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.

Friday, January 31, 2014

The Danger of Disbeliving in Holiness

No person, such is the relation between the will and belief, can put forth a volition to do a thing, which at the same time he believes impossible to be done. I do not believe, for instance, in the possibility of flying in the air; and I am unable to put forth a volition to do any such thing. I may exercise a desire to fly in the air; but while I have an utter disbelief in its possibility, I shall never put forth a volition to do it. So if I disbelieve in the possibility of being holy, I can never put forth a volition, that is to say, a fixed determination, to be so. I may put forth a volition to do many good things; I may put forth a volition to grow in grace; but to put forth a volition, a fixed, unalterable determination, with divine assistance, to resist and overcome every sin, to be wholly the Lord’s, to be holy, when I believe such a result to be unattainable, is what, on the principles of the philosophy of the mind, I am unable to do. I might as well put forth a volition to create a continent, or to remove the Rocky Mountains into the Pacific Ocean, or to do any thing else, which I know it to be impossible for me to do.


Who can expect to be holy now, and holy through his whole life, that does not feel the weight of obligation to be so? Still more, who can reasonably expect to be holy, that does not put forth a volition, a fixed, unalterable determination with divine assistance to be so? And if these, the obligation and the volition or fixed purpose of mind, depend on the antecedent belief, then evidently the first great preparatory step to a holy life, is, to be fully settled in the doctrine;—in other words, to believe fully in the attainableness of holiness at the present time. And this, as the matter presents itself to my own mind, is, practically, a very important conclusion. Upon the mind, that can appreciate the relation and the application of the principles which have just been laid down, the reception of the common doctrine of the impossibility of present sanctification presses with the weight of a millstone. A person in this position feels, that he cannot move; he is like a man that is shut up in prison and in irons, and in accordance with the saying, that “hope deferred maketh the heart sick,” he soon ceases to make effort, when there is nothing but defeat before him. We say, then, to every one, who feels the importance of this subject, and who is sincerely desirous to be holy in heart, go to the Bible. Go with a single eye. Go in the spirit of humble prayer. And see whether the Lord does not require you to be wholly his, in the exercise of assurance of faith and of perfect love; — and whether he has not, in the blood of his Son, made ample provision for this blessed result?

— edited from The Interior or Hidden Life (2nd edition, 1844) Part 1, Chapter 3.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Out of Death Springs Life

Out of death springs life.  We  must die naturally, in order that we may live spiritually. The beautiful flowers spring up from dead seeds; and from the death of those evil principles that spread so diffusively and darkly over the natural heart, springs up the beauty of a new life, the quiet but ravishing bloom of Holiness.

Religious Maxims (1846) XVII.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Christians Only on Great Occasions

There are many persons, who would willingly be Christians, and eminent Christians too, if Christianity were limited to great occasions. For such occasions they call forth whatever pious and devotional resources they have, or seem to have, and not only place them in the best light but inspire them, for the time being, with the greatest possible efficiency. But on smaller occasions, in the every-day occurrences and events of life, the religious principle is in a state of dormancy; giving no signs of effective vitality and movement. The life of such persons is not like that of the sun, equable, constant, diffusive, and beneficent, though attracting but little notice; but like the eruptive and glaring blaze of volcanoes, which comes forth at remote periods, in company with great thunderings and shakings of the earth; and yet the heart of the people is not made glad by it. Such religion is vain; and its possessors know not what manner of spirit they are of.

Religious Maxims (1846) XVI.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Speak Not Often of Yourself

Speak not often of your own actions, nor even, when it can be properly avoided, make allusion to yourself, as an agent in transactions which are calculated to attract notice. We do not suppose, as some may be inclined to do, that frequent speaking of our actions is necessarily a proof, although it may furnish a presumption, of inordinate self-love or vanity; but it cannot be denied that, by such a course, we expose ourselves to temptations and dangers in that direction. It is much safer, and is certainly much more profitable, to speak of what has been done for us and wrought in us, to speak, for instance, of ourselves as the recipients of the goodness of God, than to speak of what we have ourselves done. But even here, also, although it may often be an imperative duty, there is need of deliberation and caution.

