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, May 25, 2015

Turning From God

What is it to turn from God? 

In the earlier stages of experience, we are apt (and perhaps it is difficult to do otherwise) to assign to God a form and locality. The term from, in its original meaning, involves the idea of place; and regarding God as having form and locality, we easily adjust the expression to our conceptions, and speak with a degree of propriety, relatively to our view of things, of turning our thoughts and feelings from God. But when, in a more advanced state of experience, the idea of a local God expands itself into the idea of God  “un-local" and infinite, not only associating himself with all things as an attendant, but existing in all things as a living spirit; — what is meant by turning from God then?

In the experience of a truly sanctified mind, to turn from God, in one important sense at least, is to be out of harmony with his providences. For God, in being expanded, as it were, from the local and the finite to the un-local and infinite, can be found, as a God developing himself within the sphere of human knowledge, only in those things, acts and events, which constitute providences. To be out of harmony with these things, acts, and events, which God in his providence has seen fit to array around us, — that is to say, not to meet them in a humble, believing, and thankful spirit, — is to turn from God. And, on the other hand, to see in them the developments of God's presence, and of the divine will, and to accept that will with all the appropriate dispositions, is to turn in the opposite direction, and to be in union with him.

The man who is thus united with God in his providences, not only sees God in everything else, but he has God in himself. His soul is the "temple of the Holy Ghost." The God inward, or perhaps we should say the purified soul in the likeness of God, corresponds to the God outward. God manifests himself in his providences, sometimes in sending joy and sometimes in sending sorrow — and the life of Jesus in the heart, the God in miniature, if we may so express it, corresponds, with entire facility and perfection of movement, to the God that is manifested in the events and things around. And thus it is easy to understand, looking at the subject in these various points of view, and especially when we consider that God in his providences is the exact counterpart of God reestablished in the sanctified human heart, how man may be said, in the language of Scripture, "to walk" with his Maker, and that harmony with Providence is union with the Divinity.

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

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