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.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Marks of Perfect Love

The first mark of perfect love to God is an entire approbation of and delight in his character in all respects. In other words, approving and complacent emotions, without the least intermixture of doubt and dissatisfaction, arise in view of his power and justice, as well as of his goodness and mercy, so that we delight truly and continually in his whole character, and in all the exhibitions of his character, as they are actually made known to us in the Holy Scriptures or in any other way. The least want of trust and complacency in the divine character will necessarily be a vicious ingredient or element in the affection of love, which cannot fail to diffuse weakness and imperfection throughout.— This is one point, then, on which it is important to examine ourselves. If we find, that the character of God, as it presents itself to notice in all its varieties, appears to us exceedingly pure and lovely; if we contemplate it with a perfect conviction, that all its manifestations will be in accordance with truth, mercy, and righteousness, and with no other emotions in any respect, than those of entire complacency, then we have reason to think, that we have one of the marks or characteristics of perfection of love. Not, in all probability, the leading and decisive, but still an indispensable one.

A second mark of perfect love to God is the existence of a desire to promote his glory, which is the other higher and more decisive characteristic of this complex mental state, in such a degree, that we are not conscious of having any de­sire or will at variance with the will of God.

In other words, it is our sincere and constant desire to do and suffer in all things the will of God. When such is the case, when there is an entire and cordial acquiescence of our own in the will of God both to do and to suffer, we have the second mark, and we may add also, the most important and satisfactory one, that our love is perfect. The nature of the human mind is such, that we never can have an entire and cordial acquiescence in the will of God in all things, without an antecedent approval of and complacency in his character and administration.— Accordingly the second mark, viz, a will entirely accordant with and lost in the will of God, is of itself sufficient, inasmuch as it necessarily includes and embraces the first. And by this mark alone, as I suppose, we might know, whether our love is or is not perfect.

— edited from The Interior or Hidden Life (1844) Part 1, Chapter 17.

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