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 26, 2015

The Bible's Teachings on Marriage and Family

The language of the Savior is this:

"The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning, made them male and female, and said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What, therefore, God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

"They said unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away? He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts, suffered you to put away your wives; but from the beginning it was not so." [Matt 19:3]

The form of the original institution, established in infinite wisdom, was not only that of correspondent spirits, of soul formed and mated to soul, but that of permanent as well as perfect union. Those facts of mental and providential correspondence, which led to the union in the first instance, necessarily involved and established its permanency. Various expressions in the New Testament conform to and strengthen these views. Everywhere are denunciations uttered against the violation of this bond of the heart. Everywhere are encouragements uttered to the preservation of its purity, and the increase of its strength. "Husbands," says the apostle Paul, "love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it." [Eph 5:25] These are remarkable expressions. Christ's love is perfect. Christ’s love never changes. The expressions of the apostle, therefore, harmonize well with the declaration of the Savior, that in the beginning, the husband and wife were not allowed to be separated; that the union, when made in the truth, and as it ought to be, is of God, and that no human power has authority to rend it asunder.

Without quoting any further from the Scriptures, we will only notice the fact, that God very frequently illustrates the strength of the love which is due to him, by references to conjugal love. He speaks of his people as espoused to him. He repeatedly calls himself their husband. Speaking, for instance, of the rebellious Israelites, he says, in a certain place, "they brake my covenant, although I was an husband unto, them." [Jeremiah 31:32] And he compares their unholy wanderings from him to the  conduct and the crime of a wife, who violates the marriage obligation. Such illustrations and references, if they do nothing more, may properly be regarded as showing the estimation which our heavenly Father places upon conjugal love. If they do not directly assert as much, they certainly seem to imply, that in a truly holy and perfect state of things, husbands and wives would love each other with something of that sacredness and purity of affection with which God himself is loved.

In other cases, he illustrates the relation he sustains to his creatures, by referring to the constitution of the family as it is presented to our notice in other respects. "A  son," he says, in a certain place, "honoreth his father, and a servant his master. If I then be a father, where is mine honor?” And again it is said in another place, "As a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him." And it is thus, in a multitude of instances, that the family illustrates the relations of  God to man, and of man to God. And it is not surprising that references and illustrations of this kind should be so frequent. The family embodies the highest forms of truth, as well as of beauty.

It is there that we see justice, which, standing alone, would smite and destroy, tempered with mercy.  It is there that we see filial love sustained and heightened by reverence. It is there, especially, that we find illustrations of the higher truths of religious experience. Where else do we find so fully exemplified the lesson of the nature and laws of pure love, as we find it in the family? The love which exists in the family, — the love which flows between those who, in different persons, constitute the unity of its head, — the love which flows from the parents to the children, and reciprocally from the children to the parents, — is so far divested of selfishness, even in the present injured and fallen state of things, as to give some idea, faint though it may be, of the pure love of a better world. And, in the true or holy family, that is to say, in the family where hearts are first filled with the love of God and then of each other, we may be said to have the realization of heaven, as well as the idea of it.

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

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