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, September 5, 2015

Endued With Power From on High

Among the devotedly pious men, who came to this country from England about two hundred years since, was Richard Mather, a preacher of the Gospel. With his wife and children, and many other praying people he sailed from Bristol, in England, on the twenty-third of May, 1635. With him was another preacher by the name of Maud. Mather kept a journal. “The twenty-fourth," he says in his journal, "being the Lord's day, the wind was strong in the morning, and the ship danced, and many of our women and some children were not well, but sea-sick, and mazy or light in their heads, and could scarce stand or go without falling, unless they took hold of something to uphold them. This day Mr. Maud was exercised in the forenoon, and I in the afternoon." The language is passive; — implying that while they preached outward  to others, they themselves were preached to inwardly by the Holy Ghost; and that they could not safely give the word to others, unless it was first given to themselves.

This form of language is used throughout the book. In reference to the second Sabbath on shipboard, he says, " It being the Lord's day, there could be no going out that day. I was exercised in the forenoon, and Mr. Maud in the afternoon." And so everywhere, when he had occasion to speak of his preaching. He had been inwardly taught in such a manner, that he could have no idea of good and effectual preaching, except so far as the preacher was himself first inwardly exercised;  that is to say, taught by an inward and divine inspiration. And I find this sentiment everywhere embodied in the language and the history of other holy men, who, at the same period, took their lives in their hands, and settled in the wilderness. Their strength was not in themselves. Their lives, their works, are an evidence. What but a God, indwelling in the soul, and  “exercising them," as they expressed it, in the center of their being, could have inspired the adventurous thoughts in the minds of those praying pilgrims, and have given strength to their mighty purpose?

The most successful and favored periods in the history of all denominations of Christians, will illustrate and confirm these views.

It is such preaching, we doubt not, which is destined more and more to characterize the latter days. As men are gradually brought into a closer alliance with God, as with their own consent they yield themselves to be watered from the everlasting fountain, the issues from their souls will be life to others, because they will have life in themselves. As the life which they have in themselves is life from God, it is light as well as life; that is to say, it is enlightenment, or truth. The true life always expresses the truth. The truth is written upon it, just as a falsehood is written upon a false life; — and, being written there, it is read and known of all men. The man who has the true life in him, harmonizes with providence, with God, and with all true and good things. Not only his words but his actions, are truths. Not only his daily talking of God and of divine things is a sermon, but his daily walking with God is equally a sermon. He is a preacher by divine right; "teaching like one having authority, and not as the Scribes," — not going before he is sent but tarrying at Jerusalem, like the primitive disciples, until he is “endued with power from on high." [Luke 24:49]

— edited from A Treatise on Divine Union (1851) Part 7, Chapter 4.

No comments:

Post a Comment