The life of those who dwell in the secret place of the Most High may be called a Hidden Life, because the animating principle, the vital or operative element, is not so much in itself as in another. It is a life grafted into another life. It is the life of the soul, incorporated into the life of Christ; and in such a way, that, while it has a distinct vitality, it has so very much in the sense, in which the branch of a tree may be said to have a distinct vitality from the root.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Unseen But Seen

He  doth not to our sight appear;
And yet the Christ, the King is here.
He is not seen by outward eye,
And yet we feel and know Him nigh.

In holy hearts He builds His throne;
By holy thoughts His presence known;
And most of all He makes His reign,
Where Love is life, where Self is slain.

Oh Life of love, oh Christ within!
A Life, without the stains of sin;
Unknown, unseen by outward sight,
We see Thee in the soul's clear light.

Christ in the Soul (1872) XLII.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Prepare the Inward Temple

He  dwelt in Tents in olden time;
Then built Moriah's gilded shrine;
But now, in temples more sublime,
In HOLY HEARTS, his glories shine.

And if in Christ He first appear'd,
Dear shrine of beauty, truth, and bliss;
He now appears in temples rear'd
In other hearts, akin to His.

Oh, cleanse THY soul from every sin,
From every grovelling, worldly care;
And let the mighty Monarch in,
To build His throne of glory there.

Christ in the Soul (1872) XLI.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

A Life United to God

It is evident, that the life of Christ, when examined in its elements, was sustained on the two great principles, which have been so often mentioned, viz. of entire consecration and of perfect faith. It is very true, that these two principles, as we have already seen, did not constitute the whole of his inward life; but it cannot be doubted, that they formed the essential basis of it. They were its fundamental elements; the strong pillars on which it rested. In other words, the Savior, in the true spirit of consecration, appeared in the world, not for himself and his own pleasure, but for the simple purpose of doing and suffering the will of his heavenly Father. And, in the fulfillment of this object, he lived, as all his followers ought to live, by the sublime principle of faith, and not by the inferior guidance of open vision. So that his life, to express its great outlines in a single word, was a life united to God by its disruption from every thing else. Or in still other expressions, it was a life so united to God, that it saw, knew, and loved every thing else, including himself, in its relation to the Divine Mind; IN and FOR God, and God ALONE. Happy are they, the features of whose inward existence are framed and fashioned upon this divine model.

We do not doubt, that the inward religious experience in different individuals may receive some modification, more or less, from the natural character. It will appear differently in John the Baptist and John the Disciple; it will appear differently in Stephen, in Peter, in Paul. But the difference will exist in the modifications and not in the essence of the thing; in that which is outward and incidental, rather than in that, which is internal and substantial. But in all cases of true holiness without exception; there must be, and there is the image of Christ at the bottom. In all cases in which the work of God is carried to its completion, the soul has become an "Infant Jesus;" and like its prototype, the Jesus of Nazareth and the Cross, it will grow in "wisdom, and in stature, and in favor with God and with man."

Such Christians and such Christianity will have an effect upon the world. Those, who are formed upon this divine model, not only have a noble lineage; but they bear in themselves the impress and the inscription of a true nobility. They are the tree, mentioned by the Psalmist, which is "planted by the rivers of water;" not stinted and dwarfish, as too many are, who bear the name of Christ; not smitten with rust and eaten with the worm, but sound alike in the body, the blossom, and the fruit; not crooked, knotted, and unsymmetrical, but free, expansive, and proportional. Wherever they go, the world recognizes their character, without the requisite of a formal proclamation. The image of Jesus, the divinity of the heart, is so written upon the whole outward life, that they are an "epistle, known and read of all men."

