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, June 30, 2014

Faith and Genuine Christian Expereince

There may have been remarkable experiences without much faith; experiences characterized by visions and by strong emotions, and which have been the subjects of much attention and conversation; but there has not been, and there cannot be, a sound and thorough scriptural experience, one which will truly renovate the soul and will carry a person victoriously through the trials and labors of life, without strong faith as its basis. So that it can be truly said of all those eminent men in different countries and different ages of the world, who have done most and suffered most for the cause of true religion, like the worthies mentioned in the eleventh chapter of Hebrews, that they lived and died in faith. They had other eminent Christian graces, it is true, but it was strong faith, which gave a character to their lives and actions.

The Life of Faith (1852) Part 1, Chapter 5.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

All Christian Graces Depend Upon Faith

If... we should undertake to enter into an examination of the nature and operations of the principle of LOVE, we could not fail to see, that it requires the antecedent existence of faith in the beloved object as the basis and the condition of its own existence. In other words, there cannot be love without faith going before. Take almost any other Christian grace, such as the spirit of submission, of gratitude, or of prayer, and it will be found that they sustain intimate relations with other states of the mind, particularly with faith; and that in reality they cannot possibly exist without faith. When they are closely examined, all the Christian graces, however divergent and remote they may now appear, will be found to converge to one centre, and to rest upon one foundation. A remark, which furnishes a reason for the remarkable and important saying of the Scriptures, that “without faith it is impossible to please God.”

The Life of Faith (1852) Part 1, Chapter 5.

Friday, June 27, 2014

The Importance of Faith in the Scriptural History

In reading the life of Mr. John Berridge, a worthy minister of the English Episcopal Church, who had long preached the doctrine of works as the great source of hope and safety, I noticed, that his biographer, in connection with the fact of his having made some anxious inquiries and having experienced certain peculiar exercises of mind, remarks, that he “saw the rock, upon which he had been splitting for nearly thirty years.” And the writer adds, “immediately he began to think on the words faith and believe; and looking into his Concordance, he found them inserted in many successive columns. This surprised him to a great degree; and he instantly formed the resolution to preach Jesus Christ, and salvation by faith.”

We introduce this short extract, chiefly on account of its reference to the Concordance. If any person will take the trouble to look into the Concordance, and carefully notice the terms FAITH and BELIEVE, and others related to them either by meaning or etymology, he will see at once the large space, which they occupy. And by referring to the passages, as they stand in the Bible, he cannot fail to be deeply struck with the important position, which Faith holds in scriptural history and in theology. He will find, that faith is not only the beginning of the religious life, but is its great support from beginning to end; that by faith we are justified from the sins of the past; and that faith is equally necessary to keep us from sin in time to come. Looking at the subject, therefore, in the light of the Scriptures, we feel abundantly justified in what has been said, viz.: that faith is the great foundation of the religious life.

The Life of Faith (1852) Part 1, Chapter 5.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Faith is the Basis of All Knowledge

It is a singular fact, and one which has not been often noticed, that faith in God is not only the foundation of all religion, but is also the foundation of all knowledge. If we do not believe in the credibility of those powers, which God has given us, and consequently if we do not believe in the goodness and truth of God as the author of those powers, we cannot believe in any thing. All knowledge, on this supposition, necessarily fails, because it is destitute of an adequate basis. But while we assert, that there can be no well established knowledge without faith in God, we can assert with still greater confidence, that there can be no religion without it. Religion, without faith in God as its basis, is an impossibility. At the same time in taking the position, that Faith is, and must be the foundation of religion, we ask as religious men, no more for religion, than philosophers ask, and are obliged to ask, for philosophy.

The Life of Faith (1852), Part 1, Chapter 5.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Love and God's Infinity

Love, by which we mean pure or holy love, cannot by any possibility exist in any but an Infinite Being, or in those beings who rest on the Infinite. Plants and flowers might as well grow upon rocks where there is no earth, as pure love grow out of the finite; — we mean the finite, standing alone and sustained by its own strength. Such is the nature of this love, transcending as it does all limited interests, that it claims a natural and necessary affinity with the unlimited. All other love is bounded. Pure love knows no bounds  It does not ask whether the object of its regard is good or evil, a friend or an enemy. It transcends the restrictions, which are multiplied and piled up one upon another of human passion and interest, and gives its affections without reward. Strong in its own divinity, it "casts out fear."  Fear, which has no place in the infinite, is the necessary law of inferiority, except where the weak are united with the strong. All beings that are not God and are not united with God, in neither being the source of things nor being united with that great and benevolent source, are condemned to selfishness by their position, and are condemned to weakness and sorrow, to fear and shame, by their selfishness. Having nothing else to rest upon, their thoughts and their love turn to themselves. Pure love, which rejects all such restrictions, they have not and cannot have. But God's love, growing out of and constituting, or at least perfecting, a nature which is infinite and which in being infinite knows no partial interests and has no fear, reaches all, encircles all, blesses all.

