The Stream of Providence
Presentation at the Feast of Charity
- God is to us a protection and strength,
He is found to be an exceedingly great help in adversity.
- Therefore we will not fear, when the earth alters,
And when the mountains are moved in the heart of the seas.
- Its waters make noise, they churn;
The mountains quake at the pride of it. Selah.
- There is a river, the streams of which
make glad the city of God,
The holy place of the habitations of the Most High.
- God is in the midst of her;
She shall not be moved;
God will help her at the turn of the morning.
- Be glad with Jerusalem, and rejoice in her, all ye that love her; have joy with her joyfully, all ye that mourn over her,
- so that you may nurse, and be satisfied from the breast of her comfortings; so that you may draw forth nourishment, and delight yourselves from the brilliance of her glory.
- For thus says Jehovah: Behold, I will stretch over her peace as a river, and the glory of the nations as an overflowing brook. And you shall nurse; you shall be carried on the side; and on the knees you shall be pleased.
- As a man whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you, and in Jerusalem you shall have comfort.
- Everyone who comes to Me and hears My words and does them, I will show you whom he is like.
- He is like a man building a house, who dug and made it deep, and laid down the foundation on a rock. And when the flood came to pass, the river burst upon that house, and had not strength to shake it, for it was founded on a rock.
- But he who hears and does not do, is like a man who built a house upon the earth without a foundation, against which the river tore, and straightway it fell; and the tearing apart of that house was great.
- And he showed me a pure river of water of life, bright as crystal, going forth from the throne of God and of the Lamb.
- In the midst of her street, and of the river, on this side and on that, was the tree of life, bearing twelve fruits, according to each and every month1, rendering its fruit; and the leaves of the tree were for a cure for the nations.
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The Stream of Providence (title page)
AC 8478:4. Be it known that the Divine Providence is universal, that is, in the most minute things; and that those who are in the stream of Providence are all the time carried along toward everything that is happy, whatever may be the appearance of the means;
and that those are in the stream of Providence who put their trust in the Divine and attribute all things to Him; and that those are not in the stream of Providence who trust in themselves alone and attribute all things to themselves, because they are in the opposite, for they take away providence from the Divine, and claim it for themselves.
Be it known also that so far as anyone is in the stream of Providence, so far he is in a state of peace;
also that insofar as anyone is in a state of peace from the good of faith, so far he is in the Divine Providence.
These alone know and believe that the Divine Providence of the Lord is in everything both in general and in particular, even in the most minute things of all, and that the Divine Providence regards what is eternal.
AC 6474. It was shown me by experience during the space of an hour, how all the thoughts are ruled by the Lord. There was an influx like a most gentle and almost imperceptible stream, the current of which does not appear, but still leads and draws. This, which flowed in from the Lord, led in this manner all the series of my thoughts into the consequent things, and although gently, powerfully, so that I could not possibly wander into other thoughts, which also I was allowed to attempt, but in vain.
TCR 652:3. There is actually a sphere proceeding continually from the Lord and filling the entire spiritual and natural worlds which raises all towards heaven. It is like a strong current in the ocean which unobservedly draws a vessel. All who believe in the Lord and live according to His precepts enter that sphere or current and are elevated; while those who do not believe, are unwilling to enter, but withdraw themselves to the sides, and are there carried away by a current that sets toward hell.
Why is the stream of Providence imperceptible?
DP 186. If man clearly saw the operations of the Divine Providence he would go contrary to God and also deny Him, because man is in the delight of self- love, and this delight constitutes his very life. Therefore, when he is kept in the delight of his life he is in his freedom, for freedom and that delight make one. If, therefore, he perceived that he is constantly being led away from his delight he would be enraged as against one who desired to destroy his life, and would regard him as an enemy.
DP 186. In order to prevent this the Lord does not manifestly appear in His Divine Providence, but by it the Lord leads man as silently as an imperceptible stream or favoring current bears a vessel along. Consequently, man does not know but that he is constantly in his own proprium, for man's freedom and his proprium make one. Hence it is clear that freedom appropriates to man what the Divine Providence introduces; but this would not take place if the Divine Providence made itself evident. To be appropriated is to become part of the life.
(ANOTHER REASON WE DON’T NOTICE PROVIDENCE)
DP 198. Since man sees his thought, but cannot see his affection, for he feels his affection... he concludes that one’s own prudence does all things.... In those who believe in one’s own prudence from the love of self or from the love of the world... thought flows on in its own delight like a ship in the current of a river, a current to which the captain pays no heed, attending only to the sails which he unfurls.
