The Laws of the Divine Providence
Led by the Word, as if by himself
MAN IS LED BY THE LORD BY MEANS OF INFLUX AND TAUGHT BY MEANS OF ENLIGHTENMENT (DP 165).
AE 1173:3. The Lord flows into the interiors of man’s mind and through these into its exteriors, also into the affection of his will and through that into the thought of his understanding, but not the reverse ... To flow into the affection of the will and through that into the thought of the understanding is first to inspire a soul, and through that to form all other things; for the affection of the will is like a soul whereby the thoughts of the understanding are formed.
AE 1177:2. The Lord flows in through heaven into that which is at the time under man’s view; and the influx in everyone is continual and universal even to the minutest particulars.
DP 165. [Man] is led by his understanding and according to it, only when his love or his will forms his understanding; and when this is done, it can also be said of his understanding that it is led; but even then it is not the understanding that is being led, but the will from which it is formed.
AE 1175:4-5. Why man is led by the Lord by means of affections and not by means of thoughts shall now be told. When man is led by the Lord by means of affections he can be led according to all the laws of His Divine providence, but not if he should be led by means of thoughts. Affections do not become evident to man, but thoughts do; also affections produce thoughts, but thoughts do not produce affections; there is an appearance that they do, but it is a fallacy. And when affections produce thoughts they produce all things of man, because these constitute his life.
Moreover, this is known in the world. If you hold a man in his affection you hold him bound, and lead him wherever you please, and a single reason is then stronger than a thousand. But if you do not hold man in his affection reasons are of no avail, for his affection, when not in harmony with them, either perverts them or rejects them or extinguishes them. It would be similar if the Lord should lead man by means of thoughts immediately, and not by means of affections.
Again, when a man is led by the Lord by means of affections, it seems to him as if he thought freely as if of himself, and spoke freely and acted freely as if of himself....
Questions and Comments
- We need confidence that we are trying to do what the Lord says. In what sense is the expression true: “The Lord is telling me to do this”?
- How do we open the door for the Lord to lead us to good affections?
- Can you give examples of how the will leads the understanding?
- Can YOU give somebody an affection for the Word?
- What does the Lord provide to the sincere novitiate reader of the Word? To the reforming adult? The regenerate? Can we tell the difference?
- We read, “For every nation the Lord provides a universal means of salvation.” (AE 1180:3). Explain how this is still possible even though they don’t have the Word.
- How does the concept of jihad or holy war corrupt Islam? Or how has this concept been corrupted in Islam?