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.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

The Power of Love

The man, therefore, who is inspired and moved by the sentiments of pure or holy love, is a man of power. The maxim, that knowledge is power, is not more true than the proposition, that love is power. Limited in knowledge, and weak perhaps in social position, the man who loves is powerful by character. His mere opinions, divested as they necessarily are of the perversions of selfishness, inspire more confidence than the proofs all arguments of other men. His wish becomes a law, and has far more influence with those around him than the arts and compulsions, which a spirit less pure and generous would be likely to apply. Power is lodged in him, lives in him, moves in him, goes out from him. It costs him no effort. It is felt, almost without being exercised.

When he is smitten he turns the other cheek, and like the Saviour, forgives and loves his enemies. And, in doing so, he confers by the grandeur of his sentiments. He does good from the impulse of good, and without asking or seeking reward. And, in doing so, he places himself above the common level of humanity; disarms enmity, commands friendship, controls sensibility. The world stands abashed in his presence; and does him homage. He realizes, in the spiritual sense of its terms. which is far more important than the temporal, the fulfillment of the declaration of the Saviour, "Give, and it shall be given unto you. Good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom."

It may, undoubtedly, be admitted, that those who have not arrived at this high degree and purity of love nevertheless have influence. But their influence, whether we regard it as more or less considerable, is aggressive rather than attractive.  It compels, rather than draws. By arguments in support of revelation, by appeals addressed to their interest and fears, by social and prudential arrangements, they aim to bring others within the currents of religion, and coerce them, as it were, to come in. They are much at work, developing. plans and prudences of action, mining and countermining with the highest dexterity of moral and religious strategy, sometimes with considerable effect, and sometimes, like the apostle Peter and his associates, toiling all night and catching nothing.

But to the man whose heart is filled with divine love, his life is his strategy; his heart is his argument; and the Holy Ghost within him is his prudential consideration. The less his strategy, and the more his simplicity, provided his simplicity is founded on purity and faith, the greater will be his power. He can no more separate power from himself, or himself from power, than he can separate himself from existence.

Love, therefore, is the principle operating by its own divinity, and attractive in its influence rather than aggressive and compulsive, which is destined not only to control, but to renovate the world. It will conquer, it is true, on a new system, and by means of new principles; but its conquest will be none the less effectual. And it is in such doctrines as these, which imply and require the renovation of the heart in love, that the Christian is destined to find the true and mighty secret of millennial power.

— edited from A Treatise on Divine Union (1851) Part 7, Chapter 9.

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