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.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Sciptures Teach Disinterested Love to God

The Scriptures require us to love God with disinterested or pure love. We say nothing here of the great command, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with ALL thy heart; which evidently implies the dethronement and exclusion of selfishness. There are various other passages of Scripture, which, if we rightly understand them, evidently look to this result, viz. that we should love Him for what he is in and of himself, independently of our own private interests. Accordingly it is said in Luke, chap. 14: 26: " If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple." And again in the same chapter, " So likewise, whosoever he be of you, that FORSAKETH NOT ALL HE HATH, he cannot be my disciple." And again it is said in another place, " Love your enemies; bless them that curse you; do good to them that hate you." And perhaps still more directly and appositely to the subject under consideration, the inquiry is made in another passage, " If ye love them, which love you, what thanks have ye? for sinners also love those, that love them. And if ye do good to them, who do good to you, what thanks have ye? for sinners also do even the same." These are the declarations and precepts of the Savior himself. There are many others very similar, to be found in different parts of the Word of God. As when, for instance, the Apostle John says, " Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him." How true it is, then, that charity, or the genuine love of God and our nelghbor SEEKETH NOT HER OWN. And how appropriate the direction, "Look not every man on his own things; but every man also on the things of others." — We have only to add, that passages, such as have now been referred to, evidently strike at the existence of that form of love, if such it can be called, which proposes to build itself on personal or selfish considerations.

But what shall be done, it will perhaps be said here, with that passage of Scripture, 1st John 4:19 [sic], which asserts, "We love God, because He first loved us." The difficulty here, as it seems to us, is easily explicable. We admit, that, in our present condition, we never should have loved God, if his love to us had not been antecedent. He formed the plan of salvation; He sent his beloved Son to make an atonement for our sins; He commissioned the Holy Spirit to open the eyes of our understandings, and to enable us to contemplate his glory. In a word, he has put us into a situation, utterly unattainable by our own unaided efforts, in which we can truly estimate his character in its whole extent of glory, not only as possessed of infinite mercy, but of infinite justice. It is in view of such procedures of the divine administration, that we can truly say, " we love God, because He first loved us." And at the same time can say with equal truth, and in a still more important and essential sense, we love Him for what He is in and of himself. His previous love to us, without which we never should have exercised any love towards Him of any kind whatever, has opened the way for the exercise on our part of that pure and holy love, which alone can be truly acceptable.

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

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