The Laws of the Divine Providence
Led by the Word, as if by himself
A man can receive nothing unless it be given him from heaven. John 3:27
DP 164. All, men and angels alike, are in the Lord and the Lord is in them according to their conjunction with Him, or, what is the same, according to their reception of love and wisdom from Him.
DP 165. Hence it may be evident that the Lord rules the universal angelic heaven... as the soul rules the body; and since the whole human race is ruled by the Lord, it is ruled not through heaven but from heaven by the Lord, and consequently from Himself, because He is heaven.
AE 1174:2. The affections of man, from which are his thoughts, have extension into societies in the spiritual world on every side, into more or fewer of them according to the amount and quality of the affection. Man as to his spirit is within these societies, and to them he is attached as it were with extended cords, which determine the space where he can walk.
AE 1175:3. The societies of heaven are not thoughts but affections. Consequently to be led by means of these societies is to be led by means of affections, that is, to be led by means of affections is to be led by means of societies.
DP 174:2. If [man’s] affection is evil he is conveyed through infernal societies; and if he does not look to the Lord he is carried into these societies more interiorly and deeply. And yet the Lord leads him as if by the hand, permitting and withholding as far as man is willing to follow in freedom.
AE 1174:3. The Lord does this without the man’s knowing it, because if man knew it he would disturb the continuity of that process by leading himself. It is enough for man to learn truths from the Word, and by means of truths to know what good is, and from truths and goods what evils and falsities are, in order that he may be affected by truths and goods, and not be affected by falsities and evils.... In this and in no other way can man be led from one affection into another in freedom and as if of himself. This is done by leading according to the affection of truth and good when man acknowledges the Lord’s Divine providence in every particular; and it is done by permission according to an affection for evil and falsity when man does not acknowledge such a providence.
DP 158. [The angels of the third heaven] say that they live from the Lord and not from themselves; and they not only say this but they also love it and desire it to be so. Nevertheless, they are still to all appearance as if they lived from themselves; indeed, this appearance is stronger with them than with other angels.
Questions and Comments
- What is the key to really understanding the Word? What role do the angels have?
- “Man is led and taught by the Lord alone from heaven and not... through any angel there” (DP 171). What would happen to freedom if angels told us what to do?
- Is the influence of the other world a real concept for you? Can you explain affections and free will in any other way?
- How can we begin and maintain affection for the Word and the habit of daily reading?
- Most of us easily say that we receive all life from the Lord, but do we fit the celestial description, “to love and desire that it be so”? How does our attitude affect what we receive from the Word?