— edited from The Interior or Hidden Life (1844) Part 2, Chapter 13.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015


The life of Christ in the soul is distinguished from the natural life, in being characterized by great SIMPLICITY. — It is a common idea, that those, who have been the subject of the interior transformation, have experienced something, which is very remarkable. And undoubtedly it is so. There is truth in the idea; but probably not in the sense, in which the world understands the term. The coming of Christ in the soul is remarkable, in the same sense in which the manner of Christ's entrance into the world was remarkable. It was certainly remarkable, that the Son of God, the "express image of the Father," should become the "babe of Bethlehem," the child of the humble Mary. And thus the new spiritual life when it exists in truth, is not the offspring of earthly royalty, that is heralded by the huzzas of the multitude, but rather the "infant in the manger," that is born in obscurity, and is known and honored only by the lowly in heart. It is a life, so far from any thing that is calculated to attract attention in the worldly sense, that it is known and characterized in no one particular more than by what we have denominated its simplicity; by its being in the language of the Savior like a "little child;" by its freedom from ostentation and noisy pretension; by its inward nothingness.

— edited from The Interior or Hidden Life (1844) Part 2, Chapter 13.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The Life of Christ vs. The Life of Nature

The life of Christ, or rather the religious life as manifested in Christ, is entirely different in its character from the life of nature. In the life of nature, which is unprotected and unrestrained by the conservative principle of supreme love to God, every thing runs to excess. That, which is good in itself, becomes vitiated in its inordinate action. Sympathy assumes the shape of querulous weakness. Friendships are stimulated by a secret selfish influence, till they become idolatry. The love of knowledge distorts itself into obstinacy of opinion and pride of intellect. An allowable and holy displeasure degenerates into the violence of natural anger and revenge. Even a desire to do good is often perverted, through a selfish impetuosity, by an injurious and fatal disregard to the proprieties of time, person, and place.

In those who are but partially sanctified, as well as in those who are wholly dead in their sins, the natural life, in itself considered and just so far as it has an existence at all, is always weak, selfish, inconsistent, passionate, changeable.

The life of Christ in the soul, or what is the same thing, the life of the soul modeled after the image of Christ, is entirely different. Its sympathy is restrained and regulated by the suggestions of reason. Its personal friendships are rendered pure by the exclusion of all idolatrous regard. Its love is unstained by selfishness; and its indignation is hallowed by love. In the natural life, every thing is vitiated either by excess or defect. In the life of Christ, every thing is correspondent to the truth of reason and the commandment of God.

— edited from The Interior or Hidden Life (1844) Part 2, Chapter 13.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Christlikeness: The Power of the Holy Spirit

Another interesting trait in the history and character of the Savior is, that his inward life was constantly inspired and directed by the presence and operations of the Holy Ghost. From the beginning to the end of his earthly course, in all the various circumstances, in which he was placed, he was the subject of the special influences of divine grace. With a consciousness that all things were in his power, and with a prompt and consecrated readiness to act and to suffer continually, he felt at the same time entirely dependent; and it never occurred to him, that he had any thing, or that he could do any thing out of God. From God, operating by his Holy Spirit in his heart, he received all wisdom, all strength." Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I  have put my  Spirit upon him." Isa. 42:1. In accordance with this prophetic annunciation, John the Baptist is said to have seen the "Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him." In the interesting events, which occurred immediately after his Baptism, it is not said of him, that he went up into the wilderness of his own accord and of his own will, but that he was "full of the Holy Ghost, and was led by the Spirit." On one occasion when he went into the synagogue of Nazareth on the Sabbath day, he opened the Scriptures and read where it is written, "the Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the Gospel to the poor." "He whom God hath sent," says the Savior, referring to himself, "speaketh the words of God; for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him."

