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, September 22, 2015

Mutual Love as the Basis of Marriage and Family

Happiness must be the result of a divinely ordered and perfect constitution of things. It is true, as we have had frequent occasion to say, that love is, and must be, the life;  that is to say, the central and moving principle of such a divine constitution. But love is not necessarily free from sorrow; — although it must be admitted, that true happiness cannot exist without love. The love, which good men have to erring and fallen sinners, is necessarily more or less mixed with grief. This being the case, the question naturally arises, — When can a truly holy or love being be said to be a happy being; — not only happy, but enjoying happiness in the highest degree?  This is a question, which it is obviously necessary to solve, in ascertaining the true constitution of an order of moral beings. That is to say, it is necessary to answer the question, — Under what circumstances can the highest happiness be secured to such an order of beings? And the answer, as it seems to us, is this. A moral being is happy in the highest degree, when it meets with another being, constituted on the same principles of holy love; and meets with it under such circumstances as to behold the unspeakable beauty of its own benevolent nature reflected back upon itself in the mirror of the other's loving heart. Seeing itself in another, and therefore, feeling another in itself, it not only recognizes but realizes, by the necessities of its nature, the eternal law of unity.

A love being, that is to say, a being, whose central principle of movement is holy love, cannot see its own love, because it is the nature of holy love to turn its eyes from itself, and to see the wants, and to seek the good, of another. But being unable to see itself in itself, when it sees and recognizes itself imaged forth in the bright heart and countenance of another, it seeks the company of such a being by a natural impulse, and rejoices in it "with joy unspeakable." In other words, the issues of perfect happiness are from the meetings and unions of true or pure love. It is not merely soul meeting soul; but the divine rushing into the arms of the divine. Stated in still other terms, the happiness of love consists, more than in anything else, in seeing the face of love. This is the philosophy, not more of the true joy of earth, than it is of the true joy of heaven.

If these views are correct, they are applicable to all moral beings They are applicable to man; — and with appropriate modifications which do not vitiate the principle at the bottom of them, they are applicable to angels, and to all other classes and orders of moral existences. There seems, then, to be a just and adequate foundation for the doctrine, of which we find some intimations and glimpses from time to time in experimental writers, that all holy beings have their correspondences. That is to say, they have other beings in the same rank of existence, who, in their physical, though purified and perfected, nature, in intellect and affections, and also in providential position, correspond to their own necessities, and which constitute, therefore, the completion or complement of their physical part, and of their perceptions and loves. In these different personalities, which are destined in their appropriate time to form a completed unity, there is the same central principle of movement or action, namely, holy love. Under the inspiration of this central power, they continually move from object to object, among the various objects and beings which are presented to them in their appropriate sphere of life; dispensing love to others, and receiving love in return; but, still, feeling that the wants of their inward being are not fully satisfied until their equal and mated spirit, the correspondence and complement of themselves, is revealed to them. Then, under the attractions of mutual love, which is wiser and stronger than mere arbitrary and positive law, they unite together; — and they do it under such circumstances that it is not possible to separate them. They thus fulfill the purposes of their Maker; and realize in time a marriage, which, in spirit and essence, is eternal. Made and mated to each other, their thoughts flow in the same channel; the pulsation of one heart is the pulsation of the other; in the fulfillment of the divine will they become acquainted with and enjoy the various works of God within the limits of their sphere of being; they have a common purpose, a common happiness, a common life.

— edited from A Treatise on Divine Union (1851) Part 7, Chapter 6.

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