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.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Finding True Solitude

In order to keep the mind in that spiritual seclusion which is implied in being truly united with God, it is not necessary that we should quit our ordinary duties, and separate from our fellow-men. If the solitary places of forests and mountains are not interdicted, it is certain that they are not absolutely necessary. The man is in the true seclusion, the true spiritual retirement, who is shut up in the inclosures of Providence, with willingness and joy in being so. When we are in harmony with Providence, we are in harmony with God; and harmony with God implies all that seclusion from the world which is necessary. This is the true solitude. In its external forms it may be more or less.  It  may restrict us to the limits of a sick chamber; it may compress us within the walls of a  prison; it may lead us for a time to the most retired and lonely place of meditation and worship; or it may allow us, on the other hand, the widest range of business and intercourse, and mingle us with the largest multitudes of men. But, whether its lines are stricter or more  expanded, it is the true solitude, the place of retirement which God has chosen, the select and untrodden hermitage where the soul may find and delight itself with its Beloved.

— edited from A Treatise on Divine Union (1851) Part 6, Chapter 4.

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