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.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Study God's Will in God's Providences

It is an important part of Christian duty to study God's will in his providences. We neither know how to act, nor how to feel, without a regard to them. This remark is sufficiently obvious in relation to action. It is hardly less obvious in relation to feeling.  For instance, a near friend dies, perhaps a  child, or brother. This is an event in Providence. The feeling appropriate to it is SORROW; but, when we consider that, being an event in Providence, it is an event ordered in divine wisdom, the appropriate feeling is not only sorrow, but sorrow mingled with acquiescence and patience. The law of Providence requires this modification of the feeling as strictly and as truly as the written law; so that we may lay it down as a principle, that the law of Providence must regulate, to a considerable extent, not only our outward acts, but our affections. It is Providence which places before us the objects we must love; and, what is more, it indicates the degree of our love, and the ways of its manifestation. And, on the other hand, the same Providence indicates to us the objects which should excite our disapprobation, and also the degree and manner of our disapprobation.

If we are in full harmony with Providence, we walk in all things humbly and softly, neither too slow nor too fast. The light which is imparted to us, is given moment by moment. And it is the true light, if our souls are so far renovated into the nature of Christ as to be in a disposition to receive it. It teaches us, not only to work FOR God, but, what is hardly less important, to work WITH God; — that is to say, in harmony with his own wise and benevolent plans.

Again, in acting in accordance with Providence, we do good without doing evil. No matter how desirable a thing may appear to be to us, if the law of Providence stands in our way, it cannot be done. There is, in such a case, what is called a moral, in distinction from a physical, impossibility, because the thing cannot be done without violating other obligations. Therefore, we are to do the good which we are called to do; in other words, we are to do the good which Providence allows and requires us to do; and then, and then only, we do good without doing evil. It is desirable that those who aim at the highest results in religion, should keep this in mind.

— edited from A Treatise on Divine Union (1851) Part 6, Chapter 2.

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