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, June 16, 2015

The Contention and Disorder of the World

There cannot be discordance between man's moral nature and God's providence, without great contention and disorder in the world. And in point of fact, the world is in the greatest confusion and strife, because the ordainment of God is not corresponded to by the wishes of the creature. With scarcely an exception, there is something left of that life of nature which produces divergence and conflict. Every one has his choice. To be a merchant, a prince, a commander of armies, a man of pleasure, a man of science, a mechanic, a farmer, a soldier, a teacher of youth, such are some of the preferences they evince. The object at which they aim is not always, and perhaps not generally, wrong. The fault consists in unwillingness to harmonize with the decisions of a higher power. All wish to decide for themselves; all estimate the good or the evil on the small scale of their own personality and interests; all have their choice. Who among them, in the mournful degeneracy of our fallen race, wishes to follow, or thinks beforehand of following, the choice of Providence?

The world is a map of situations, inscribed with lines of demarcation, diversified everywhere with discriminative colors, which indicate opportunity, adaptation, want, fulfillment, duty. In one place the poor are to be aided; in another place the ignorant are to be instructed; in another the sick are to be consoled and watched over. In one place is the demarcation of endurance; in another is the arena of action; in another is the platform of authority and eloquence. But who, in beholding any one of these various demarcations and the duties it suggests, goes to God and asks: — Am I the man whom eternal wisdom has selected for this mission? Resigning my own will, I lay myself upon the altar of sacrifice, not to be what I might choose to be, but to be what God may choose to have me to be. Send me, if thou wilt; but let me not go, or have a thought of going, without thine own authority.

— edited from A Treatise on Divine Union (1851) Part 6, Chapter 9.

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