Isaiah the Prophet (c.1508)

Divine Providence

Translated by: Christophorus, Published online: 19 Aug 2008
From: Sunday Lectures (SL), Series "Strength and Life" Vol. 2 - "The Spirit and the Flesh", Lecture 8, 24 May 1915
First published: Deunov, P. K., "Douhat i Platta", Sila i Jhivot, Vtora Seria, Sofia, 1915-1917
Reference: Deunov, P. K., "Douhat i Platta", Sila i Jhivot, Vtora Seria, Pearvo phototipno izdanie (facsimile edition), Sofia, 1999, Janua-98, ISBN 954-9589-48-X
Available online in Bulgarian from ``Library "Beinsa Douno"''.

"But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore, you are better than many sparrows." (Luke 12:7)

Contemporary people have to be convinced with many arguments, facts and logical conclusions that there is a Divine Providence, Which, through certain laws, guides the life of man.

All thoughts, desires and actions are determined by certain laws. Occasionally we give a distorted interpretation to what occurs in life, to what is strange for us, and as a consequence we have formed, through the passage of time and amidst many generations, a peculiar philosophy, that everything in the world is arbitrary, i.e. that there is no order, no regulation, that the right belongs to whoever is strong, to whoever is clever, to whoever is sly etc. Is there a need for me to prove that this is a great delusion?

When we observe the life of Christ, we can see that Christ always paid attention to the small things. He says directly to His disciples: "Fear not therefore: your life is provided for" and gives them an example that from the five sparrows not a single one falls to the ground without the will of the Father. Why did Christ not take one sparrow, but took the number five? Here there is a law, and everyone who finds themselves in this law of the number five does not fall down without the will of the Father. With the second comparison Christ tells us: "You are provided for, the hairs of your head are all numbered" - and He stops there. We may say to ourselves: "What importance is there, that the hairs of our head have all been numbered?" Just so, there is the thing of importance. For these hairs to be counted by the Lord, for Him to keep account of them, they must have some sort of meaning in themselves. And do you know how many of these hairs there are on the head? Many have counted them. Some people have 250 thousand, others 320 thousand hairs. And all these hairs are accounted for by the Lord, as a gardener keeps account of his fruit trees - he puts a number on each tree. We may uproot a hair from our head and throw it away, but this hair serves a certain purpose, it occupies a high post on our head. If I now set out to tell you about the significance [1] of the hairs, I will deviate from the issue [at hand], but I will come to the comparison with the sparrows, which implies that our spiritual life is under the protection of the Divine Providence; and the comparison with the hairs of the head also implies, in its turn, that our physical life, too, is under the protection of the same Divine Providence. It is necessary for faith in this Providence to be established [2] in us, because, only when we believe in It, are we able to develop correctly. Every doubt which penetrates into our minds and into our hearts, that in the world there is no Providence, distances us from the correct understanding of the order of things, and compels us to labor to create another order and other rules, according to our views. A man and a woman, when they become married, think that the Lord has given them power; the husband [3] says: "You have lived with your mother in this way, but now you are entering my house under a new law. I am a little quick-tempered, touchy, I take offence easily - watch out, because if you offend me, I will apply this harsh [4] law". The wife [3], however, tells her husband: "I am very sensitive, delicate, I am not used to work, do not make me do hard work: if you breach this law, things will change immediately". As you can see, all people prepare their own laws. But what happens in the end? Both of them fall into disagreement. Why? Because the position which they have taken is false in its very foundations. The true [actual] good marriage is not something which is made on Earth. There are three kinds of marriages: ones which are accomplished in Heaven, others - on the Earth and the third kind - in Hell; ones are carried out by God, others - by people and the third - by the devil. When you enter into a marriage established by God, it will bring love, peace and joy in your home; there will always be agreement between the man and the woman; a harsh word will not be heard; they will spend a blissful life. When people unite you, it will only be [so] in order for you to perfect yourselves: there will be friction between you in order to smooth yourselves, because two sharp stones cannot mill flour [5]. This marriage is not a creation of God, but a human one; [so, ] your work will be according to your mind. When the Lord performs a certain work, as omniscient, He puts everything in good order; when people arrange something, they will order it [only] insofar as there will always be friction, which is necessary for self-perfection, for the smoothing-out of the character. But when the devil marries you, then at home there will certainly be discord and lewdness - everything bad. In every home in which there is such a life, the marriage has been brought about by the devil. Therefore, give to everything its precise definition and do not mix God's actions with the human ones, nor with those of the devil.

