July 8, 2017

The Divine Providence is Unceasingly in the Work of Saving Men

Selection from Divine Providence ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
The operation of the Divine providence for the salvation of man is said to begin at his birth and to continue unto the end of his life. To understand this it must be known that the Lord sees what man is, and foresees what he wills to be, thus what he will be; and that he may be a man and therefore immortal the freedom of his will must not be taken away. ...

Consequently the Lord foresees man's state after death, and provides for it from his birth until the end of his life. With the evil the Lord provides by permitting evils and continually withdrawing them from evils; while with the good He provides by leading to good. Thus the Divine providence is unceasingly in the work of saving men.

But no more can be saved than are willing to be saved, and those are willing to be saved who acknowledge God and are led by Him;
and those are unwilling who do not acknowledge God and who lead themselves; for such do not think about eternal life or about salvation, while the others do. This the Lord sees and still He leads them, and leads them in accordance with the laws of His Divine providence, contrary to which laws He cannot act, since to act contrary to them would be to act contrary to His Divine love and contrary to His Divine wisdom, which is to act contrary to Himself.

Since, then, the Lord foresees the states of all after death, and also foresees the places in hell of those who are not willing to be saved, and the places in heaven of those who are willing to be saved, it follows that — for the evil — the Lord provides their places by permitting and by withdrawing — and for the good — by leading; and unless this were done unceasingly from every one's birth until the end of his life neither heaven nor hell would continue to exist, for without that foresight and providence together neither heaven nor hell would be anything but confusion. ...

This may be illustrated by this comparison. If an archer or a marksman should aim at a mark, and behind the mark a straight line were drawn for a mile, and if he should err only by a finger's breadth in his aim, his missile or ball keeping on to the end of the mile would depart very far from the line. So would it be if the Lord did not every moment — even every least fraction of a moment — regard the eternal in His foreseeing and providing every one's place after death. But this the Lord does because the entire future is present to Him and the entire present is to Him the eternal. ...

It is also said that the operation of the Divine providence will continue to eternity, since every angel is perfecting in wisdom to eternity, but each according to the degree of that affection for good and truth in which he was when he left the world. It is this degree that is being perfected to eternity. Anything beyond this degree is outside of the angel and not within him, and that which is outside of him cannot be perfected within him. This is meant by the

Good measure, pressed down and shaken together and running over, that shall be given into the bosom of those who forgive and give to others (Luke 6:37, 38),

that is, who are in good of charity.

(Divine Providence 333,334)