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.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Engage in the Work of Human Redemption

It is a matter of gratitude, however obvious may be the delinquencies of Christians, that something of the true spirit of Christ still lives. This spirit has developed itself with increased truth and energy in more recent times. The remark is often made, and there seems to be a foundation for it, that the commencement of the present century was the commencement of a new and better series of ages. The closing years of the last century were signalized by the prevalence of infidelity, and by crime and violence, almost unexampled. In the extremity of those sufferings and sorrows, which were the natural result of their infidelity, men began to look to God, and to believe in him as alone able to give them help. An increase of faith naturally inspired love; and the new series of ages has been honorably distinguished by deeds of benevolence.

It is a great and cheering truth, that the progress of the church cannot be separated from the progress of humanity. And probably more has been done by Christians  for the elevation of the human race, during the last half century, than during any previous period of equal length, with the exception perhaps of the period denominated the apostolic age. Within the period of half a century how many benevolent institutions have been founded! How many missionaries have been sent  to heathen lands! What mighty changes and improvements have taken place in administrations and forms of government! What efforts have been made to enlighten the ignorant, to relieve the poor, the oppressed, the dumb, the blind, the insane! How changed is the public sentiment in relation to war! — and how widely disseminated, compared with the state of things at any former time, is the sentiment of universal brotherhood and good-will to man!

These and many other favorable results have been witnessed, chiefly through the influence and exertions of Christians, and by the mighty power of the religious sentiment. Christians have done much, not only because they desired to do much, but because they believed. They begin to understand, more than in former periods, the mighty results of simple trust in God. It is a sentiment found in the great poet of the ancient Romans, that faith, even in the ordinary concerns of life, is power, POSSUNT QUI POSSE  VIDENTUE. And if much, in accordance with this sentiment, can be done by the natural man with the aids and strength of natural faith, how much more can be done by those, who, in adding religious to natural faith, are aided by the promises and the power of God!

But what has been witnessed during the last half century is only the beginning. The mighty power of divine faith strengthens itself day by day. If to-day the man of faith can arrest the listening ear of warring nations, to-morrow he may expect to hear the last sound of their cannon. Every step that he takes gives him increased strength for effort and increased influence. If to-day he can plant his missionary stations in Africa, in China, in Syria, in the Sandwich Islands, to-morrow, by effort added to effort, and by faith added to faith, he may expect to see the foundations of the old idolatry totter, end its temples fall.

Engage, therefore, in the great work of man's redemption. Engage in it, not in human strength, not under the influence of human excitement, but in Christ's strength, under the leadings of the Holy Ghost, and in the fixedness and calmness of everlasting principle.

The day in which we live, if we regard either the intimations of prophecy or the signs of the times, is the day of the last struggle. Everything indicates that the powers of light and darkness are marshaling themselves for a contest greater than any which has preceded it. Humanity must rise now, or, we have reason to fear, that it will sink forever. Whatever may be the result of the struggle, there is but one course for those who would either seek or maintain their union with God, and that is, to possess the spirit of Christ, and, like him, to toil, to suffer, and to die if it be necessary, for the renovation of a fallen and suffering race.

— edited from A Treatise on Divine Union (1851) Part 7, Chapter 1.

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