We need not multiply testimonies to this effect. We everywhere find evidence, that the life of the Savior, in the spiritual sense of the terms) was derived from the life of God. The branch does not more surely derive its existence and support from the vine, than the Savior derived his inward existence from God. Nor is the branch more closely united to the vine, than he was united to his heavenly Father. "I and my Father," he says, "are one." It  will be noticed, that in designating some of the traits of the Savior's character, we have not paid much attention to order of arrangement. Perhaps it was not necessary that we should. Nor do we profess to have exhausted the subject, and to have mentioned every possible trait of excellency, which his character presents. Hoping, however, that enough has been said to secure the favorable and prayerful interest of the reader, we leave it, important and attractive as it is, with a single remark further, viz., That the life of the Savior, whether considered inwardly or outwardly, was characterized by a proportionate fitness or symmetry in all its parts. It cannot be said of the Savior, as he existed in his humanity, that he was a mere combination of peculiarities; a man wonderful, not by the excellencies, but by the eccentricities of his nature; exciting attention merely by his strange unlikeness to every thing, which could properly be expected in a man. On the contrary, every thing was perfect and appropriate in its position, as well as perfect in its own nature. All the remarkable qualities, which as separate elements contributed to the constitution of his perfect character, were blended together in beautiful harmony. He stands before us complete in the adaptation of the parts of his character, as well as complete in the parts themselves; complete, therefore, as a whole and generically, as well as complete separately and specifically. As nothing can be added to the amount of his excellencies; so it does not appear, that any  thing  can be improved in their relative adjustment, in their beautiful and perfect proportion. This is the man Christ Jesus, who is set before us as an example; who "was tempted in all points as we are, and yet without sin."

— edited from The Interior or Hidden Life (1844) Part 2, Chapter 13.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Christlikeness: Humility

In another particular also, is the Savior's character deserving of our notice. He exhibited, in his daily deportment, a very meek, humble, and quiet disposition of mind. Every attentive reader of the Gospels will recollect, that this interesting and beautiful trait shows itself in his personal history, in a very remarkable manner. He said of himself, "I am meek and lowly of heart." In the language of the Apostle Peter, "When he was reviled, he reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him, who judgeth righteously." It was said of him prophetically, and before his advent into the world, "He  was oppressed and afflicted; yet he opened not his mouth."  Isa. 53:7. And again in the same Prophet, "He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the streets." Isa. 42:3. At a certain time, when there was a disposition among some of his disciples to put forth personal pretensions, and to claim the preeminence over others, he remarked to them, "Whosoever will be great among you, let him be your servant; even as the son of man came, not to be ministered unto, but to minister and to give his life a ransom for many." Mat. 20:28. But it is hardly necessary to make particular references, when his whole life, in all the varieties of its situation, was a beautiful illustration of this divine trait. He had compassion upon the ignorant, he made his dwelling with the poor; he traveled on foot from place to place in weariness and sorrow; he sat at meat with publicans and sinners; he washed the feet of his disciples. In  the possession of the inestimable trait of meekness and quietness of spirit, let all, who  seek the highest degree of purification and sanctification of heart, be imitators of the example of Jesus Christ; who, in the language of the Apostle Paul, "made himself of no reputation and took upon him the form of a servant." Philip. 2:7. Whatever pretensions any of us might justly put forth as natural men or as men of the world, or, in other words, whatever we might justly claim from the world on the world's principles, we should, nevertheless, be willing, in imitation of the blessed Savior's example, to be made of no reputation, and to become the servants of our brethren.

— edited from The Interior or Hidden Life (1844) Part 2, Chapter 13.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Christlikeness: Attention to Time and Manner

Although the Savior was faithful and diligent in the work committed to his hands, he was not prematurely zealous and obtrusive. He realized, that every thing, when done in accordance with the will of his heavenly Father, (a will which can never be at variance with the highest rationality,) must necessarily have its right time and place. In repeated instances, when something was proposed to him to be done, he declined acting in the case, on the ground that the proper occasion of action had not yet arrived. "His hour had not yet come." He felt, that he must act in accordance with the will of his heavenly Father, not only in the thing to be done; but also in the TIME and MANNER of doing it. Although, considered as a mere man, he possessed powers of judgment vastly greater than fall to the lot of ordinary men, and enjoyed also the presence and guidance of the Holy Spirit "without measure;" he nevertheless, felt it to be consistent with the highest duty, to nourish his powers and virtues in retirement, and not to bear his message, important and urgent as it was, prematurely to the world.

