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, September 17, 2014

Binding Ourselves to the Will of God Binds Us to the Whole of God

Man's perceptive powers are limited. They do not correspond, in extent, with those of God; and consequently we can unite with God, in the matter of knowledge, only in a limited degree. The union with [God], in this respect, may be  perfect  as far as it goes; but it is restricted in extent. And it will be found to be the same in relation to love. We may harmonize perfectly with the divine love, in all cases where objects of love are presented to us. But the sphere of our knowledge, through which objects are presented to us, being limited, the sphere of our love also is limited. Practically, our love cannot, in its extent, be carried beyond the limit of known objects of love.

But, in the acts of the will, the Godhead, if we may be allowed the expression, so simplifies itself, that the harmony between the created and the uncreated, the human and the divine, may be perfect in extent as well as degree. God's will (we mean here, by the term, the act of his will in any given case) is a unity, combining together, as it were, and representing the whole of his knowledge, the whole of his love, the whole of his nature. As all objects may be, and are, present to it in a single glance, and compressed as it were into the eternal NOW, a single act of the will, embracing and adjusting all previous knowledge and all previous feeling, decides upon all, enacts all, establishes all. It is this act of the will, — an act extending to and consolidating everything else,— with which we are required to be united. Based upon infinite variety, in itself it is but one thing; and we are to unite with it as one. But as it  is the unity of the Godhead, embracing the infinite variety of the Godhead, we cannot unite with God in the simplicity and unity of the will, without being virtually united with him in the infinite multiplicity of his knowledge and affection.

If these views are correct, which, in binding us to the will of God, bind us to the whole of God, we not only see how much is involved in an union with the divine will, but how fearfully hazardous it is to indulge in the slightest deviation from that will when it is once ascertained. No direction is more important than that which requires us to labor and pray for harmony with God in this respect. The other unions which have been mentioned, important and indispensable as they are, may be regarded as preparatory to this. The union of the human and divine wills is the consummation of those which have gone before. It is not surprising, therefore, that the Saviour so frequently refers to this form of union. " My meat," he says, "is to do the will of him that sent me." [John 4:34; 6:38.] And again he says, "I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me." 'He that doeth the will of God," says the apostle John, "abideth forever." [First Epis. of John 2:17.]

A Treatise on Divine Union (1851) Part 5, Chapter 1.

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