[Consider the laws of the affections.] Everything has its nature. Of course, everything has its laws, not excepting the passion or affection of love.
The original, or first center of love, is God. From this great and divine centre, it flows out and embodies itself in other centers. Love, as it exists in God, is like the ocean. The ocean is the great center of waters. It always retains its central position; but, at the same time, it diffuses itself everywhere; — forming other subordinate centers, in plains, and on mountain tops, in fountains and in lakes, from which issue a multitude of streams and rivulets, giving life and beauty. In like manner, the great ocean of love in the Godhead empties itself into subordinate centers, which are in harmony with itself, and which, in imitation, as it were, of the great center, and being, in fact, but continuations of the ebbings and flowings of the great central ocean, send out their waters of life to all within their sphere of movement.
The central love, then, in the sphere of human life, is in the family. From the family, where it is kept full from the great center in the Godhead, it flows out to the neighborhood, the state, and the world. If it is full and beneficent at the source, it will be full and beneficent in its issues; and not otherwise. Truth, like beauty, always harmonizes with itself. Truth, in the centre of the affections will always secure a right or true movement. He, who is not true to his father and mother, his wife and children, his brother and sister, being false at the center, is not, and cannot be, true to his neighborhood, his nation, and mankind. How is it possible for him to be true in his affections, when the truth of affection is not in him? And besides, if it were possible that his love, or rather the pretense of love, could be given, it would be hardly possible that it could b received. Both the state and humanity would instinctively reject an offering which is false at the core.
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.