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.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

The Personality of God

Within a few years no small number of writers of acknowledged learning and ability have greatly disturbed the traditional belief as well as the religious hopes and consolations of a large portion of the Christian world, by affirming and attempting to prove the impersonality of the Divine Being.

It cannot well be doubted, that the personality of God is one of the doctrines contained in the teachings of Christ. It is difficult to see how he could address God as his Father, and in terms implying the greatest veneration and love, without believing in the Personality of God.

When, in the trials and sorrows of the Cross, he prayed, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do;” and when in the final agony of his spirit he said, “my God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me,” it cannot well be supposed that he believed he was praying to an abstraction, or to a spiritual generalization, or a great undefined principle of life, instead of a percipient Being, who in the mental or spiritual sense had ears to hear, and a heart to feel. We cannot doubt, that the careful readers of the New Testament, in view of what is there said having a bearing upon the subject now before us, fully and earnestly accept the idea, as the only one which can be reasonably entertained, that Jesus believed in the divine personality. This wonderful Being [Christ]...  had a heart that worshiped. His intellectual powers, which are sometimes overshadowed and concealed by the manifestations of his great goodness, revealed and identified the object of his worship; and his loving heart, which added emotion to perception, accepted the revelation and yielded its homage. But affirm that God is not a personal being, only an underlying principle or causative force which permeates all existences and develops itself in all the forms of existence, without the intelligence and responsibility which are implied in personality and only by means of fixed and inexorable law, and from that moment it is intuitionally evident, that there is no revelation of an object of worship because no such object exists. And worship itself, which is so obviously one of the leading characteristics of the inward life of Christ, necessarily ceases, because there is no object to which it can attach itself.

— edited from Absolute Religion (1873) Chapter 2.

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