Religious Maxims (1846) XV.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Reposing in God

In the agitations of the present life, beset and perplexed as we are with troubles, how natural it is to seek earnestly some place of rest. And hence it is that we so often reveal our cares and perplexities to our fellow-men, and seek comfort and support from that source. But the sanctified soul, having experienced the uncertainties of all human aids, turns instinctively to the great God. And hiding itself in the presence and protection of the divine existence, it reposes there, as in a strong tower which no enemies can conquer, and as on an everlasting rock which no floods can wash away. It knows the instructive import of that sublime exclamation of the Psalmist, (Ps. lxii. 5.) "My soul, wait thou ONLY upon God; for my expectation is from him."

Religious Maxims (1846) XIV.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

The Power of Faith in Times of Temptation

In cases of especial temptation, we are protected and saved in an especial manner, by the exercise of FAITH. Here, as elsewhere, faith is the great secret of our power; so much so as apparently to be the only method of quenching the fiery darts of the adversary. The tempted person, if he is in the exercise of grace adequate to the occasion, instantaneously offers up the prayer of faith. He exclaims, in spirit at least, if not in language, "Preserve me, O God, in this hour of need." "Spare me and help me in this time of trial;" "Leave me not to fall into the hands of my great enemy." He not only desires this assistance, which is one element of the prayer of faith; but what is equally important, he believes that God hears; and that in accordance with many promises, such as "his grace is sufficient for us," and that he "will not suffer us to be tempted beyond what we are able to bear," he is, in fact present with him to aid, protect, and bless. This is especially true of the person, who has experienced the eminent grace of interior sanctification. Having learned to live by faith, which to many is a new and hidden way of living, his prayer ascends to the throne of God, with great rapidity, so that it meets and confronts the temptation almost as soon as it is presented to his thoughts. And not only this, being the prayer of living faith, it is a mighty prayer. It is true, it is exceedingly simple in object and in words; being, in this respect, modeled upon the Lord's prayer; but it has power with God; it touches the heart of everlasting Love; and if we may be allowed the expression, it draws down upon his soul the shield and covering of a Savior's blood. It is in that fountain, in that precious blood, and not in the mere deadness and coldness of his affections, that the fiery darts of the adversary are quenched.

The Interior or Hidden Life (1844) Part 1, Chapter 19.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Violent Temptation

Temptations will, in general, be violent, in proportion to the decided resistance which is made to them. And accordingly, although it is perhaps different from what we should naturally expect, the more holy a man is the more violent at times will be the temptations, which he is called to endure. A person, who yields to temptation either in whole or in part, which is very apt to be the case with those who are not wholly devoted to the Lord, will not be likely to understand its full power. He does not oppose resistance enough to ascertain the strength of the aggressive movement. Satan has no inducement to show his full strength to the man, who yields easily. But he, who is determined to sin not at all, who had rather die than commit any known transgression, who opposes the broad and upright energy of his whole being to the assaults of Satan, will know the immense power of the terrible enemy, that wages war upon him. And it is the natural result of this general view, that when in the life of practical holiness we have taken some new and untried position, which for the first time we have ascertained to be a true and a safe one, and are undertaking the discharge of some new but obvious duty, we shall be likely, in connection with that new position, to be tried and tempted very severely. Satan will drive us from it if he can. He hates holiness, and every thing which is involved in holiness, and every thing which holiness does. He hates it in general; and he hates it in particulars. And whoever proposes, in aiming at entire holiness to do better in a particular thing, will be likely to find him in the attitude of defiance and resistance just at that point.

— edited from The Interior or Hidden Life (1844) Part 1, Chapter 19.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Don't Trifle With Temptation

It is hazardous to estimate lightly, and to trifle with temptations. The person is greatly wanting in wisdom, who undertakes to make a sport of them, or who delays a moment under the pressure of their influence when he can possibly escape. "Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation," is the command of Scripture. And the question is well asked in the book of Proverbs, 6: 27, 28, "Can a man take fire into his bosom and his clothes not be burned? Can one go upon hot coals, and his feet not be burned?" The Christian, who is desirous of securing fully the approbation of his heavenly Father, must be careful not only to do the right and avoid the wrong; but also to avoid all places and all occasions, which would be likely for any reason to lead him into wrong.

