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, October 6, 2015

The Family Will Be Sustained in Heaven

The social principle will be sustained in full exercise in heaven. It seems to us that the law of sociality, out of which spring families and societies, is universal and eternal. It would, perhaps, not be too much to say, that the perfect development of the social principle constitutes heaven; — and that, on the other hand, perfect isolation, which is the complete or perfected result of selfishness, constitutes hell. It is a great mistake, as the matter presents itself to our apprehension, to suppose that heaven is a solitary place; and much more that it is so spiritualized as to be a mere abstraction, — a place without locality, an existence without form, a form without beauty. Heaven has far more substance in it, than such shadowy conceptions would seem to imply. Heaven is not the extinction of existence, nor the mere shadow of existence, but a higher and purer state of existence; the growth and perfection of that, of which we have the obscure idea in the present life.

And, accordingly, reasoning from the identity of truth, which is the same above as it is below, we cannot hesitate in saying, that love is the life of heaven, as it is of earth. And such is the nature of love, that it must have objects there, as it has here. It must have its laws there, as it has here.  It  must have its great centre and also its subordinate centers there, as it has here. It must fulfill its own ends and grow up into society there, as it does here. To be in heaven, and not to be in the exercise of love, is a contradiction. Angels have their loves; — and heaven, if they were not allowed to exercise their benevolent affections there, and to group themselves together in bright clusters,  in accordance with the constitutive and eternal laws of moral beings, would cease to be heaven to them, and would become a place of sorrow. And it is one of the consolations which God allows us in the present state, in being permitted to believe that the wants of the heart here will be met and solaced hereafter; — that those suffering, but holy, ones, who have been smitten and robbed in the rights of the affections here, will find kindred spirits, (celestial stars, as it were, reflecting their own brightness,) who will mast and embrace them, and will wipe away their tears at the threshold of the New Jerusalem.

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

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