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, October 1, 2014

The Immutability of God's Will

The immutability of God's will presents a strong contrast with the mutability of the creature's will. Man's will, (we speak now of the natural man, or the man out of God,) is changeable. By separating himself from God, he took his will, which is hardly less than another name for himself, out of God's keeping, and placed it in his own. But man out of God neither knows, nor can know, what is true, nor what is good, nor what is right, except relatively and imperfectly. The absolute truth, as well as the absolute good and the absolute right, is beyond his reach. His views are not only limited, but perverted. As he has cut himself off from the source of truth, the truth is not in him, except imperfectly and pervertedly; and he is floating loosely amid a sea of errors, which flows out from the falsity of his own inward position. H!s will, therefore, unnmoored as it is from the eternal foundations, is fixed to no object, except to himself; and as self, or the life of self, has no centre but in its own selfishness, it wanders about, attracted by every object which promises to feed its depraved appetite, and seeking a rest, which, in the rejection of the true rest, it is never destined to find.

Such is the changeableness of man's will in his unsanctified state. How different is all this from the true and unchangeable foundations of God; — and how different the condition of the unholy man, who rests upon himself, from that of the man who is united with the infinite! On the strong rock of the perpetual identity of the divine will, and not on the uncertain quicksands of a will which is liable to change, the holy man rests his head in peace. No storms terrify him. Knowing, as he does, that to God there is no past and no future, his soul. combining the past and the future into one, may be said to be centered in the eternal present. To Sense, indeed, many things are new. To Faith, nothing is new. To Sense, many things are strange, unprecedented, terrifying. There are storms, diseases, wars, the sky in commotion, the earth heaving, nations destroyed.  But to Faith, whose eye penetrates beneath the surface, there is only what was designed to be; the development of a will, which, in being invariably true to mercy, wisdom, and justice, never changes from its own settled line of action, but is identical in its eternity. These present things, which occupy and perplex the senses, are the externalities which clothe the inward life. They may be described as the "veil of the temple," within which there is God without an image,  unseen by that external eye which can see only the form of things, but visible to that eye of Faith, which, beneath all outward forms, sees, and knows, and loves the Eternal Essence.

— edited from A Treatise on Divine Union (1851) Part 5, Chapter 2.

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