The Interior or Hidden Life (1844) Part 1, Chapter19.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Everyone is Subject to Temptation

In the present life, all persons, not excepting those, who are most advanced in holiness, are subject to temptations. Even the truly sanctified person is not exempt. Holy persons like others retain the attributes appropriate to man's nature; differing from the same attributes in others in this respect only, that they are deprived of irregularities of action, and are entirely subordinate to the divine will. Accordingly the holy person, or the person in whom faith and love exist in the highest degree attainable in the present life, hungers and thirsts like any other person; he is the subject of the propensities and affections, which lay the foundation and which furnish the support of the various family relations; he loves his children, parents, and other relatives, and is the subject of other natural ties and sympathies; he suffers from fatigue and sickness; he is grieved, troubled, and perplexed in various ways; and even displeasure and anger, as is evident from what was witnessed in the life of our Savior, are not entirely excluded. While, therefore, it is our privilege, even in the present life to be exempt from the commission of voluntary and known sin, it does not appear, retaining, as we do, our constitutional tendencies and remaining subject to constitutional infirmities, that we either have, or can reasonably expect, any such exemption from temptation. We cannot suppose, that any of us, in the present life, can be in a better situation than our Savior, who was "without sin;" but who, nevertheless "was tempted in all points as we are."

— edited from The Interior of Hidden Life (1844) Part 1, Chapter 19.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Joy in Faith, When All Else Fails

When all earthly comforts are dried up, and when faith alone remains as the sustaining principle of the soul, there is an interior consolation, deep and tranquil, flowing out from faith itself. This is a circumstance which is often overlooked. But it is a great truth contrary to the opinion of some who do not fully understand the nature of the divine operation in the soul, that there is a JOY IN FAITH. The life of faith, though it may be destitute of every outward support and comfort, is not so desolate in itself, so wanting in every thing that brings inward happiness, as some seem to suppose. It is true, sustained in the spirit of self-sacrifice, and seeking nothing but unity with the divine will, it never aims at consolation as an ultimate object. It thinks more of what God is, than of what he gives. And thus God himself, the great original of all good, becomes the fountain of the soul's joy. And the joy, which is thus experienced, is necessarily a pure joy, uncontaminated by any mixture of self. Ask those pious persons; who in the exercise of faith are endeavoring to lay all upon the altar of God, but who, nevertheless, are called in the course of his wise but mysterious dealings and providences to pass through the extremity of interior and exterior desolation, if they are sustained by anything in the nature of consolation, and they will readily answer in the affirmative. Their language is, if they have nothing else, they have the consolation which flows from believing. If the sweetness of every other fountain is closed, they still have the joy of faith.

This is one of the unalterable conditions of faith, especially when it exists in a high degree, viz. that it is attended with a pure and tranquil consolation; consolation so sure and permanent, that we can never be deprived of it, whatever else may be taken away. The soul is led up, as it were, into the mountain of God's protection. In the attitude of calm repose, it remains established on that sublime height with the sunlight of heavenly peace for its companion, while there is nothing but darkness and the roaring of tempests in the valleys below. Such was the pure and sublime consolation, which our Savior experienced, when his heavenly Father had withdrawn from him the manifestations of his love, and left him in extreme and inexpressible desolation of spirit He still possessed, though apparently and terribly forsaken, the consolation and the joy of faith. He could still recognize the bond of union, and still appropriate, as it were, his Heavenly Father to himself, and say, "My God" "My God."

The Interior of Hidden Life (1844), Part 1, Chapter 18.

Monday, January 20, 2014


Oh, say when errors oft and black
Have deeply stained the inmost soul,
Who then shall call the wanderer back,
Who make the broken spirit whole?
Who give the tortured and depressed
The grateful balm, that soothes to rest?

When storms are driven across the sky,
The rainbow decks the troubled clouds,
And there is one, whose love is nigh,
Where grief annoys and darkness shrouds;
He'll stretch abroad his bow of peace,
And bid the storm and tempest cease.

Then go, vain world, 'tis time to part,
Too long and darkly hast thou twined
Around this frail, corrupted heart,
And poisoned the immortal mind;
Oh, I have known the pangs that spring
From pleasure's beak and folly's sting.

Hail, Prince of heaven! Hail, Bow of rest!
Oh, downward scatter mercy's ray,
And all the darkness of my breast
Shall quickly turn to golden day.
With Thee is peace; no griefs annoy;
And tears are grateful gems of joy.

