331. CHAPTER XIII
THE LORD CANNOT ACT CONTRARY TO THE LAWS OF THE DIVINE PROVIDENCE, BECAUSE TO ACT CONTRARY TO THEM WOULD BE TO ACT CONTRARY TO HIS DIVINE LOVE AND HIS DIVINE WISDOM, THUS CONTRARY TO HIMSELF It has been shown in THE ANGELIC WISDOM CONCERNING THE DIVINE LOVE AND WISDOM that the Lord is Divine Love and Divine Wisdom, and that these two are Being (Esse) itself and Life itself, from which everything is and lives. It is shown also that there is a like proceeding from Him, and that the Divine proceeding is Himself. Among the things which proceed the Divine Providence is primary, for this is continually in the end for which the universe was created. The operation and the progression of the end through means is what is called the Divine Providence.  Now since the Divine proceeding is Himself and the Divine Providence is the primary thing that proceeds, it follows that to act contrary to the laws of His Divine Providence is to act contrary to Himself. It may also be said that the Lord is Providence, as it is said that God is Order, for the Divine Providence is the Divine Order primarily with regard to the salvation of men; and as there is no order without laws, for laws constitute order and every law derives from order that it also is order, it follows that as God is Order He is also the law of His own Order. Similarly, it may be said of the Divine Providence that as the Lord is His own Providence He is also the law of His own Providence. Hence it is clear that the Lord cannot act contrary to the laws of His Divine Providence, because to act contrary to them would be to act contrary to Himself.  Further, there can be no operation except upon a subject and upon it through means; for operation is impossible except upon a subject and upon it through means. The subject of the Divine Providence is man; the means are Divine truths by which man acquires wisdom, and Divine goods by which he acquires love. The Divine Providence through these means works out its end, which is man's salvation; for he who wills an end wills also the means; and therefore when he, who thus wills, works out an end he works it out through means. These things, however, will become more evident when they are examined in the following order:
I. The operation of the Divine Providence for the salvation of man begins at his birth and continues right on to the end of his life, and afterwards to eternity. II. The operation of the Divine Providence is effected unceasingly through means out of pure mercy. III. Instantaneous salvation from immediate mercy is impossible. IV. Instantaneous salvation from immediate mercy is the fiery flying serpent in the Church.