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.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

People Naturally Honor Disinterested Love

People respect and honor disinterested love; while they have neither admiration nor esteem, for that form of love which is based upon personal interest merely. Some ancient heathen writers, Cicero in his treatise De Amicitia, and Plato in particular, in various places of his writings, speak in the highest terms of that friendship or affection which is disinterested. Plato advances the sentiment, that the most divine trait in man's nature, and that, without which he cannot be happy, is, "to deny and go out of himself for love." Hence it is, that ancient writers bestow such high commendation upon the friendship of Pythias and Damon, who lived under the tyrant Dionysius, and were willing to die for each other. Each of them seemed willing to forget, and, as it were, to extinguish himself, in order that the other might live and be happy. This was true love. And men are so constituted, that such love always commands their regard and honor. They instinctively perceive, that it has in itself a divine element, which necessarily allies it to the highest and purest form of existence, whatever it may be; and that it is morally beautiful and ever must be so, in its own underived luster. And accordingly they speak of it at their firesides; they crown it with historic encomiums; they sing its praises in poetry; while all other love, as existing between man and man, they despise and trample under their feet. And is it reasonable to suppose, that a love, which men themselves, darkened as they are in their natural perceptions, instinctively condemn and reject, will be acceptable to God?

— adapted from The Interior or Hidden Life (1844) Part 1, Chapter 12.

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