Divine Providence (Dick and Pulsford) n. 130

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130. I. NO ONE Is REFORMED BY MIRACLES AND SIGNS, BECAUSE THEY COMPEL. It was shown above that man has an internal and an external of thought, and that the Lord flows through the internal of thought with man into its external, and thus teaches and leads him; and also that it is of the Divine Providence of the Lord that man should act from freedom according to reason. All this would perish in man if miracles were wrought and man were driven by them to believe. That this is so may be rationally seen from the following considerations. It cannot be denied that miracles induce a belief and a strong persuasion that what is said and taught by him who performs the miracles is true, and that this at first so occupies the external of man's thought as to hold it spell-bound. Man, however, is thereby deprived of his two faculties called rationality and liberty, and thus of his ability to act from freedom according to reason; and then the Lord cannot flow in through the internal into the external of his thought, except merely to leave the man to confirm from his rationality what has become an object of his faith because of the miracle. [2] The state of man's thought is such that from the internal of his thought he sees a thing in the external of his thought as in a kind of mirror; for, as was said above, a man is able to see his own thought, and this is only possible from a more interior thought. When he sees the thing as in a mirror, he can also turn it this way and that, and shape it until it appears to him to be a thing of beauty. If this is a truth it may be compared to a maiden or a youth, beautiful and living. If, however, the man cannot turn it this way and that and shape it, but can only believe it from the persuasion induced by a miracle, it may be compared, if it is then a truth, to a maiden or a youth carved from stone or wood, in which there is no life. It may also be compared to an object that is constantly before the sight and, being alone seen, hides from view everything that is on either side of it and behind it. Again, it may be compared to a continual sound in the ear that takes away the perception of harmony arising from many sounds. Such blindness and deafness are induced on the human mind by miracles. It is the same with everything that is confirmed which is not seen with some degree of rationality before being confirmed.

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