— adapted from A Treatise on Divine Union (1851) Part 4, Chapter 2.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

There Can Be No God Without Love

God, considered as the Infinite, or I AM, sustains a fixed and necessary relation to everything which is. His relation to space is realized and fulfilled in his omnipresence. His relation to duration finds its expression and fulfillment in his eternity. His relation, as an infinite and perfect being to objects of knowledge, is realized and fulfilled in his omniscience. His relation to percipient and sentient beings, to all beings that are susceptible of happiness, is corresponded to and completed by his love; or, what is the same thing, by his desire of their happiness. So that it may be said, that he is present to and envelopes time by his eternity, space by his omnipresence, all things knowable by his omniscience, and all percipient and sentient existences by his LOVE. And as there can be no God without eternity, no God without omniscience and omnipresence, so, still more truly and emphatically, there can be no God without love. Take  away  love, and then, in distinction from the infinity of his natural existence, nothing which constitutes God, remains; nothing to give birth to happy existences, nothing to protect them and to secure their happiness, nothing to give them confidence, nothing lovely, and nothing to be loved. Take away love from the divine nature, and what would remain would be either an infinite indifferent being, or an infinite Satan.

A Treatise on Divine Union (1851) Part 4, Chapter 2.

Monday, June 23, 2014

God Is Love

We must understand what God's love is, before we can understand the union of God and man in love. And in doing this our attention is first arrested by the declaration of the Scriptures, — a declaration which is worthy of the particular notice of Christians,— that "God is love." It would be difficult to find a parallel form of expression. It is not anywhere said of God, so far as we recollect, that he is omniscience, or that he is omnipresence. It is true that the attributes of omniscience and omnipresence are essential to him as an infinite existence; but it should always be remembered that God is something more than infinity. There must be something beyond and above infinity, which shall baptize it with the character of goodness; otherwise there is no God. "God is Love."

God is love by essence.  That is to say, love is forever and unchangeably essential to his existence  as God. He was not at first, as some may be led to suppose, a mere percipient being, having all knowledge, who formed conjecturally an idea of love, came to the conclusion that it was a good and desirable thing, and then added it as an accessory to his original existence. On the contrary, God always had a heart; always had a true and effective sensibility, operating, by an eternal law of action, in the line of right and goodness. And if, by universal consent, the heart takes the precedence of the head, — if no greatness of intellect can elevate and save a man who has evil and depraved affections, — then God cannot be what he is, the infinitely desirable and infinitely good, without love as the central and leading element, the basis and the completion of his character.

— adapted from A Treatise on Divine Union (1851) Part 4, Chapter 2.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

The Little Crosses

As a general thing, it may be expected that all Christians will find themselves able to bear the GREAT CROSSES of life, because they come with observation; they attract notice by their very magnitude; and by putting the soul on its guard, give it strength to meet them. But happy, thrice happy is he, who can bear the LITTLE CROSSES, which ever lie in wait, and which attack us secretly and without giving warning, like a thief in the night.

Religious Maxims (1846) LXXI.

Friday, June 20, 2014

The Shield of Faith

In believing in the possibility of present sanctification, and in combining with this belief the determination to attain to it, we realize in ourselves the possession of that shield of faith mentioned in the Scriptures, by means of which we are enabled to quench the fiery darts of the adversary.  On the contrary, in rejecting this belief, and in acting in accordance with this rejection, we throw away our shield; and it is no more than reasonable to expect that we shall be pierced through and through with the enemy's weapons.

Religious Maxims (1846) LXX.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Suffering as the Test of Love

It is a great practical principle in the religious life, that a state of suffering furnishes the test of love.  When God is pleased to bestow his favors upon us, when his blessings are repeated every hour, how can we tell whether we love him for what he is  or for what he  gives? But when, in seasons of deep and varied afflictions, our heart still clings to him as our only hope and only joy, we may well say, "Thou knowest all things. Thou knowest that I love thee."

