Providence

Providence is the name for the Lord’s governance in the heavens and on earth. Since all the goodness that comes from love and all the truth that leads to faith—the things that are required for our salvation—come from him and none whatever comes from us, we can see that the Lord’s divine providence is involved in absolutely everything that contributes to the salvation of the human race. As the Lord teaches in John:

I am the way, the truth, and the life. (John 14:6)

And again,

As a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it abides on the vine, the same goes for you unless you abide in me. Without me you cannot do anything. (John 15:4, 5)

The Lord’s divine providence is operative in the smallest details of our lives; there is only one source of life, who is the Lord, and in him we live and move and have our being [Acts 17:28].

People who think about divine providence in worldly terms come to the conclusion that it applies only on the largest scale, but that the details are left to us. But people who think this way do not know the mysteries of heaven. They draw their conclusions solely on the basis of self-love, love for the world, and the things that give pleasure to these loves. So when they see evil people raised to high rank, making more money than good people, and skillfully and successfully accomplishing evil things, they say in their hearts that none of this would be happening if divine providence were operative in all the details. They fail to take into account, though, that the goal of divine providence does not concern what is momentary and transient, what comes to an end when our lives in this world cease. Rather, its goal concerns what lasts to eternity, what therefore does not have an end. Whatever has no end is real, while what comes to an end is relatively unreal. Consider, if you will, whether a hundred thousand years are anything next to eternity, and you will see that they are not. What then are the few years of our lives in this world?

Anyone who weighs the matter properly can know that eminence and wealth in this world are not genuine divine blessings, even though we call them that because we enjoy them so much. They come to an end for us; and they also lead many of us astray and turn us away from heaven. No, the real blessings that come from the Divine are eternal life and the happiness it brings. This is what the Lord is teaching us in Luke:

Provide yourselves a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys; because where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Luke 12:33, 34)

from New Jerusalem, Sections 267-270

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