Extracts

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Providence

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[1 of 3] Swedenborg (1688-1772, Sweden): primary subject "Providence" (search under Beings/God)": source "Divine Providence": detail "Section 335"
Divine providence has means and methods. Its means are the things by which man becomes man and is perfected in will and understanding; its methods are the ways this is accomplished. The means by which man becomes man and is perfected in understanding are collectively called truths. In the thought they become ideas, are called objects of the memory, and in themselves are forms of knowledge from which information comes. All these means, viewed in themselves, are spiritual, but as they exist in what is natural, they seem by reason of their covering or clothing to be natural and some of them seem to be material. They are infinite in number and variety, and more or less simple or composite, and also more or less imperfect or perfect. There are means for forming and perfecting natural civil life; likewise for forming and perfecting rational moral life; as there are for forming and perfecting heavenly spiritual life.
 These means advance, one kind after another, from infancy to the last of man's life, and thereafter to eternity. As they come along and mount, the earlier ones become means to the later, entering into all that is forming as mediate causes. From these every effect or conclusion is efficacious and therefore becomes a cause. In turn what is later becomes means; and as this goes on to eternity, there is nothing farthest on or final to make an end. For as what is eternal is without end, so a wisdom that increases to eternity is without end. If there were an end to wisdom for a wise man, the enjoyment of his wisdom would perish, which consists in the perpetual multiplication and fructification of wisdom.


[2 of 3] Swedenborg (1688-1772, Sweden): primary subject "Providence" (search under Beings/God)": source "Divine Providence": detail "Section 187"
Man can see divine providence ‘on the back’ [afterwards] and not ‘in the face’ [beforehand]; also in a spiritual state but not in a natural. To see divine providence ‘on the back‘ but not ‘in the face‘ means after it acts and not before. To see it in a spiritual state and not in a natural is to see it from heaven and not from the world. All who receive influx from heaven and acknowledge divine providence, especially those who have become spiritual through reformation, on beholding events taking a wonderful course see providence as it were from an interior acknowledgment and confess it. These do not wish to see it in the face, that is, before it eventuates, fearing that their volition may intrude on something of its order and tenor.
 It is otherwise with those who do not admit any influx from heaven but only from the world, especially with those who have become natural by confirming appearances in themselves. They do not see anything of divine providence on the back, that is, after it eventuates, but wish to behold it in the face or before it eventuates; and as divine providence works by means, and these are provided through man or the world, they attribute providence, whether they look it ‘in the face‘ or ‘on the back‘, to man or to nature, and so confirm themselves in the denial of it.


[3 of 3] Swedenborg (1688-1772, Sweden): primary subject "Providence" (search under Beings/God)": source "Spiritual Experiences, vol.2": detail "Section 1088"
It is a fact beyond doubt that the Lord governs the universe, and this government is called Providence. But because evils are not provided, but foreseen, so also are permissions. But to make it understood how this matter stands: foresight pertains to evils, and providence is the disposal of evils toward good outcomes.
 However, there is no such thing as chance, that is, evil happening by chance, but all evils are controlled in a way that not a single one of them is permitted to happen to a person on earth or to a soul that does not lead to good. Furthermore, nothing is permitted to happen that has not been foreseen, for otherwise it cannot happen. Consequently, all evils are bent in such a way that just those, and not any others, do happen, because it cannot be helped in view of the so corrupt state of mankind.
 So it is providence alone that governs, for foresight is thus turned into Providence, and then those evils are provided which result in good. If the evils planned by evil spirits were permitted, it would be to the destruction of mankind and of departed souls. Therefore the doings intended by the wicked are limited to the kind that have to be permitted.