Religious Maxims (1846) LXIX.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The Opposites of Humility

It  will help us to ascertain whether we are truly humble, if we inquire whether we are free from the opposites of humility. The opposites of a humble state of mind, (or at least those things which sustain a divergent and antagonist relation,) are impatience, uneasiness, a feeling that something and perhaps much depends on ourselves, undue sensitiveness to the praise and the reproofs of men, and censoriousness. No man should account himself truly humbled, who is the subject of these unhappy states of mind.

Religious Maxims (1846) LXVIII.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Danger of Spiritual Pride

If we fail on suitable occasions to declare what God has done for our souls, we shall be likely to offend our heavenly Father. But on the other hand, if we make such declarations, Satan will be likely to be present and tempt us to spiritual pride. Happy is the man, who can relate and extol God's gracious dealings with him, with such meekness and humility, as to furnish no entrance to evil.

Religious Maxims (1846) LXVII.

Monday, June 16, 2014

The Measurement of Love

Go, count the sands that form the earth,
The drops that make the mighty sea;
Go, count the stars of heavenly birth,
And tell me what their numbers be,
And thou shalt know LOVE'S mystery;

No measurement hath yet been found,
No lines or numbers that can keep
The sum of its eternal round,
The plummet of its endless deep,
Or heights, to which its glories sweep.

Yes, measure LOVE, when thou canst tell
The lands where seraphs have not trod,
The heights of heaven, the depths of hell,
And lay thy finite measuring-rod
On the infinitude of God.

Christ in the Soul (1872) XIII.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

The Life Power of the Blood

He  dies, and from His bleeding veins,
The fountain of His life-blood drains
To cleanse the stains of sins;
And nothing less than that dear tide,
Which flow'd from Jesus' bleeding side,
Can make us pure within.

But underneath that fountain lies
A fount, unseen by outward eyes,
Eternal from above;
Of which the blood is but the sign,
Which gives that blood its power divine;
The deeper fount of LOVE.

LOVE flows beneath the purple flood;
LOVE is the life-power of the blood;
LOVE, offering to be slain;
'T is LOVE that to thy heart applies
The emblem of its sacrifice;
And washes out thy stain.

And wouldst thou learn the heavenly art,
To bear about a holy heart,
Let  kindred love be thine;
The same dear love, which ever flows,
In tears and blood, for others' woes,
And makes thy life divine.

Christ in the Soul (1872) XII.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Thou Giver of the Rising Light

Thou Giver of the rising light,
Thou Author of the morning ray,
At whose command the shades of night
Are changed to bright and sudden day;
Thou too canst rend the clouded heart,
Enveloped in the shades of sin;
And let the light, that dwelt apart,
The glory and the gladness in.

Oh God, our Father and our Friend,
Dark is the cloud, that wraps us now;
But not in vain our prayers ascend,
Nor hopeless at thy feet we bow.
'T is in the dark, distressing hour,
That thou dost hear thy people's cry;
And come and clothe them in thy power,
And hide them in thy majesty.

American Cottage Life (1850).

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Christ, Our Refuge

Dark is the watery way
Of life's tempestuous sea:
And none, Oh Christ, are safe, but they
Who put their trust in Thee,

Loud is the stormy wind;
The seamen are afraid;
But those shall strength and mercy find,
Whose souls on Christ are stayed.

The winds they do not fear,
Nor dread the thunder's noise;
The Savior's cheering voice they hear,
And evermore rejoice.

It  is our Savior's skill,
Our Savior's arm of might,
Which guides the tossing ship at will,
And puts our fears to flight.

Praise  to the Pilot's power,
Praise to the Pilot's hand,
That faithful most in danger's hour,
Shall bring us safe to land.

American Cottage Life (1850).

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Secret Sign

They know Him by the secret sign,
Which to their souls is given;
'T is written there in light divine,
With characters from heaven.

They may not tell it; but 'tis there,
Forever deep impressed;
Nor grief, nor pain, nor sharp despair,
Shall rend it from their breast.

The child the parent's accent knows,
The accents ever dear;
Unlike the treacherous voice of foes,
That fills his heart with fear.

He runs to meet it; and it falls
In blessings and in joys;
And thus wh'ene'er the Savior calls,
His people know his voice.

