thing? If it were possible that any thing, ever so small, could start up in his dominions without his previous knowledge of it, then a greater thing may, and still a greater. And where shall limits be set? And in such a contingency, what certainty is there of absolute and abundant provision ? Things, therefore, are not only provided but previded; and though all eternity, which with the Infinite is an ever present Now, they are arranged in the most perfect order, because of order and from order : that is to say, not arbitrarily or artificially, but essentially and neces
sarily, as flowing from the Divine Nature Itself. What man perverts to disorder is provided with its proper limits, checks, and regulations.
Such is the truth as it pertains to man's whole existence. It is only thus that the Divine Providence is rendered perfect. But it is seen to be of the most essential importance to the regeneration of man. There are many progressions and periods in the regenerate life, from old states to new ones, both in the understanding and the will. It must be, therefore, by a continual moderation of man's free-will throughout the whole process. “Such progressions and derivations,” says Swedenborg, “ are perpetual with the man who is regenerated, from his infancy even to the last of his life in the world, and also afterwards, even to eternity; and yet he can never be so regenerated, as that in any measure he may be said to be perfect; for there are things innumerable, yea, indefinite in number, which are to be regenerated, as well in the rational as in the natural, and every one of them has shoots infinite in number, that is, progressions and derivations towards interiors and towards exteriors. Man is altogether ignorant of this, but the Lord is acquainted with all and single things, and provides every moment; if he were to intermit his providence for the smallest instant of time, all the progressions would be disturbed; for what is prior respects what follows in continual series, and produces serieses of consequences to eternity; hence it is evident that the divine foresight and providence is in every thing, even the most singular; and unless this were the case, or if it were only universal, the human race would perish. -(A. C. 5122.)
“ How precious are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! If I should count them they are more in number than the sand; when I awake I am still with Thee.”(Psalm, 139: 17, 18.)
DIVINE PROVIDENCE IN THE PERMISSION OF PARTICULAR
“ From seeming evil, still educing good,
And better still, and better thence again,
Human nature is frequently appalled and its reason confounded, by the prevalence and outbreak of such gigantic evils as carry terror to all hearts. Most bloody cruelties, most hellish and heaven-daring crimes. The butchery of thousands to gratify the caprice of one petty and contemptible tyrant; and the violation of all innocence, all honor, and every sentiment of respect and humanity. The most detestable brutality, the most heartless shame. Women and children treated as dogs, and in fact worse than any animals, and such scenes enacted in the face of heaven as even the sun might refuse to light, and angels weep over in bitter tears. We forbear to paint the picture; there are no colors black and bright enough, and no art adequate to the awful drawing. The facts are such as to prompt the hearts of natural men, frequently, to exclamations like the following :-“Why does not God strike dead such miscreants at once ? — If there is a God of infinite power, why does He not hurl destruction on them in an instant ? "
But what says cool and sober reason? In the first place, the amount of crime is of but little consequence so long as there is any; why is there any? why does God permit any evils at all? We do not propose to enter here again into the question of the origin of evil; but evil having gained admittance, what is the providence in such outbreak - such terrible ultimation ? And
it might be a sufficient reply to this, to ask another question. Why are the diseases of the human body permitted to break out upon the surface? Wherefore the hideous eruptions upon the skin and exteriors, so afflicting and offensive to man? Manifestly, there is a correspondence. The human race as at present existing is an organized body of corrupt humanity; and if the evils wherewith society is impregnated did not thus appear, no one would know of their existence, and hence know of the application and the remedy. The external, criminal manifestations of a sin-smitten humanity are symptomatic. It is by observing the symptoms that we get at the disease. Or, to speak individually, if our evils did not appear to us ; if we were not, time after time, notified of their existence by the external malady; if they never broke out into acts of disorder, into ungoverned passion, unbridled lust, and strifes and tumults of various kinds; to say nothing of the little acts of impatience, hatred, and folly, every day appearing; we should never know what a gangrenous mass of corruption the internal man was affected with, and hence should not be so well aware of the stringent necessity for cure. It is of the Lord's divine mercy that sins are thus manifest in outward act.
And besides, if they did not break out, the spiritual internals would be still more affected, and like a cancerous gangrene, would spread through the whole soul, and consume all human vitality. There is as much use and advantage, therefore, in the eruption of spiritual, as of physical diseases. And when we hear of some violent outbreak of crime or villany, murder, or wholesale butchery of humanity, or demonstration of an infuriate mob, we can look upon it frequently with the same cool philosophy as we look upon the sore which discharges its virulent matter upon the human body. Not by any means that the sore ought to be, either physically or socially, but that the outbreak is, under the circumstances, the best thing that can be. It were better to put off the corruption peaceably and quietly, without injury to others, as a common sinner does his
evils; but if this cannot be, as is manifestly the case in certain stages of the body politic, then it is better to have the storm and fury, and the thunderbolts of God's vengeance along with it. We are not arguing for crime, but discovering the providence in crime. It is one God who rules in heaven and in hell. It is one Almighty Disposer who governs in the natural and the spiritual worlds. Whence earthquakes and volcanoes ? The earth must have vent; its pent up gases must find escape; and better at an earlier stage than a later. Best at the right time.
“ If plagues and earthquakes break not Heaven's design,
The penalties of crime are none the less sure for its usefulness, nor the wrong any the less flagrant. It is the “ order of disorder,” and the Divine Providence is equally concerned in it.
The whole process, too, is corrective in its nature, and tends to greater and greater harmony. The same as the storms and convulsions of the earth. It could not at all be permitted without this tendency, and the true and manifest principle is that no evil is permitted which is not the most direct means of preventing a greater. We cannot see, in each individual case, the justice of their sufferings who fall victims to the desperadoes of earth; they are frequently innocent and harmless. Whole populations of unoffending inhabitants may be swept off by one unholy war, and countless human beings fall a prey to unconscionable villanies. But yet we should remember that sin has defiled more or less the whole human race, and though we cannot see the cause in many individual cases, yet the cause undoubtedly exists, in some plague spot or other, of many a sacrifice to mysterious death. We shall not presume, as no man can, to scrutinize and comment upon all such providences, in all their bearings; we have frequently to bow our head in most humiliating ignorance, and in silent, painful wonder. But through all the darkness there is at the same time a general