Angelic Wisdom about Divine Providenceby Emanuel Swedenborg
The reader will find in this book a firm assurance of God's care of mankind as a whole and of each human being. The assurance is rested in God's infinite love and wisdom, the love pure mercy, the wisdom giving love its ways and means. It is further grounded in an interpretation of the universe as a spiritual-natural world, an interpretation fully set forth in the… See more details below
The reader will find in this book a firm assurance of God's care of mankind as a whole and of each human being. The assurance is rested in God's infinite love and wisdom, the love pure mercy, the wisdom giving love its ways and means. It is further grounded in an interpretation of the universe as a spiritual-natural world, an interpretation fully set forth in the earlier book, Divine Love and Wisdom , on which the present work draws heavily. As there is a world of the spirit, no view of providence can be adequate which does not take that world into account. For in that world must be channels for the outreach of God's care to the human spirit. There also any eternal goal--such as a heaven from the human race--must exist. A view of providence limited to the horizons of the passing existence can hardly resemble the care which the eternal God takes of men and women who, besides possessing perishable bodies, are themselves creatures of the spirit and immortal. The full title of the book, Angelic Wisdom about Divine Providence , implies that its author, in an other-world experience, had at hand the knowledge which men and women in heaven have of God's care. Who should know the divine guidance if not the men and women in heaven who have obviously enjoyed it? The laws of divine providence, hitherto hidden with angels in their wisdom, are to be revealed now
As it is presented in this book, providence seeks to engage man in its purposes, and to enlist all his faculties, his freedom and reason, his will and understanding, his prudence and enterprise. It acts first of all on his volitions and thinking, to align them with itself. That it falls directly on history, its events and our circumstances, is a superficial view. It is man's inner life which first feels the omnipresent divine influence and must do so. If we cannot be lifted to our best selves and if our aims and outlook cannot be modified for the better, how shall the world be bettered which we affect to handle? Paramount in God's presence with all men, if only in their possibilities, is His providential care.
This care, to which man's inner life is open, is alert every moment, not occasional. It is gentle and not tyrannical, constantly respecting man's freedom and reason, otherwise losing him as a human being. It has set this and other laws for itself which it pursues undeviatingly. The larger part of the book is an exposition of these laws in the conviction that by them the nature of providence is best seen. Is it not to be expected in a universe which has its laws, and in which impersonal forces are governed by laws, that the Creator of all should pursue laws in His concern with the lives of conscious beings? To fit a world of laws must not the divine care have its laws, too? Adjustment of thought about divine providence to scientific thought is not the overriding necessity, for scientific thought must keep adjusting to laws which it discerns in the physical world. In consonance, religious thought seeks to learn the lawful order in the guidance of the human spirit.
Do not each and all things in tree or shrub proceed constantly and wonderfully from purpose to purpose according to the laws of their order of things? Why should not the supreme purpose, a heaven from the human race, proceed in similar fashion? Can there be anything in its progress which does not proceed with all constancy according to the laws of divine providence?
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