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.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Being a True Child of God

The holy man's will, therefore, operating by its own law of action, and secured in the possession of a just moral freedom, moves in the superintendence and harmony of a higher, better, and unchangeable will.

Such an union with Providence not only requires simplicity of spirit, but it may be said to make a man simple. He thinks, as some ancient writer expresses it, “without thinking;"  that is to say, his thoughts, taken out of the order of his once selfish nature, are suggested by and fall in with the providential order; and they do it so easily and so beautifully, like the thoughts of angel natures, that another power seems to think in them and to give them life. He thinks without the labor of thinking, because his thoughts are given to him.

He feels, as the same writer expresses it, “without feeling."  That is to say, he feels without making a special effort to feel, and without having his thoughts particularly directed to his feelings. They arise spontaneously in connection with actions and events.

If his spirit has become one with God's spirit, then all he has to do is to feel as God feels; — which he does by a natural sympathy rather than by a constrained voluntary effort.  And so true is this, that God, operating by the gentle attractions, and by the ebbing and flowing of divine love, almost seems to take his place, and to feel for him.

He wills, it is further remarked by the writer just now referred to, “without willing.” That is to say, his will, freed from selfish impulses, and from the power of antecedent habits, operates so harmoniously with the Universal Will, that the two wills, not physically, but morally, are made one. And he wills as if another willed in his stead.

And is not a man who thus thinks without thinking, feels without feeling, and wills without willing, by the loss of his own thoughts, feelings, and volitions, in the thoughts, affections, and purposes of God, — is not such a man truly characterized by simplicity of spirit? It is sometimes said of the truly renovated and sanctified man, that he has become a child. And it may well be asked, who is or can be more a child than the man we have just described? The child thinks as his father thinks, feels as his father feels, wills as his father wills. And it is this, much more than his physical likeness, which makes him the true child. He is sometimes taunted with that which constitutes his true honor, namely, that he dares not think for himself, nor feel nor will for himself, but that he is just as his father is. The child of God, also, is just as his Father is. It is this, more than anything else, which makes him the true child. And as the Father establishes, or makes Providence, the child harmonizes with Providence; and it is much the same thing to say, that he is the child of Providence, and to say that he is the child of God. In either case, he is a child, and a child is SIMPLE; that is to say, he has that simplicity of spirit, which makes him think, feel, and will, as another thinks, feels, and wills. In his simplicity, not knowing which way to direct his steps, he goes as he is led. God leads him. From the hand of God's providence he receives his daily food. The same Providence which leads him, feeds him. All things and all events are his teachers, because God is in them. He BELIEVES, and God takes care of him.

— edited from A Treatise on Divine Union (1851) Part 6, Chapter 7.

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