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, June 5, 2014

God Will Help Us to Know Only What We Need to Know

The union of God and man in knowledge implies the fact of an unity or oneness in the object of knowledge. That is to say, the object must be not one of our own choice, but of God's choice. And it may be added, here, that the object which God chooses and presents to the human mind for its consideration, is that object, whatever it may be, which entirely harmonizes with the existing state of things. The facts and relations of things are so ordered under the divine administration, that at each successive moment some things are more important to be known, and more appropriate to be known than anything else. God, as the true revealer of what now is and of what is to be hereafter, will help us to know only what he thinks ought to be known. He will not help us in the knowledge of those things which, considered as the objects of knowledge, may be regarded as inconsistent with the proprieties and wants of the present time and place, and of the existing situation of things. He will not help us in the knowledge of those things which, without a regard to the appropriateness of what now is, are sought merely to gratify a selfish curiosity. In all such inquiries, where we selfishly choose our own object instead of adopting and receiving the object which God presents, the human and divine mind are out of harmony.

On the contrary, when we seek to know only what God would have us know, which is always done when our minds perfectly harmonize with the intimations of Providence, then the object of knowledge becomes one and the same to him who imparts knowledge and to him who receives it; and God and man are in union.

And this view, it may be properly added, is the more interesting and the more practically important, because it so fully recognizes God as the judge of what is proper or not proper to be known. Sovereign here as in other things, he not only retains the right and the power of communicating knowledge, but of communicating what, in his own judgment, he sees to be best. It is obviously not possible for him to communicate all knowledge to a limited mind, that can receive it only in parts. Adjusting, therefore. what he imparts not only to the capacity of the recipient but to the attendant circumstances, he gives here a little and there a little: casting brightness around the skirts of the clouds which overhang us, mingling light with darkness and darkness with light, so that those who walk in some things in the day of open vision, may still be said in other things to walk in "the night of faith."

— adapted from A Treatise on Divine Union (1851) Part 3, Chapter 5.

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