"Of the three and thirty years," says a certain writer, "which our blessed Redeemer spent on earth, thirty were spent in the obscurity and abjection of a private and humble condition. Notwithstanding the zeal for the glory of his Father, and the salvation of men, which consumed his soul; notwithstanding the tide of disorder which overran the world, and the abomination of sin and scandal which pierced his heart, the eternal incarnate Wisdom was silent, was hidden, and so remained until the hour appointed by his Father had come; repulsing, even with apparent severity, the prayer of his mother according to the flesh, because it seemed to urge his anticipating that hour." [Interior Peace of Pere Lombez, p. 329.]

This trait in the Savior's character is, in a practical view, very important.  It is probably through a disregard, in part at least, of the course taken by the Savior, which has now been mentioned, that we find, in all denominations of Christians, melancholy instances of persons, who are young in the Christian life, or who are prompted by an undue confidence, exhibiting a disposition to enter prematurely, and sometimes violently, upon measures, which are at variance with the results of former experience and with the admonitions of ancient piety. All mistakes and erroneous proceedings of this kind are discountenanced by the example of our Savior, who quietly remained in solitude and silence, and was refreshed and strengthened with the interior dews of heavenly knowledge, till the great hour arrived, appointed in the wisdom of his heavenly Father, which called him forth to the ministry and the Cross.

— edited from The Interior or Hidden Life (1844) Part 2, Chapter 13.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Christlikeness: Living for Others

The Savior was conscientious and strictly faithful in whatever his Father committed into his hands to do. He lived for others. And in living for others, he made no secret reservation, that he would in some things consult his own interest. In the language of Scripture, HE PLEASED NOT HIMSELF. In the various companies, in which he mingled, he never forgot the great mission on which he came. He was a man of labor, as well as of faith; and showed in his whole life, that action is the result of believing. It has been remarked of him, that if he had not had something to say to Simon, he probably would not have been found seated at Simon's table; and that "there is not an instance of his having sat at meat with sinners, without reproving their iniquities; or sharing the hospitality of unbelievers, without forcing them to listen to his words." He felt it his duty to leave nothing undone, which ought to  be done. And he did it deliberately, thoroughly, unremittingly. His whole being, in all its innate power and all its outward efforts, was devoted to the one great work of doing his Father's will. No personal inconvenience, no opposition and threats of men, no pressure of personal and temporary interest, nor any other obstacles of whatever nature, had the effect to deter him from doing his duty, and his whole duty to God and to men. "I find it impossible," says David Brainerd, "to enjoy peace and tranquillity of mind, without a careful improvement of time. This is really an imitation of God and Christ Jesus. 'My Father worketh hitherto, and I work,' says our Lord. If we would be like God, we must see that we fill up our time for him."

— edited from The Interior or Hidden Life (1844) Part 2, Chapter 13.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Christlikeness: Prayer

The Savior was a man of PRAYER. We have already had occasion to notice his declaration, that "without his Father he could do nothing." And as if in practical recognition and manifestation of his entire personal dependence, we find him often kneeling in supplication, and drawing divine strength from the Everlasting Fountain. As God, he had all power. As man, (the aspect in which we are now contemplating him,) he had no power, which he did not receive from his heavenly Father. And if there was ever any instance of "living by the moment," (which seems to us the true way of Christian living, and which obviously implies praying by the moment,) we find it undoubtedly in the life of Jesus Christ. He may be said, therefore, with a great deal of truth, to have been praying all the time. Certainly he was always in the spirit of prayer. But, besides this spirit of continual intercourse with God, which was as natural to him as the breath which he breathed, he had especial seasons of supplication, when he went apart from men, and poured forth his soul in private.

"Cold mountains and the midnight air,
"Witnessed the fervor of his prayer."

If even the Savior could do nothing without his Father, if prayer was as necessary to his spiritual support as the very air he breathed was to the support of his body, let no one suppose, that he can sustain the grace of a truly regenerated and sanctified heart, without possessing a like prayerful spirit.

— edited from The Interior or Hidden Life (1844) Part 2, Chapter 13.