In order to be able to think correctly and logically, we must understand the source [, the origin] of things. If there is something prudent in the modern-day sciences, it is this, that they ascertain that there exist in the world certain laws which regulate the relations of things, of the elements, of the bodies; we have established laws of physics, of chemistry, of the human soul, laws which regulate the relations of things, and no one can transgress these laws without bearing the consequences in one sense or another. And thus, there are three types of people: one type, who comprehend things in a Divine way, another type - in a human way, and the third type - in a diabolical way; the first case is when we comprehend things as they are determined in the beginning by the Lord; the second [case ] is when one thinks that the Lord does not involve Himself in all things and that we should interfere to smooth-out these things; when the Lord accomplishes something, we say: "The Lord did not manage to finish it; let us correct it; the third case is when every one by themselves wishes to become the Lord. Thousands of years ago people comprehended things in a Divine way, but in their decline they lost this comprehension. So, when you are in a good disposition, in your soul you, too, believe in God; if your affairs are going well you say: "Thanks be to God, the Lord takes care of us"; but when a misfortune comes, you say: "The Lord has forgotten us". On what grounds do you claim that the Lord has forgotten you, that He is the cause of your sufferings? The Lord says: "Because you forget Me, I also will forget you". If you distance yourselves from Him, He also will distance Himself from you. Some think that God, Who is unchangeable, constant in His love, should still follow after them when they begin to distance themselves from Him, as a mother follows her child, while calling: "Wait, my son, do not distance yourself from me". No! The Lord stands in His place and when you say: "The Lord has distanced Himself from me", I understand that you have distanced yourselves from Him, not He from you. The path of motion of some people around the Lord is correct, with insignificant changes: they move away from Him a little, but then again draw near, like the path of the Earth around the Sun; the path of others, however, is like the path of some wandering comet: sometimes it draws too near to the Sun and then for centuries does not come close. So you, too, when you distance yourselves from the Lord, you say: "The Lord has forgotten us". I tell you, in 75 years, when you approach Him like Halley's Comet, the Lord will remember you again: it depends on the orbit in which you move around the Lord - when your path draws near to Him, He will remember you again. And now all of you move along a certain path, but you cannot [all] understand me equally - why? - because not all of you follow one and the same orbit. And I do not condemn you: I look at things very objectively, philosophically. But you will object: "Such is our way". It is questionable whether your way is such, or whether you have made it to be like this. I say to you that your path is not like this. Between Sofia and Varna there is a railroad which constantly breaks down and incurs great expenses; is this road made by the Lord? If the Lord had built it, it would have been built most cleverly; but people have built it, and this is why they have built it as cleverly as they have! If during the building of a railroad you act according to the laws of Divine Providence, no misfortunes will occur. Nevertheless the technicians have a better comprehension of the needs of a construction than the believing Christians do - of life; they [the technicians] say: "we have to mathematically calculate what turns and gradients [6] the railroad has to have along its way very well, so that the force of the movement may be regulated, because if this is not done, there will be an accident", whereas the Christians say to themselves: "The Lord is good; He provides for us; whatever gradient we make, it is all the same". But when the car tumbles over, they say: "Our affairs do not go well". Of course they will not go well, because you act foolishly; your train tumbles over because you have not taken into account the laws of Divine Providence when you established the turns of the rail lines.

That is why you, the spiritual people, will have to gather experience from the secular people in some cases, [you have] to become their students. It is not shameful for a man to be a student. And when it comes to spiritual things, unknown to the secular people, there the latter have to be your students. You cannot be teachers everywhere - somewhere you will be teachers, somewhere you will be students.

