Arcana Coelestia (Elliott) n. 6482

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6482. I have spoken to spirits about the Lord's exercise of government in an overall manner, saying that what is overall can never exist without specific aspects, and that but for these the overall is nothing; for the reason why the expression 'overall' is used is that this is what the specific aspects considered all together are called, just as particular parts taken all together are referred to as the general whole. To speak therefore of Providence acting in an overall manner but not in specific ways amounts to saying nothing at all. If anyone takes Providence acting in an overall manner to mean the general preservation of the whole natural world in line with the order stamped on it when it was first created, he does not take into account the consideration that nothing can remain in being unless it is constantly being brought into being; for as is well known in the learned world, remaining in being is a constant coming into being, and preservation is accordingly constant creation. Consequently Providence is present all the time in specific situations. Some people find confirmation of the idea that what is overall can exist without specific aspects in the role of a king, who exercises overall control of his kingdom but does not take charge of the details. But these people give no thought to the idea that royal power rests not only with the king himself but also with his ministers who, acting on his behalf, discharge the kinds of duties which he himself cannot possibly attend to. Thus the overall rule of the king exists within specific acts of government. But with the Lord there is no need of anything like this; for whatever exists in Him is infinite because it is Divine. Angels do serve as His ministers, so that they may have an active life, and from this derive happiness; nevertheless the duties they perform as His ministers are not initiated by themselves but by influx from the Lord, as the angels also confess with one accord.

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