TCR 399:3. What a man loves above all things is his end; he looks to it in all things and in every single thing. It is in his will like the hidden current of a river, which draws and bears him away even when he is doing something else, for it is what which animates him. It is this which one man searches out and discovers in another, and thereby either leads him or acts with him. (=AC 8855, HD 56)
DP 73:2. All freedom is of love, insomuch that love and freedom are one; and as love is the life of man, freedom also is of his life. For every delight that a man has is from his love, nor can delight come from any other source; and to act from the delight of love is to act from freedom, for a man is led by delight as something that is borne along by the current of a river.
DP 296:9. Man knows scarcely anything of the operations [of Divine Providence withdrawing us from evil] because he does not perceive them. The chief reason why he does not perceive them is that the evils pertain to the lusts of his life’s love, and these evils are not felt as evils but as delights to which no one pays attention. Who pays any attention to the delights of his love? His thought floats on in them like a boat which is borne along on the current of a river, and there is perceived as it were a fragrant-smelling atmosphere, which is inhaled with a full breath. Only in his external thought can he feel something of them, but even there he pays no attention to them unless he knows well that they are evils.
CL 442. THAT THE ENJOYMENTS OF SCORTATORY LOVE ARE THE PLEASURES OF INSANITY, BUT THE ENJOYMENTS OF CONJUGIAL LOVE ARE THE DELIGHTS OF WISDOM.... The natural man, being against spiritual things, is insane. Therefore he embraces only natural, sensual, and corporeal enjoyments....
Natural men in the highest degree are those who from rational sight see the insanities and yet are carried away by the enjoyments of them, as boats by the current of a stream. Natural men in a lower degree are those who see and judge only from the senses of the body, spurn rational things as being contrary to appearances and fallacies, and reject them as worthless trifles. Natural men in the lowest degree are those who, being without judgment, are carried away by the alluring heats of their body.
AE 716:2. At the end of the church everyone wishes to live for himself, for the world, and according to his own bent, and few wish to live for the Lord, for heaven and eternal life; and the principle of faith alone, which is faith separated from charity, favors the former life, and like the current of a river draws in and carries away all to thus believing and living.
AR 756:2. All after death become affections of the ruling love in themselves. Those become good affections, who have looked to the Lord and to heaven, and at the same time have shunned evils as sins; but those become evil affections, which are lusts, who have looked only to themselves and the world, and have shunned evils not as sins, but only as hurtful to one's reputation and honor....
The lusts of the love of evil... are delightful in the will, and thence are pleasant in the understanding; and a man does not reflect upon that which is delightful and pleasant, because it leads his mind [animus] along, as the current of a swift river carries a vessel. Wherefore they who have immersed themselves in those delights and pleasures cannot come to the delights and pleasures of the affections of the love of good and truth any otherwise than as those who urge the oars against the current of the swift river with the strong power of the arms. But it is otherwise with those who have not immersed themselves deeply.
Mark 6:47-48. And when evening had come, the ship was in the midst of the sea, contd and He was alone on the land. And He saw them toiling in rowing, for the wind was contrary to them.
John 6:18-20. And, a great wind blowing, the sea was awakened. Then having rowed about twenty-five or thirty stadia [3 or 4 miles], they behold Jesus walking on the sea and coming near the ship; and they were afraid. But He says to them, I AM; do not be afraid. Then they desired to receive Him into the ship, and straightway the ship was at the land to which they were going. against the wind]
HH 603:6. How happy man's state would be if he believed that all good flows in from the Lord, and all evil from hell.
AC 6325. It is an eternal truth that the Lord rules heaven and earth, and also that no one besides the Lord lives of himself, consequently that everything of life flows in—the good of life from the Lord, and the evil of life from hell.
This is the faith of the heavens. When a man is in this faith (and he can be in this faith when he is in good), then evil cannot be fastened and appropriated to him, because he knows that it is not from himself, but from hell.
AC 6325. When a man is in this state, he can then be gifted with peace, for then he will trust solely in the Lord. Neither can peace be given to any others than those who are in this faith from charity; for others continually cast themselves into anxieties and cupidities, whence come unrest.
AC 6325. Spirits who desire to direct themselves, suppose that this would be to lose their own will, thus their freedom, consequently all delight, thus all life and its sweetness. They say and suppose this because they do not know how the case really is; for the man who is led by the Lord is in freedom itself, and thus in delight and bliss itself; goods and truths are appropriated to him; there is given him an affection and desire for doing what is good, and then nothing is more delightful to him than to perform uses. There is given him a perception of good, and also a sensation of it; and there is given him intelligence and wisdom; and all these as his own; for he is then a recipient of the Lord's life.
CL 207. Every angel is an angel according to his use. The delight of use carries him along as a favoring current carries a ship, and causes him to be in eternal peace and in the rest that belongs to peace. This is what is meant by eternal rest from labors. That an angel is living, according to the devotion of his mind [to use] from use, is clearly manifest from the fact that every angel has conjugial love, with its virtue, its potency, and its delights, according to his devotion to the genuine use in which he is.