They know him by the secret sign,
Which to their souls is given;
'T is written there in light divine,
With characters from heaven.

American Cottage Life (1850).

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

A Desire for the Good of All that Exists

We have already said that love necessarily has its object. The object of pure love (and we regard this as an important remark) is existence;  all percipient and sentient existence whatever. So that love, in distinction from every appearance and modification of affection which is not true or pure love, may be defined to be a desire for the good or happiness of everything which exists. And, in accordance with this view, everything which has a being, from the highest to the lowest, whatever its position, whatever its character, the whole infinity of percipient and sentient existence, simply because it has such an existence, is the appropriate object of pure love.

This is a great truth, and one which, it must be admitted, is difficult to be realized by those who have not an instinct of perception and of affirmation in their own purified hearts. Those who are the subjects of this exalted feeling sincerely desire the happiness of all those, whoever or whatever they may be, who are capable of enjoying happiness while, at the same time, it may be so, that they disapprove and perhaps even hate their character; and, accordingly, they love the evil as well as the good, sinners as well as saints.

We  have a striking illustration of the nature of pure love in the case of the Savior. He loved sinners. "He came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." It was not for angels, but for erring men, that he  died. He bowed his head upon the cross for those that persecuted him, reviled him, slew him. He loved men, not because they were good, for such they were not, and certainly not because they were evil, because evil can never be the foundation of love, but because they were existences, — percipient and moral existences. He  saw them created with the elements of an eternal being, but destitute, in their fallen state, of those attributes which would make that being a happy one. He saw them destitute of truth which they might possess, of holiness to which they were strangers, the enemies of God when they might be his friends, the heirs of hell when they might be the heirs of heaven. He loved them, therefore, not because they were good, but because they had a sentient, and especially because they had a moral, existence. It was their existence and not their merit; it was what they were capable of being, and not what they were, which brought him down from heaven.

— edited and adapted from A Treatise on Divine Union (1851) Part 4, Chapter 1.

Monday, June 9, 2014

God's Life in Humanity

From God all things come. To God, as the universal originator and governor, all things are in subjection. In ascertaining what God is, we necessarily ascertain the position and responsibilities of those beings that come from God, and are dependent on him. The life of his moral creatures, so far as it is a right and true life, is a reproduction, in a finite form, of the elements of his own life. "God created man in his own image. In the image of God created he him." (Genesis 1:27.) The Savior, in speaking of himself, in his incarnate state, says, "I am in the Father, and the Father in me." (John 13:11.) God, in carrying out and perfecting the great idea of a moral creation, subjects the infinity of his being to the limitations of humanity, and reproduces himself in the human soul. So that man's life may truly be described, as God's life in humanity.

Nor, in the strict sense of the terms, can any­ thing but the DIVINE LIFE, or the life of God in the soul, be called life. Those who have gone astray from God, just so far as they have lost the divine life, and have sunk into the natural life, are dead. Hence, the expressions of the apostle: — "And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins." (Ephesians 2:1.) The eternal vitality, the breath from the Infinite, the life of God in the soul, ceases to be in them. And being dead, by the absence of God as an indwelling principle, they must be recreated, or born again, by his restoration. It is not enough, that provision has been made, in the death of Christ, for man's forgiveness. Forgiveness, it is true, has its appropriate work. It cancels the iniquity of the past; but this is not all that is necessary. It is not without reason, that the learned Schlegel commences his profound work on the philosophy of history by saying, that "the most important subject, and the first problem of philosophy, is the restoration in man of the lost image of God." The immortal nature must be made anew, must be re-constituted, if we may so express it, on the principle of life linked with life, of the created sustained in the uncreated, in the bonds of divine union.

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

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Oh, Send One Ray Into My Sightless Ball

Oh, send one ray into my sightless ball,
Transmit one beam into my darkened heart!
On thee, Almighty God, on thee I call,
Incline thy listening ear, thine aid impart!
In vain the natural sun his beams doth yield,
In vain the moon illumes the fields of air;
The eye-sight of my soul is quenched and sealed,
And what is other light if shades are there?
Beyond the sun and moon I lift my gaze,
Where round thy throne a purer light is spread,
Where seraphs fill their urns from that bright blaze,
And angels' souls with holy fires are fed.
Oh, send from that pure fount one quickening ray,
And change these inward shades to bright and glorious day!