American Cottage Life (1850).

Saturday, January 18, 2014

The Poor Family in Winter

Now 'tis the cold and howling wintry time;
From the contentious north, dark storms arise,
Advancing loud with rapid march sublime,
Rending the earth, and mantling up the skies.
This is the season and the hour which tries
Submission, patience, faith, and charity.
Hark! On the winds are heard the orphan's sigh;
The tears are gleaming in the widow's eye;
Oh! who will hear their plaint, who will their wants supply?

'Tis God's decree, no less than reason's voice,
That man is made not for himself alone;
That with the glad of heart he shall rejoice,
And blend his sorrows with the sufferer's moan,
For all are fashioned of one blood and bone.
And who, that hears His call, will disobey?
Who mock the words from the eternal throne?
Who from the poor and suffering turn away,
When all one Father have, all form'd of kindred clay?

Thus loudly called each other's griefs to bear,
To yon Poor Family your pity show;
They too are human beings.
Let them share Your kindness, nor sink down to hopeless woe.
Mark the poor mother! Tears of anguish flow,
And answering tears flow down her children's cheek.
Her last poor penny gone, and where to go
She knoweth not, nor whose kind aid to seek:
Do not her prayers and tears your charity bespeak?

Her cheerless cottage stands upon yon moor,
Where nought but a few shrubs and bushes rear
Their shrunk and icy heads. Around her door
The wintry winds howl fearfully and drear.
Her crust of bread she moistens with a tear,
As she doth reach it to her hungry boy.
How deep her desolation! How severe
Her lot, bereft alike of hope and joy,
'Tis darkness without light, and grief without alloy.

Around the few poor embers of their hearth,
Her children cowering sit, and bow the head;
They show no blissful smile, no sign of mirth,
But griefs and fears and wailings in their stead.
The storm without assails their shaking shed;
The snow through gaping board and window flies;
Beneath the coverings of a tattered bed
An infant child lifts up its plaintive cries,
And then again the tears start in the mother's eyes.

Ye, who have ample houses, fertile lands,
Whose barns are full, and cellars richly stored,
At eve whose blazing, cheerful hearth expands,
And healthful plenty ever crowns your board;
Say, touched with pity, will you not afford
A share to those poor ones, for whom I plead,
That they, as well as you, to peace restored,
No longer may be pressed with care and need,
No more the mother's heart with hidden sorrow bleed?

Have they the strength of brass, that winter's bleak
And withering presence can affect them not?
When sickness comes upon them, and doth wreak
New ills on their already evil lot,
Have they no care? Do they regard it nought?
Deem not they have no feeling; rather say,
Their heart is like thy heart; the power of thought
To them is given; the intellectual ray
For them, though dim with clouds, hath yet a glimpse of day.

Perhaps among those poor and suffering ones,
In hearts where nought but care and grief preside,
There lurks the fire of nature's favorite sons,
A genius to immortal names allied,
(The hope of science and a nation's pride,)
And elemental virtues stern and high.
And shall they always thus in woe abide?
Oh, pass them not in silent coldness by;
Thou too mayest stand in need; thy time of want be nigh.

Not seldom those, who rolled in wealth to-day,
Amid the overflow of temporal good,
Have in a moment seen it fall away,
And leave them without friends, or home, or food.
Those, who in honor and in greatness stood,
Pride of the noble, envy of the poor;
Oft have they felt misfortune's onset rude,
And in the loss of all their earthly store,
Have begged their daily bread, and wept from door to door.

Oh ye, to whom kind heaven doth impart
Abundant earthly treasures, be it yours
To cheer the suff'ring and the sad of heart,
Nor turn away the hungry from your doors.
On you the Deity his goodness pours,
That you in blessing may be doubly blest.
Ye  are the stewards of his ample stores.
The foxes have their holes, the bird its nest,
And shall not man be fed, and have his place of rest.

Example from the blessed Saviour take,
Who turned the water of the feast to wine,
And made the golden light of heaven break
Upon the suffering, miserable blind.
For all our race he felt, to all was kind,
Though poor himself, despised, unknown to fame.
Oh imitate the Saviour of mankind,
Who, through all time, his blessing doth proclaim
To him, who gives a cup of water in his name.

