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.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Christlikeness: The Power of the Holy Spirit

Another interesting trait in the history and character of the Savior is, that his inward life was constantly inspired and directed by the presence and operations of the Holy Ghost. From the beginning to the end of his earthly course, in all the various circumstances, in which he was placed, he was the subject of the special influences of divine grace. With a consciousness that all things were in his power, and with a prompt and consecrated readiness to act and to suffer continually, he felt at the same time entirely dependent; and it never occurred to him, that he had any thing, or that he could do any thing out of God. From God, operating by his Holy Spirit in his heart, he received all wisdom, all strength." Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I  have put my  Spirit upon him." Isa. 42:1. In accordance with this prophetic annunciation, John the Baptist is said to have seen the "Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him." In the interesting events, which occurred immediately after his Baptism, it is not said of him, that he went up into the wilderness of his own accord and of his own will, but that he was "full of the Holy Ghost, and was led by the Spirit." On one occasion when he went into the synagogue of Nazareth on the Sabbath day, he opened the Scriptures and read where it is written, "the Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the Gospel to the poor." "He whom God hath sent," says the Savior, referring to himself, "speaketh the words of God; for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him."

We need not multiply testimonies to this effect. We everywhere find evidence, that the life of the Savior, in the spiritual sense of the terms) was derived from the life of God. The branch does not more surely derive its existence and support from the vine, than the Savior derived his inward existence from God. Nor is the branch more closely united to the vine, than he was united to his heavenly Father. "I and my Father," he says, "are one." It  will be noticed, that in designating some of the traits of the Savior's character, we have not paid much attention to order of arrangement. Perhaps it was not necessary that we should. Nor do we profess to have exhausted the subject, and to have mentioned every possible trait of excellency, which his character presents. Hoping, however, that enough has been said to secure the favorable and prayerful interest of the reader, we leave it, important and attractive as it is, with a single remark further, viz., That the life of the Savior, whether considered inwardly or outwardly, was characterized by a proportionate fitness or symmetry in all its parts. It cannot be said of the Savior, as he existed in his humanity, that he was a mere combination of peculiarities; a man wonderful, not by the excellencies, but by the eccentricities of his nature; exciting attention merely by his strange unlikeness to every thing, which could properly be expected in a man. On the contrary, every thing was perfect and appropriate in its position, as well as perfect in its own nature. All the remarkable qualities, which as separate elements contributed to the constitution of his perfect character, were blended together in beautiful harmony. He stands before us complete in the adaptation of the parts of his character, as well as complete in the parts themselves; complete, therefore, as a whole and generically, as well as complete separately and specifically. As nothing can be added to the amount of his excellencies; so it does not appear, that any  thing  can be improved in their relative adjustment, in their beautiful and perfect proportion. This is the man Christ Jesus, who is set before us as an example; who "was tempted in all points as we are, and yet without sin."

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

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