Category — Three operations of the Divine Providence, from within and from without
“Give us this day our daily bread.” (Matthew 6:11.)
Or in the order of the Greek, “Our bread the daily give us this day.”
Bread, or loaf, stands for food, and when it stands alone it includes drink as well; thus it represents all the things of love and wisdom, all things of the good and the true, of cognitions and scientifics, by which the spiritual body is fed.
After praying, “Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven so upon the land,” man looks to his cooperation with the Lord as if from himself, and thus towards the coming of the Lord’s Kingdom. But in order that man may cooperate as of himself towards this end he must have a spiritual body, which can cooperate. If man regenerates he receives the initiament of such a body, but this body must be fed from day to day with celestial food, in order that it may grow, and become strong, and in order that it may recover when sick.
This broad must be received doily, or day by day. Day by day, or daily, signifies into the eternal, an eternal series of states following each other, according to the Divine order of Providence. No man can foresee, know, or understand this Divine series, and hence cannot provide for it. The Lord alone can foresee and provide, and the Lord in His Divine Providence does so. The daily bread therefore represents the Divine Providence.
Because man does not know the future, and therefore can not provide for the future, the Lord says: “Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat or what ye shall drink.” (Matt. 6:25)
The Divine Providence is in the least particular and singular things, as well as in the generals, and in such least thing it provides for the succeeding state, in an eternal series. This is the miracle of miracles. Man’s prayer should be that in each day or state he should be kept in the stream of Providence, so that living in the present he may find the spiritual food that is necessary for that state, and be thus kept in the stream which loads from day to day according to the Divine Order into the Lord’s eternal life.
Providence is threefold: it operates immediately from the Lord into the soul of man; it operates mediately through the heavens and the spiritual world into the mind; and it operates from without through the natural body which is in the world. The immediate operation into the soul is above the consciousness of men and angels. Man or angel cannot perceive this operation, but he can believe in it. The operation of the spiritual world into the mind most men are totally unaware of, but if one reflects on one’s affections and thoughts, which are all from the spiritual world, in the light of Doctrine, one can come to perceive this operation of the Divine Providence. In fact this should become with man s primary thing.
When most people speak of the Divine Providence they think solely of its operation from without, that is, of things which happen to them from without.
As long as one views Providence in this way one has only s natural idea of the Divine Providence. There is nothing indeed, not the least thing which happens to man, which is not of the Divine Providence, or of the Divine Permission, which is also of Providence. But this operation of Providence apart from the other two operations could not save a man. The three operations of Providence work together so as to make one operation of the Divine Providence. Without this one operation which is threefold there could be no provision of man’s daily broad, and thereby for his spiritual life.