The Divine Providence has strictly determined all things and phenomena; nothing is by chance; all events, of whatever character they may be - physical, psychic or social - are governed and directed by a superior Being, who guards and watches over their course. In the same way as they place a locomotive-driver to watch over the engine of the train, because the life of the passengers depends on the locomotive-driver, so our Earth, which moves through space, has its own locomotive-driver, who sometimes applies more fire to the engine, sometime less. The path of the Earth also has certain curves, turns, the Earth sometimes draws nearer to some larger planet, which influences her. These are abstract things, which, in the future, you will study and understand. But now regarding Divine Providence, Which is necessary for you, I will give you an example - a story which you may take as a prehistoric legend, because the events described in it are inconceivable, allegorical. Some date this story to the time of Solomon, but the things mentioned in the story relate to a much earlier epoch. They say that once there was a very learned and clever king, who understood the language of all animals; when he summoned the animals every year for an assembly, he taught them, he instructed them, and in the end he [always] concluded his speech with the words: "What the Lord has created, no one can destroy". At one of the assemblies two large eagles were present, called "rocka" [7]; one of them said: "I can destroy what the Lord has created". The king said: "Very well, prove this factually" and dismissed the assembly. In the same year the daughter of another King set about to marry, again for a King's son. When they were being wedded and were returning from the temple, rejoicing in each other, one of the eagles swept down, lifted the bride, carried her to a remote island and laid her down on its nest in a big tree. The bridegroom, left alone without his beloved-friend, fell into despair and embarked upon a journey. He boarded a ship; after months at sea the ship wrecked and the waves cast ashore the despairing traveler on the same island where his beloved-friend was taken to. He began complaining to the Lord: "Is it not enough for me, O God, the misfortune of losing my wife, that now I am cast on this deserted island? It would have been better if I were not born!" His wife, who was in the nest on the same tree under which the bridegroom was lamenting his fate, heard that someone was crying, came down and when she saw that this was her same husband, she hid him in the nest. When the time approached for the next assembly of the animals, the two eagles came, lifted the nest with the bride and carried it to the assembly. The King began his lecture anew and in the end again concluded with the words: "What God has created, no one can destroy"; then the eagle called out again: "I destroyed a deed of the Lord". - "Prove this", said the King. When the eagle had narrated the story of the wedding, the King wished to see the bride. The eagle called to the bride to come out of the nest. But, when she came out, together with her also came out the bridegroom. The eagle, when he saw that he was not able to ruin what the Lord has created, burst from anger. By the eagle, the human mind is to be understood. We sometimes say that we can ruin what God has created, that we can change the form of things, but in the ultimate end things stay as God has ordered them, and we, like the proud eagle, in our anger break into pieces.

The modern-day teachers say at every turn: "Prepare your mind well [8], the world cannot advance with foolishness [9]". I say: thank the foolish, since the Lord holds the world because [10] of them. In the world there are no spirits more clever than the devils. Have you ever entered their kingdom, to see how they live? You speak of human intelligence, but, if you descend to these fallen spirits, you will find conceptions about physics, about chemistry, about spiritual manifestations - a lot of knowledge [in order] to tell a lie, to deceive, to do anything. But their knowledge cannot introduce order and harmony into things, because it does not rest upon those elements which are able to cement life. Knowledge must be cemented through Divine Love. Therefore, whenever someone speaks of knowledge and of facts, I ask: do you have cement to bind these things? If you have this cement, then indeed you have Divine knowledge; but if you have bare facts, without cement, they cannot be of any use to you. I ask you: if you gather 200 thousand or a million sheep fleece hairs and you do not know how to join them, of what use will they be to you? Only when you spin and weave them in a certain way will you be able to fashion clothes and dress yourselves. According to the same law, when we are able to cement within ourselves our thoughts, our desires, through this Divine cement, the Divine Providence, we will be able to fashion a garment with which to dress our inner nakedness. Therefore, we need this Providence in order to be able to live and to develop. And this is why Christ says: "Fear not" and asks why the five sparrows do not fall. You have the number five elsewhere: five senses, five fingers; this is the emblem of man on Earth. The number five represents man - the prudent, wise man - and He [Christ] says that this wise man does not fall unless he errs. While you are prudent and fulfill the Will of God, you shall not fall; the day, however, when you err, the Lord will allow one of these sparrows to fall to the ground, and as soon as it falls, the hairs of you head will start to fall as well, which means: your life will start to crumble. And so, always bear in mind that the Divine Providence watches over you as long as you unswervingly follow Its laws; if you drift away from It, your life begins to fall apart. Turn again to the Sun of this Providence, so that the growth may start again.


[1] or meaning
[2] literally: created
[3] In Bulgarian, there is a single word for "husband", "male" and "man", and similarly for "wife", "female" and "woman"
[4] or strict
[5] This is a literal translation of a Bulgarian idiom.
[6] i.e. slopes
[7] A monstrous bird of Arabian mythology; also written as "rock", and "rukh".
[8] This is a literal translation of a Bulgarian proverb which means: get ready, be prepared for something, be warned etc
[9] literally: "foolish things"
[10] Another reading is: "for their sake"
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