And then thine eye, when closing on this life,
And all its chequered scenes of want and woe,
Of pride, ambition, turbulence, and strife,
Shall 'ope on other scenes than here below.
There  shall the plumed, enraptured spirit know
How, from the fruitfulness of Love Divine,
The streams of excellence and pleasure flow,
And through God's universal empire shine,
Be that the joy to me, and that the triumph thine.

The Religious Offering (1835).

Friday, January 17, 2014

Holiness Does Not Depend on Circumstances

The hidden life, which God imparts to his accepted people, may flourish in solitudes and deserts; far from the societies of men and the din and disturbance of cities. From the cave of the hermit, from the cell of the solitary recluse, the fervent prayer has often arisen, which has been acceptable in the sight of God. But it would be a strange and fatal misconception, that religion, even in its most pure and triumphant exaltations, can flourish no where else. The home of holiness is in the heart, irrespective of outward situations and alliances; and therefore we may expect to find it, if there are hearts adapted to its reception and growth, in the haunts of business as well as in the silence of retirement; in the palaces of Rome, as well as in the deserts of the Thebais.  It is a fatal mistake to suppose that we cannot be holy except on the condition of a situation and circumstances in life such as shall suit ourselves.  It is one of the first principles of holiness to leave our times and our places, our going out and our coming in, our wasted and our goodly heritage entirely with the Lord. Here, O Lord, hast thou placed us, and we will glorify thee here.

Religious Maxims (1846) XIII.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Sanctification Diminishes Fanaticism

In proportion as the heart becomes sanctified, there is a diminished tendency to enthusiasm and fanaticism. And this is undoubtedly one of the leading tests of sanctification. One of the marks of an enthusiastic and fanatical state of mind, is a fiery and unrestrained impetuosity of feeling; a rushing on, sometimes very blindly, as if the world were in danger, or as if the great Creator were not at the helm. It is not only feeling without a due degree of judgment, but, what is the corrupting and fatal trait, it is feeling without a due degree of confidence in God. True holiness reflects the image of  God in this respect as well as in others, that it is calm, thoughtful, deliberate, immutable. And how  can it be otherwise, since, rejecting its own wisdom and strength, it incorporates into itself the wisdom and strength of the Almighty.

Religious Maxims (1846) XII.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

When We Are Weak in Ourselves, We Shall Not Fail

Our spiritual strength will be nearly in proportion to the absence of self-dependence and self-confidence. When we are weak in ourselves, we shall not fail, if we apply to the right source for help, to be found strong in the Lord. Madame Guyon, speaking of certain temptations to which she had been exposed, says, "I then comprehended what power a soul has, which is entirely annihilated." This is strong language; but when it is properly understood, it conveys important truth. When we sink in ourselves, we rise in God. When we have no strength in ourselves, we have divine power in Him who can subdue all his adversaries. "The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower."

Religious Maxims (1846) XI.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

An Atmosphere of Calmness

A sanctified state of heart does not require to be sustained by any mere forms of bodily excitation. It gets above the dominion, at least in a very considerable degree, of the nerves and the senses. It seeks an atmosphere of calmness, of thought, and holy meditation.

Religious Maxims (1846) X.

Monday, January 13, 2014

The Mystery of the Kingdom

The mystery of the kingdom lies
In this, that Christ "hath died for me"
But see, in that great sacrifice,
The other truth, "I die for Thee."

The life, on bleeding Calvary given,
Taught us the way our life to save.
All truth, all good, and God, and heaven,
Are found in giving all we have.

We  give up all, and all resume;
We die the death, and life is born;
Without the shadows of the tomb,
There comes no resurrection morn.

Down to the grave then let us haste,
By toiling, suffering, bleeding, giving;
'Tis only thus our souls can taste
The risen bliss of heavenly living.

— from Christ in the Soul (1872) V.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Sought and Found

Oh Christ, I used to say;
Help me to come to Thee;
But can I say it now,
When Christ hath come to me?

Dear  Presence in my soul,
Where thou dost find Thy rest!
Why seek Thee in the skies,
When dwelling in my breast?

The  mother seeks her child,
When wayward it doth roam;
But seeking hath no place,
When it is safe at home.

