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.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Disinterested Love is the Only Proper Homage to God

The character of God is so pure, so exalted, that the claims of right and justice cannot be satisfied with any homage which it may receive, short of pure, disinterested love. God contains in himself the sum of all conceivable excellence. If there is any being who is to be loved for himself, because he contains in himself every thing that is lovely, it is God. If human beings reject with an instinctive contempt, any love which is found to be based upon selfish considerations, how can God, who has so much higher claims, receive it? Upon this point all language fails. The tongues of angels cannot describe the divine excellence. It is because God is what He is, and will continue to be what he has been, that He is the true and only proper object of the heart' s highest homage. The divine character stands forth, in the view of the universe, as the natural, the appropriate, and ever sufficient object of pure love.

But the question may be asked here with some degree of force, Is not God's benevolence towards ourselves to be taken into view, and to have some effect upon our feelings? Undoubtedly it is. We shall love God, if we fulfill the divine requisition in its entire extent, as he is, and not otherwise than he is. And this implies, that we are to take into view every part of his character and of his acts. It is true, it is impossible to love him with that kind of love which is called pure love, for the simple and exclusive reason, that he has been good to us. Pure love, which does not confine itself to any personal or interested view of things, necessarily requires a wider basis of movement than this. But we love him with entire purity of love, because, while He has been good to us, He has sustained, in every other respect, the perfection of his character and acts. In other words, there has been a diffusion of truth, purity, and righteousness over his whole character and administration; including what he has done for ourselves as well as his acts in other respects. And it is his character and acts, as thus presented in their entireness, and not in partial glimpses, which command the homage of pure love.

— adapted from The Interior or Hidden Life (1844) Part1, Chapter 12.

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