— edited from The Interior or Hidden Life (1844) Part 1, Chapter 13.
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.
Saturday, September 6, 2014
Under the great law of supreme love to God, we may not only love, as we ought to, our friends, our relatives, and our fellow men universally; but, under the same law and in the same manner, we may love ourselves, and may love and seek our own happiness. God is willing that we should. He has made us so that we cannot do otherwise. He requires us to do it. But what is our happiness? It is to love God with all our heart, and to hold all other love in subordination; or what seems to be the same thing, to love God supremely, to exercise and measure all other love with a reference to that supreme and perfect standard of measurement. It is to feel the full power of that divine attraction, which silently draws us from the circumference to the center; it is to experience the restoration of the broken bond of union with the Divine Mind; to be lost, as it were, in the great ocean of the infinite fulness. In other words, our happiness is to renounce ourselves entirely, in order that God, in whom alone is all goodness, may resume that throne in the heart, from which He has been banished. And accordingly we love ourselves and our own happiness, even our frail bodies as well as our immortal souls, because God made us; because He takes care of us and desires our happiness, and recognizes the propriety of our exercising the same desire; because He has designed us, under the operations of his grace, to be mirrors of his own image and the temples of the Holy Ghost; and not because we have a desire, or could for a moment have a desire, a purpose, or a love adverse to, or even not coincident with his. So that all subordinate love of his creatures, whether it have relation to ourselves or others may truly and properly resolve itself into the love of God.