His  voice is on my lips;
His  tear bedews mine eye;
His home is in my soul;
He  cannot be more nigh.

Oh no! He is not now,
A Christ that dwells apart;
But, near as life with life
He dwells within my heart.

Christ in the Soul (1872) IV.

Friday, January 10, 2014


'Tis done. The "great transaction's past,"
And I, who call'd myself my own,
Rejecting pride; and self, at last
Belong to God, and God alone.

Dear, Infinite, Eternal Mind!
Father and Motherhood in one,
May Thy great Life, with mine combin'd,
Make me a, true, a living son.

May all of heart and life be brought
Within Thine Infinite control;
Be Thou the source of every thought;
Be, Thou the life-spring of the soul.

Christ in the Soul (1872) III.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Christian Obedience Is Not Servitude

Some persons think of obedience as if it were nothing else, and could be nothing else, than servitude. And it must be admitted, that  constrained  obedience is so. He, who obeys by compulsion and not freely, wears a chain upon his spirit which continually frets and torments, while it confines him. But this is not Christian obedience. To obey with the whole heart, in other words to obey as Christ would have us, is essentially the same as to be perfectly resigned to the will of God; having no will but His. And he must have strange notions of the interior and purified life, who supposes that the obedience, which revolves constantly and joyfully within the limits of the Divine Will, partakes of the nature of servitude. On the contrary, true obedience, that which has its seat in the affections, and which flows out like the gushing of water, may be said, in a very important sense, to possess not only the nature, but the very essence of freedom.

Religious Maxims (1846) IX.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

True Peace of Mind

True peace of mind does not depend, as some seem to suppose, on the external incidents of riches and poverty, of health and sickness, of friendship and enmities. It has no necessary dependence upon society or seclusion; upon dwelling in cities or in the desert; upon the possession of temporal power, or a condition of temporal insignificance and weakness. "The kingdom of God is within you." Let the heart be right, let it be fully united with the will of God, and we shall be entirely contented with those circumstances, in which Providence has seen fit to place us, however unpropitious they may be in a worldly point of view. He, who gains the victory over himself, gains the victory over all his enemies.

Religious Maxims (1846) VIII.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Living Temple

The Temple once, which brightly shone
On proud Moriah's rocky brow;
Not there doth God erect His throne,
And build His place of beauty now.

The sunbeam of the orient day
Saw nought on earth more bright and fair;
But desolation swept away,
And left no form of glory there.

But God, who rear'd that chisel'd stone,
Now builds upon a higher plan;
And rears the columns of His  throne,
His  temple in the heart of man.

Oh man, Oh woman! know it well,
Nor seek elsewhere His place to find,
That God doth in the Temple dwell,
The temple of the holy mind.

— from Christ in the Soul (1872) II.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Christ Within

Why would'st thou teach my soul to rise,
And seek for Jesus in the skies?
Is He so far apart?
Are skies a better dwelling-place
Than man's celestial heart and face,
Made pure and bright with heavenly grace?
Oh, find Him in thy heart.

Why would'st thou teach my thirsty soul
To wait till death shall make it whole?
Is Christ so far away?
Oh, no! I see Him now and near;
In my own beating heart I hear
His throbbing life, His voice of cheer;
He turns my night to day.

Then cease thy looking here and there,
And first of all thy heart prepare,
By purity from sin;
And then, lit up with heaven's bright glow,
Thy soul of truth and love shall know,
That heaven above is heaven below,
And Christ is found within.

— from Christ in the Soul (1872) I.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Finding an Adequate Center of Love

The nature of the human mind is such, being limited and dependent, that it evidently requires an adequate centre of love, on which it can rest. No being, that is weak and dependent, and is conscious, as man is, of this weakness and dependence, can find a safe and satisfactory centre in itself. Accordingly the man, whose love reverts wholly or chiefly to himself, is always found to be more or less anxious and unhappy. And if our love fixes upon any being out of ourselves, but short of God and to the exclusion of God, it soon finds a weakness there, and becomes uneasy, and has a sort of instinctive consciousness, that the true centre is not yet found. Hence if our souls would find rest, they can find it only by an alienation of self and of all subordinate creatures, and by union with God. And what has now been said is not only obvious in itself, but it is believed, it will be found to be confirmed by the testimony of those, who have made the greatest advancement in holiness. In the transition they have passed through from the natural life to the true life of God in the soul, they have attached themselves, as it was perhaps natural they should do, to various inferior objects, to outward forms, to ministers, to church organization and ceremonies, to christian friends; and have endeavored for a time to find a rest of soul in these inferior things. But it has always eluded them. They have felt the foundation shake. They have realized an inward disquietude and weakness, till, leaving every thing else, however desirable in many respects and for many purposes it might be, they have reached the strong rock of salvation in God alone.