A Treatise on Divine Union (1851) Part 3, Chapter 5.

Friday, June 6, 2014

God Is the One True Source of Knowledge

There is and can be but one true source of knowledge. Man, who possesses only what is given him, is unable to originate knowledge from himself. He can have no true knowledge, no true wisdom, but that which comes from a divine source. The great Author of his powers, it is true, has given him instruments of perception, comparison, and reasoning, with which he can apply to the original fountain or ocean of truth, which exists in God himself. Through these instruments knowledge is conveyed from the source to the recipient. And it is not more true that the helpless infant derives its nourishment from the bosom of its mother, than that the soul, which is in full union with God, receives the nutriment of knowledge from God. All that such an one has to do, in securing this result, is to pray that God will direct the instruments he has made; — believing that he will do so in behalf of the souls who have given themselves fully to him, and who have faith. God will not do this for the soul which has not laid itself upon his altar. Give thyself to God, therefore, without reserve, and in the exercise of a childlike confidence, and he, who has promised to teach men, will not fail to impart true wisdom.

It is in this state of things,— the state in which man is united with God in wisdom,— that we find the truth of that interesting passage of Scripture, "The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him, and he will show them his covenants." [Ps. 24:14] No longer a God afar off; he assumes a  position of friendship and intimacy, and converses with them, as it were, face to face. By secret intimations, which are not the less true for being silent, he explains the doctrines of righteousness, and shows the signs of his coming.

And, we may properly add, it is in this state of things that we find one great ground of encouragement and hope. Knowledge is power even on human principles, and when it is infused more or less with human error. What, then, shall be the power of God's people, when it shall be said of them, in the language of the prophets and of the Saviour, "And they shall all be taught of God" [John 6: 25.] "I will give you a mouth and wisdom," says the Saviour in another place, "which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor  resist." [Luke 21: 15.]  True it is that the voice of mere human wisdom, when assuming an adverse position, has but little power against the voice of God speaking from a holy heart. And when the heart of the church shall become holy, so that the voice of the church shall be synonymous with a declaration from the God of the church, then shall the deaf hear and the unbelieving be convinced.

A Treatise on Divine Union (1851) Part 3, Chapter 5.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

God Will Help Us to Know Only What We Need to Know

The union of God and man in knowledge implies the fact of an unity or oneness in the object of knowledge. That is to say, the object must be not one of our own choice, but of God's choice. And it may be added, here, that the object which God chooses and presents to the human mind for its consideration, is that object, whatever it may be, which entirely harmonizes with the existing state of things. The facts and relations of things are so ordered under the divine administration, that at each successive moment some things are more important to be known, and more appropriate to be known than anything else. God, as the true revealer of what now is and of what is to be hereafter, will help us to know only what he thinks ought to be known. He will not help us in the knowledge of those things which, considered as the objects of knowledge, may be regarded as inconsistent with the proprieties and wants of the present time and place, and of the existing situation of things. He will not help us in the knowledge of those things which, without a regard to the appropriateness of what now is, are sought merely to gratify a selfish curiosity. In all such inquiries, where we selfishly choose our own object instead of adopting and receiving the object which God presents, the human and divine mind are out of harmony.

On the contrary, when we seek to know only what God would have us know, which is always done when our minds perfectly harmonize with the intimations of Providence, then the object of knowledge becomes one and the same to him who imparts knowledge and to him who receives it; and God and man are in union.

And this view, it may be properly added, is the more interesting and the more practically important, because it so fully recognizes God as the judge of what is proper or not proper to be known. Sovereign here as in other things, he not only retains the right and the power of communicating knowledge, but of communicating what, in his own judgment, he sees to be best. It is obviously not possible for him to communicate all knowledge to a limited mind, that can receive it only in parts. Adjusting, therefore. what he imparts not only to the capacity of the recipient but to the attendant circumstances, he gives here a little and there a little: casting brightness around the skirts of the clouds which overhang us, mingling light with darkness and darkness with light, so that those who walk in some things in the day of open vision, may still be said in other things to walk in "the night of faith."

— adapted from A Treatise on Divine Union (1851) Part 3, Chapter 5.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

To Seek the Will of God

"My judgment," says the Savior, "is just, because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me." John 6:30.

