A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return.
13 And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come.
14 But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us.
15 And it came to pass, that when he was returned, having received the kingdom, then he commanded these servants to be called unto him, to whom he had given the money, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading.
16 Then came the first, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained ten pounds.
17 And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities.
18 And the second came, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained five pounds.
19 And he said likewise to him, Be thou also over five cities.
20 And another came, saying, Lord, behold, here is thy pound, which I have kept laid up in a napkin:
21 For I feared thee, because thou art an austere man: thou takest up that thou layedst not down, and reapest that thou didst not sow.
22 And he saith unto him, Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee, thou wicked servant. Thou knewest that I was an austere man, taking up that I laid not down, and reaping that I did not sow:
23 Wherefore then gavest not thou my money into the bank, that at my coming I might have required mine own with usury?
24 And he said unto them that stood by, Take from him the pound, and give it to him that hath ten pounds.
25 (And they said unto him, Lord, he hath ten pounds.)
26 For I say unto you, That unto every one which hath shall be given; and from him that hath not, even that he hath shall be taken away from him.
27 But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me. Luke 19:12-27 KJV
Man would not be man except for the appearance to him that he lives from himself, and therefore thinks and wills and speaks and acts as if from himself. From this it follows that unless man, as if from his own prudence, directs all things belonging to his employment and life, he cannot be led and directed by the Divine providence; for he would be like one standing with relaxed hands, opened mouth, closed eyes, and breath indrawn, awaiting influx. Thus he would divest himself of humanity, which he has from the perception and sensation that he lives, thinks, wills, speaks, and acts as if from himself; he would also divest himself of his two faculties, liberty and rationality, by which he is distinguished from the beasts. That without this appearance a man would have no capacity to receive and reciprocate, and thus no immortality, has been shown above in the present work, and also in the work on The Divine Love and the Divine Wisdom.
If, therefore, you wish to be led by the Divine providence use prudence as a servant and minister who faithfully dispenses the goods of his master. This prudence is the talent given to the servants to trade with, of which they must render an account (Luke 19:13-28; Matt. 25:14-31). Prudence itself appears to man to be his own; and he believes it to be his own so long as he keeps shut up within him the deadliest enemy of God and of Divine providence – the love of self. This has its abode in the interiors of every man from his birth; if you do not recognize it (for it does not wish to be recognized) it dwells securely, and guards the door lest man should open it and the Lord should thereby cast it out. Man opens this door by shunning evils as sins as if from himself, with the acknowledgment that he does it from the Lord. This is the prudence with which the Divine providence acts as one.