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.

Monday, October 6, 2014

The Unchangeable Basis of Christian Joy

Holy joy, being founded in the perception of the character, attributes, and will of God, is not necessarily liable to changes. He, who rejoices in God to-day, having a correct view of his character and will, will never find good reason to do otherwise than rejoice in that character and will, in all coming time. And simply because God, in his character and his will, is always the same. In all afflictions and trials of whatever nature, there will still remain the basis of a serene and pure joy in the depths of the heart. But natural joy, being founded upon natural objects, which are frail, uncertain, and full of imperfection, necessarily partakes of the uncertainty and imperfect nature of its causes. And hence it is said in the portion of Scripture already referred to. "They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with JOY, [that is, with natural joy, as we are probably to understand it.] And these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation, fall away." So that holy or spiritual joy may be compared to the sun, which always shines with its pure and beautiful light, even when wrapped in clouds; but natural joy is like a meteor, gleaming for a moment and then extinguished; rekindled again after a time, but destined soon and suddenly to sink in still greater darkness. 

The Interior or Hidden Life (1844) Part 1, Chapter 15.

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