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.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

The Eternal Nature of the Family Relation

We cannot deny our own conviction, founded upon such considerations as we have been able to give to the subject, that the family relation, as it is recognized and established in the New Testament, has its  foundation in the nature of things, and is eternal. This, it will be perceived, is a very different doctrine from that which makes it a mere positive institution, founded upon arbitrary command. It will be conceded, I suppose, that God never mends his own work. His conceptions, founded upon, or rather involving, the fact of a knowledge and comparison of all possibilities of being and action, are always perfect. And, consequently, when we ascertain what his views and plans of things are, we ascertain that which is unchangeable.

The idea of the family, namely, of duality in unity, reproducing itself in a third, which combines the image of both, is entitled, if we are correct in what has been said, to be regarded as a plan or arrangement of things which God has adopted as the best possible to be carried out and realized. And if so, it bears the stamp of divine perpetuity, as well as of divine wisdom.

Every being has its two-fold center; first, its center or home in God; second, its center or home relative to its sphere of life; — the one corresponding to and harmonizing with the other. Another principle is, that the life of holy or unfallen beings is, and must be, holy love. It is this principle, which brings their powers into movement, and constitutes them active beings. A third principle is, that love, in whatever beings it may exist, must have an object. Being a principle which does not turn back and rest upon itself, but which always has a tendency to move outward, it cannot exist without having an object somewhere. A fourth is, that love, by its very nature, has an attractive as well as an emanative power. That is to say, while it goes out to others, it attracts others to itself. A  fifth is, that the highest happiness of holy beings, drawn towards each other as they are by the attractions of love, will be secured, and can only be secured, when they find objects perfectly correspondent to themselves. And it is only when they have experienced this completed happiness, that they have found the true center of their created sphere of life, and are at home.

And, accordingly, it will be found, as the laws of intelligence and feeling obviously require this state of things, that to every spiritual existence in the universe, though differently constituted and sustained in their different spheres of life, there is, and must be, a correspondent spirit. The union of these two constitutes the highest happiness; a happiness which is never experienced in this degree, antecedent to such union. And this union, which thus results in the highest happiness, is indissoluble. The moment that such beings are unveiled to each other as perfect correspondences, the mutual attraction, at once strengthened to its highest intensity, becomes irresistible; and the bond which binds them, stronger and more beautiful than clasps of gold, can never be rent asunder.

In support of these views we might refer to other sources of argument, which are frequently adduced in discussions of this nature. An argument in support of the  permanency of the family, as it is constituted among Christian nations, is frequently drawn from the fact, that the sexes are equal, or nearly equal, in number. The subject has been frequently argued, also, in connection with the instinctive tendencies of our nature, both mental and physical, which so universally impel men to domestic associations. Such considerations go to confirm the views which have been taken; but they are so generally known, and so often referred to, that it is not necessary to dwell upon them here.

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

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