The Interior of Hidden Life (1844), Part 1, Chapter 12.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

If Thou, Oh God, Wilt Make My Spirit Free...

If thou, Oh God, wilt make my spirit free,
Then will that darkened soul be free indeed;
I cannot break my bonds apart from thee;
Without thy help I bow and serve and bleed.
Arise, oh Lord, and in thy matchless strength,
Asunder rend the links my heart that bind,
And liberate and raise and save, at length,
My long enthralled and subjugated mind.

The Interior or Hidden Life (1844), Part 2, Chapter 10.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Reflections on the New Year

HELD in their path of glory by the hand,
That rear'd all nature's bright and wondrous frame,
That made the sky, the ocean, and the land,
And all that dwell therein, whate'er their name;
Held by that wondrous hand of might and pow'r,
The distant stars their steady course have run,
The moon hath watch'd in her aerial tower,
Along his annual round hath march'd the sun,
Until his task once more, his Zodiac race, is done.

Yes! Time's unwearied course hath borne us on;
Successively the rapid seasons pass'd;
Another twelve month's space is come and gone,
And a  New  Year upon the world is cast.
Time's noiseless wheel rolls on, and; oh how fast!
'Tis like the tide that rushes to the sea;
Uncounted things are on it — at the last,
Those of the earth shall perish, cease to be,
But souls, a spark of heaven, go to eternity.

The earth, still subject to its ancient curse,
Hath felt its storms, and shook with thunder's dread,
And Death, to make its bosom populous,
Hath smitten down full many a weary head.
The young, the man of scatter'd locks and gray,
All ages to the grave's cold rest have gone,
The dwelling-place of silence and decay.
There dwells the worm; the serpent feeds upon
The soulless mass deformed, and twines the skeleton bone.

The living too, whose bosoms erst did beat
With promise high and unabated joy,
How many now in gloomy sorrow sit,
And constant woes their life and hopes annoy!
How many in the course of one short year,
Who love received, and love as warmly gave,
Now shed o'er sunder'd ties the burning tear!
Alas! earth's ties are often like the wave,
That brightly clasps the shore — then breaks, and seeks its

See here a mother mourning o' er her son!
How desolate her soul! And seated there,
With countenance of deeper grief, is one,
New rob'd in widow's weeds. Into thin air
And blackness terrible hath sunk their light.
Oh! Happy they, when joys terrestrial fade,
Who rest on God's right arm and changeless might.
There's nothing firm of all things that are made,
But life shall wane to death, and substance change to shade.

Yes, there's a spirit of change in all things round,
Which shows itself, as year on year goes by;
Which at the last shall sink the solid ground,
Nor spare the brighter fabric of the sky;
Both heaven and earth shall be one cemetery.
Down from their home of light the stars shall fall,
The blaze, that lights the solar pathway, die,
While clouds and flame shall wrap this earthly ball,
Its  wither'd pomp depart, and fade its glory all.

Boast not, because these things have never been,
For we shall see them, though we see not now,
When rolls through heaven the final trumpet's din,
And lightnings bind the "seventh angel's brow."
Then months and New Years shall be o' er.
Ah, how That final. trump shall rock the land and sea!
Then shall the proud, majestic mountains bow,
The islands and the continents shall flee,
The solid earth go down, and time no more shall be.

The years of earth shall pass; but heavenly years
Shall start upon their endless destiny.
The joys of earth shall perish; but no tears
Shall dim the brightness of the joys on high.
The scenes and things below shall fade away;
The brighter scenes of heaven shall be the same,
Without a blighting touch, without decay;
And all her hosts, in one sublime acclaim,
Shall pour their transports high, and shout the Saviour's name.

The Religious Offering (1835).