Divine Providence (Dick and Pulsford) n. 176

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176. I. IF A MAN PERCEIVED AND FELT THE OPERATION OF THE DIVINE PROVIDENCE HE WOULD NOT ACT FROM FREEDOM ACCORDING TO REASON; NOR WOULD ANYTHING APPEAR TO HIM TO BE AS FROM HIMSELF. IT WOULD BE THE SAME IF HE FOREKNEW EVENTS. It has been duly made clear to the understanding in the above articles that it is a law of the Divine Providence that man should act from freedom according to reason; also that everything a man wills, thinks, speaks and does should appear to him as of himself; and that without this appearance no man would have anything of his own, nor would he be a man in his own right. Therefore he would have no proprium; and so there would be no imputation to him, without which it would be a matter of indifference whether he did evil or good, and whether he had the faith of God or the persuasion of hell; in a word, he would not be a man. [2] It will now be shown that a man would have no liberty to act according to reason, and that nothing would appear to him to be as from himself if he perceived and felt the operation of the Divine Providence; since, if he perceived and felt it, he would also be led by it. For the Lord leads all by means of His Divine Providence, and it is only an appearance that a man leads himself, as was also shown above. Therefore, if a man had a lively perception and feeling of being led he would not be conscious of life: and he would then be moved to utter sounds and to act much like a graven image. If he were still conscious of life he would be led like one bound hand and foot, or like a beast of burden yoked to a cart. Who does not see that a man would then have no freedom? If he had no freedom he would have no reason, for everyone thinks from freedom and in freedom; and whatever he does not think from freedom and in freedom appears to him to be not from himself but from another. Indeed, if you consider this interiorly you will perceive that he would have no thought, still less any reason; and consequently he would not be a man.

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