To  seek the will of our heavenly Father, is to act, in all cases of action, without party prejudices, without private interests, without the violence of passion; but always with a sincere regard to the divine purposes. In this state of mind, which is most suitable for the constant presence and operations of the Holy Spirit, we may hope to be guided into the truth. It would be difficult to describe how easily and beautifully the light of true knowledge enters into the mind of one who is thus free from any influences except such as come from a regard to the will of God. We cannot then be easily separate from the truth, because we harmonize, in such an important respect, with a mind that lives in the truth.

A Treatise on Divine Union (1851) Part 3, Chapter 5.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

God's Truth, Continually Unfolding

In the teachings of the Savior and his followers, uttered on various occasions, we have many important truths, not fully understood at the time when uttered, and perhaps not fully understood now, but which will be comprehended when lighted up by Providence, and when seen in the renewed and adequate preparation of the human mind. One of the great announcements to which we refer, is the truth of universal brotherhood, involving the cessation of war, and the restoration of universal peace.  This is a truth which may be said to be written in  letters of light on the pages of the Gospel; but the human mind, being thrown out of its true position by sin, has not been able to receive it until very lately.  A century or more since, the doctrines of universal peace were proposed and illustrated in Europe, by Castel de St. Pierre, a learned French ecclesiastic; but were received with incredulity, and very much as if he were preaching a dream. They have been propounded again within a few years, and after the experience of an additional century of fighting and destruction. They now everywhere meet with a respectful hearing. It is the same in other instances. There are other practical truths, — truths originating in the divine mind, and flowing from God to man through the mind of Christ, which have received a new development, and which the providence of God is holding up for a new and general reception in the present age; — the religion of Christ in its simplicity, the reign of the Holy Ghost, the relation of temperance to happiness, the universality of civil freedom, the rights of moral and religious belief, universal education, and in every heart a living and triumphant holiness, modeled on that of the Savior.

God is moving on the troubled waters. It was thus in the beginning. There was a time when the beauty of nature was an idea, undeveloped and unrealized. Light existed in God, " but darkness was on the face of the deep." No sun was then, no star, no swelling and teeming earth. "The earth was without form and void;" but when the time came for the realization of the truth and beauty of the divine idea in material forms: then "the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters." The confusion of chaos stood rebuked; the light shone; the waters subsided to their place; the blooming earth appeared.

At this moment, at this eventful hour in the history of  eternal wisdom, the Spirit of the same creating God is secretly, but powerfully, moving on the troubled and chaotic ocean of humanity. The chaos, which is presented before us on every side, is wider, and deeper, and darker, than  that  of primitive nature, because it is the terrible chaos of moral rebellion. But here, too, the Spirit of God will be conqueror. He, who separated the contending elements of nature, and recombined them into forms of wisdom and loveliness, will not be baffled in his great  attempt to erect and consolidate "the  kingdom of God," out of the confusions of a fallen nature.

A Treatise on Divine Union (1851) Part 3, Chapter 4.

Monday, June 2, 2014

God's Knowledge is Revealed to us Moment by Moment

The creatures of God, however exalted they may be, are unable, from a want of mental capacity, to receive all the knowledge which God has. They can be the recipients of the divine knowledge only in part; and such is the constitution of created minds, that they receive the knowledge which they have, not simultaneously, but in successive periods of time, and generally in small portions. And thus every moment, always commissioned with its appropriate message, reveals something new; furnishing, as it passes by, a new channel of communication, a new opening between the divine mind and created minds. And in this way God is revealed to us, if we are in a situation to understand and receive him, moment by moment. He refreshes us with the daily and continual bread of knowledge.

Ordinarily this knowledge is particular, and has relation to our own persons, and our own affairs; but it always comes to us with the freshness of a new communication, because it is always modified by the circumstances of the existing moment. The bright or clouded sky of to-day is not the sky of yesterday. The man of to-day is not the same man, nor surrounded by the same influences, nor the subject of the same providences, as the man of yesterday. There are forms or modifications of knowledge, appropriate to the conditions of youth and age, of poverty and riches, of subjection and government, and of other conditions, which are modified by the changes of each passing hour. The knowledge, therefore, which is appropriate and necessary now, could not have been equally appropriate and necessary in any antecedent period. It comes, therefore, with the attribute of novelty; and as it is necessary in order to the fulfillment of duty, it is always acceptable and refreshing to the consecrated and pious soul.

A Treatise on Divine Union (1851) Part 3, Chapter 4.