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, May 21, 2015

Holding God's Providences Dear

In the case of the truly holy man, God's providences are dear. In conforming to the law of Providence, he obeys the law which secures efficacy and application to every other law. The law of God, for instance, requires us to reprove sin in our neighbor; but unless we are guided in doing it by the providential law, we shall be likely to do more evil than good. If we reprove him without regard to time and place, — if we take an occasion to do it which will unnecessarily expose him to contempt and injury from others, while he is made the subject of our own reprehensions, — we shall obviously fail of our object.

The law of God requires us to do good, by speaking to impenitent persons on the subject of religion. But this requisition must be carried into effect, in connection with the law of Providence; in accordance with the appropriateness of time, place, the presence or absence of friends, and all other circumstances which are naturally or necessarily involved.

The law of God requires us to be benevolent; but benevolence, without regard Io the adjustments and claims of Providence, is not benevolence, but prodigality; in other words, it is unbelieving and unacceptable wastefulness. We are to consult God's will in the manner of giving, as much as in the fact of giving. His written law requires the fact; — his providential law indicates the manner. A failure in the latter, if it is intentional, vitiates and annuls the obedience of the former.

The law of God requires us to be submissive and acquiescent under those afflictions which from time to time come upon us. But submission to afflictions, without recognizing God's providential foresight and arrangements in sending them, is mere acquiescence in unavoidable events, and not acquiescence in God's wise and just agency; it is the submission of a brute animal, and not the submission of a Christian.

— edited from A Treatise on Divine Union (1851) Part 6, Chapter 8.

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