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, March 16, 2015

Indulgence in Food and Drink

A person may become impure, as in point of fact many do become impure, by the inordinate indulgence of the appetite for food and drink. The Savior ate and drank without prejudice to his holiness, because he did so in fulfillment of the laws of nature. The truly devoted followers of the Savior will endeavor to imitate his example in this respect. "I felt no disposition," says the pious Brainerd, "to eat and drink for the sake of the pleasure of it; but only to support my nature, and to fit me for divine service." It may perhaps be properly added, that even heathenism, which thus utters a voice to teach and reprove an imperfect Christianity, can furnish us a lesson on this subject. It is said of Hannibal, the celebrated Carthaginian commander, that in the use of food and drink he consulted merely the real wants of the physical system, without any regard to the suggestions of sensual pleasure. In the language of the Roman historian, "CIBI POTIONISQUE DESIDERIO NATURALI, NON VOLUPTATE, MODUS FINITUS." This fact, among other striking traits of character, is obviously mentioned as a ground of commendation by the historian, who, heathen as he was, as well as the celebrated subject of his remarks, seems to have had a clear perception of the intentions of nature.

Happy would it be, if such views and practices more generally prevailed. But it is a painful truth that multitudes of persons, and some even of those who claim to be the Savior's followers, pollute themselves by taking food, not for the sake of the food and in the fulfillment of the intentions of nature, but for the sake of the pleasure which it gives; making the pleasure the ultimate and oftentimes the sole object. In other words, they eat and drink for their lust's sake. They do not eat and drink, because it is necessary to support nature; an important object, which, when properly kept in view, has a tendency to limit the quality and quantity of the articles taken, but in order that they may gratify their selfish propensities. Such are the persons, that are properly denominated impure;  and they feel themselves to be so. The superabundance of the flesh, nourished by meats and drinks stimulating in their nature, and inordinate in quantity, seems to spread a coat of its dark and unseemly accretion over the mind itself. The amount of impurity, which results from this source, is immense; and will abundantly account for the lamentations of many persons over their spiritual leanness.

The Interior or Hidden Life (1844) Part 2, Chapter 3.

1 comment:

  1. I see how this fits with Upham's over-all approach to the topic, but I believe this is completely wrong-headed. We can give thanks to God for the enjoyment of the things of life. We need not take such an anti-pleasure or anti-desire approach to things.