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.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Christlikeness: Attention to Time and Manner

Although the Savior was faithful and diligent in the work committed to his hands, he was not prematurely zealous and obtrusive. He realized, that every thing, when done in accordance with the will of his heavenly Father, (a will which can never be at variance with the highest rationality,) must necessarily have its right time and place. In repeated instances, when something was proposed to him to be done, he declined acting in the case, on the ground that the proper occasion of action had not yet arrived. "His hour had not yet come." He felt, that he must act in accordance with the will of his heavenly Father, not only in the thing to be done; but also in the TIME and MANNER of doing it. Although, considered as a mere man, he possessed powers of judgment vastly greater than fall to the lot of ordinary men, and enjoyed also the presence and guidance of the Holy Spirit "without measure;" he nevertheless, felt it to be consistent with the highest duty, to nourish his powers and virtues in retirement, and not to bear his message, important and urgent as it was, prematurely to the world.

"Of the three and thirty years," says a certain writer, "which our blessed Redeemer spent on earth, thirty were spent in the obscurity and abjection of a private and humble condition. Notwithstanding the zeal for the glory of his Father, and the salvation of men, which consumed his soul; notwithstanding the tide of disorder which overran the world, and the abomination of sin and scandal which pierced his heart, the eternal incarnate Wisdom was silent, was hidden, and so remained until the hour appointed by his Father had come; repulsing, even with apparent severity, the prayer of his mother according to the flesh, because it seemed to urge his anticipating that hour." [Interior Peace of Pere Lombez, p. 329.]

This trait in the Savior's character is, in a practical view, very important.  It is probably through a disregard, in part at least, of the course taken by the Savior, which has now been mentioned, that we find, in all denominations of Christians, melancholy instances of persons, who are young in the Christian life, or who are prompted by an undue confidence, exhibiting a disposition to enter prematurely, and sometimes violently, upon measures, which are at variance with the results of former experience and with the admonitions of ancient piety. All mistakes and erroneous proceedings of this kind are discountenanced by the example of our Savior, who quietly remained in solitude and silence, and was refreshed and strengthened with the interior dews of heavenly knowledge, till the great hour arrived, appointed in the wisdom of his heavenly Father, which called him forth to the ministry and the Cross.

— edited from The Interior or Hidden Life (1844) Part 2, Chapter 13.

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