The Laws of the Divine Providence
Put away evils in the external man
Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will have supper with him, and he with Me.
From Divine Providence
DP 116. Evils in the external man cannot be removed except by means of man, because it is of the Lord’s Divine Providence that whatever a man hears, sees, thinks, wills, says and does should appear to be entirely as his own.… Without this appearance there would be with man no reception of Divine Truth, no determination to do good, no appropriation of love and wisdom… and so no conjunction with the Lord… and thus no salvation….
Let anyone who is willing consult his reason as to whether it does not appear that a man thinks from himself about good and truth, spiritual as well as moral and civil. Let him then accept this tenet of doctrine that everything that is good and true is from the Lord and nothing from man. Must he not then acknowledge this consequence: that a man ought to do good and think truth as of himself, but yet should acknowledge that he does these things from the Lord? And further that a man should remove evils as of himself but yet should acknowledge that he does so from the Lord?
DP 117. Many are not aware that they are in evils because they do not commit them outwardly, for they fear the civil laws and also the loss of reputation. And so from custom and the habit thus acquired they learn to shun evils as detrimental to their honor and interest. But if men do not shun evils from a principle of religion, because they are sins and against God, the lusts of evil with their delights still remain like polluted waters dammed up or stagnant. Let them examine their thoughts and intentions and they will find these lusts, provided they know what sin is.
DP 118. V. Therefore man ought as of himself to remove evils from the external man. This has already been proved….
DP 119. VI. The Lord then purifies man from the lusts in the internal man, and from the evils themselves in the external. The Lord then purifies man from the lusts of evil when the man as of himself removes the evils, because the Lord cannot purify him before this is done. For the evils are in the external man and the lusts of evil are in the internal man, and these are united like the roots and trunk of a tree. Therefore, unless the evils are removed no exit for the lusts is opened up, for the evils stand in the way and close the door, which cannot be opened by the Lord except by means of man, as was shown above. When, therefore, man as of himself opens the door, then the Lord roots out the lusts and the evils together.
DP 120. Man knows nothing whatever about the interior state of his mind… and yet there are infinite things there…. For… his internal man is his spirit itself, and in it there are things as infinite or innumerable as there are in his body, and indeed more innumerable, for man’s spirit is in its form a man, and all things belonging to it correspond to all things of man in his body. Now just as man has no knowledge from any sensation how his mind or soul operates on all things of his body jointly and singly, so neither does he know how the Lord operates on all things of his mind or soul, that is, on all things of his spirit. This operation is continual, and man has no part in it; but still the Lord cannot purify man from any lust of evil in his spirit or internal man so long as man keeps his external closed. Man keeps his external closed by means of evils, each of which seems to him as but one single evil, although there are infinite things in each; and when man removes one such evil the Lord removes the infinity of things in it….
Questions and Comments
- What amazing love and respect for human freedom and life as of ourselves the Lord has! What does this imply about how we treat one another?
- Have you had an experience of suddenly or gradually realizing that you were in some evil, or had a certain weakness, that you had been completely unaware of before? What brought it to your attention?
- DP 117:2 says that “natural moralists,” i.e., agnostic humanists, “believe that civil and moral life with its prudence accomplishes everything and Divine Providence nothing.” This is probably the prevailing view among the elite. They believe that mankind can be good by following rational laws apart from religion. Why are they wrong?
- DP 118 refers us to the last 3 chapters of Doctrine of Life. One is titled, “No one can shun evils as sins, so as to turn away from them interiorly, except by combats against them.” Why is combat necessary? What is it like?
- An illustration of the Lord’s secret operation in our interiors is the involuntary or autonomic systems of our body: our heartbeat, digestion, the endocrine system, the immune system, all the ways the body repairs itself when injured, etc. We are hardly aware of any of these unless something goes wrong, usually because we have abused our bodies in some way.