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, July 31, 2015

The Heavenly Sculptor

From which thy smitten spirit bleeds,
Is but a messenger to show
The renovation which it needs.

The earthly sculptor smites the rock;
Loud the relentless hammer rings;
And from the rude, unshapen block,
At length, imprisoned beauty brings.

Thou art that rude, unshapen stone;
And waitest, till the arm of strife
Shall make its crucifixions known,
And smite and carve thee into life.

The Heavenly Sculptor works on THEE;
BE PATIENT. Soon  his  arm of might,
Shall from thy prison's darkness free,
And change thee to a form of light.

Christ in the Soul (1872) XXXIV.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Good For Evil

THEY DO NOT KNOW US. If they did,
They would not blame and smite us so.
To selfish hearts the light is hid,
And being blind, they cannot know.

Then let us not with anger burn,
Resembling thus our cruel foes;
But, when the cheek is smitten, turn
The other meekly to their blows.

With such forgiving words and deeds,
We claim the aid of that great Power,
Who knows His trusting people's needs,
And guards them in their trying hour.

God is thy battle's mighty arm;
God is thy great, victorious sword.
To him there comes nor fear nor harm,
Whose confidence is in the Lord.

Christ in the Soul (1872) XXXIII.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Social Redemption

In addition to the redemption of the individual, which of course is involved in the redemption of the mind of the individual, there is also social redemption; that is to say, man is redeemed and elevated in all his relations, not only as a man, but as the member of a family, as a neighbor, as a citizen. In all these respects, just so soon as he has become the subject of a new life, received from the great Author and Master of life, he is not merely guided by the ordinary sympathies of our nature, and the ordinary sentiments of duty, but by those sympathies  and sentiments  as  they are purified and heightened by the perfected influence of religion. As society in its various modifications is made up of individuals associated with other individuals, the redemption and elevation of the whole mass will correspond to the redemption and elevation of the individual. And man cannot become godlike by unity with God, — he cannot say with the apostle, "Christ," — which is an expression for the true image and power of God, —“liveth in me” without diffusing the image of the inward Divinity over every relation he sustains, over every association of which he is a member. And thus the families and societies of earth, under the purifying influence and power of religion, will reflect the brightness of the families and societies of heaven.

— edited from A Treatise On Divine Union (1851) Part 7, Chapter 2.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

God Dwells in the Redeemed Person

In the day of his true restoration, therefore, God once more really dwells in man. We do not say, however, that he actually enters and takes full possession at once. Just as soon as man gives his exiled Father permission to enter as a whole God and a God forever, he enters effectually; but ordinarily he enters by degrees, and in accordance with the usual laws and operations of the human mind. He does not break the vessel of man's spirit, nor mar its proportions, nor deface anything which is truly essential to it; but gradually enters into all parts of it, readjusts it, removes the stains which sin had made upon it, and fills it with divine light. Man's business in this great work is a very simple one. It is to cease all resistance, and to invite the Divine Master of the mind to enter it in his own time and way. And even this last is hardly necessary. God does not wait even to be invited to come, except so far as an invitation is  implied in the removal of the obstacles which had previously kept him out. Man's ceasing from all resistance, and his willingness to receive God as the all in all, and for all coming time, may be regarded as essentially the completion of the work in respect to himself; but the work of God, who is continually developing from the soul new powers and new beauties, can be completed only with the completion of eternity.

— edited from A Treatise on Divine Union (1851) Part 7, Chapter 2.

Monday, July 27, 2015


The great result, therefore, of the plan of redemption, when fully carried out in relation to man, is to restore him to such a position of harmony with God, that he may be said ever afterwards to live in and from God. Nothing short of this is redemption; — nothing short of this is worthy to be thought of and to be regarded as redemption.

And this great result, — a result on which depends union or separation, life or death, happiness or woe, — is made to turn upon his own free choice. It is not left to him, however, to choose a mixed or middle course. And the reason is that there is no such course. "Ye cannot serve God and mammon." There can be but one true life, and that is life from God. Our heavenly Father, dwelling in man as the Divine Teacher or Comforter, must be the whole, the true life and the whole life in us or he can be nothing. And this is a matter, which, as a moral agent, man is called upon to decide for himself; — namely, whether God, without dividing his influence with any other master or teacher, shall be his inward life, and thus be, in all coming time, the inspiration and source of all good. This choice is given him in Christ. If he accepts God, he lives. If he rejects him, he dies.

— edited from A Treatise on Divine Union (1851) Part 7, Chapter 2.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Redemption of the Fallen Human Spirit

Redemption is felt, and is designed to be felt, more than anywhere else, in man's fallen spirit. There is a mental, as well as a physical, redemption; and the mental or personal is as much more important than the physical, as mind holds a higher rank and is more important than matter.

The restoration of man is primarily a restoration of the affections. When man fell, his affections changed their center; and that love, which at first centered in God, afterwards centered in himself. Being disunited from the true center, he never afterwards could be truly united with anything, except those things which adhered to himself as their center. In this state of separation from God, and of sin against God, he is redeemed from the penalty of sin by accepting that forgiveness which is offered through Jesus Christ.

But it is important to remember that there are two offers involved in that great work, which Christ came to accomplish; — the one is, forgiveness for the past, and the other is, a new life in God for the future. A new life in God, which implies entire reconciliation with God as its basis, could not be offered to man, until the penalty of the old transgression was remitted. And, on the other hand, the remission of the penalty of the past would be wholly unavailing, without the permanent restoration of a divine and living principle in man's spiritual part.

— edited from A Treatise on Divine Union (1851) Part 7, Chapter 2.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Fall, Redemption, and the Physical Creation

When man, as the head of creation, fell into sin, it may be said, with a great degree of truth, that the physical creation fell with him. There are connections and sympathies between man and the outward or physical world, which are not well understood, and are not likely to be well understood, in the present state of things. Certain it is, however, that in a world destined to be the home of holy and happy beings, the outward will correspond to the inward, the objective to the subjective, the home to the inhabitant. It is not in the nature of God, who delights in the beautiful as well as in the good, to surround a holy being with barrenness and deformity, and to compel him to take up his abode among thorns and thistles. The world was and must have been beautiful as the happy souls that dwell in it. Originally the earth was everywhere clothed with its green and pure carpet;  fruits suitable to the support of its holy inhabitants, hung from the branches of richly laden trees, and flowers sprang up at their feet. "Out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight,  and that is good for food."

When man became a sinner his beautiful home changed its character, and became adapted to sinners. God said unto Adam, "Because thou hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it; cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life. Thorns also, and thistles shall it bring forth unto thee! " It is not without reason, therefore, that the poet Milton, in allusion to the consequences of Adam's fall, says:

"Earth felt the wound; and nature from her seat,
Sighing through all her works, gave signs of woe
That all was lost."

And, as if the earth were really as well as figuratively conscious of the great change which it had undergone, the Apostle says, in very remarkable language: — “For we know that the whole creation  groaneth and travaileth together in pain until now.” [Romans 8:22.]

When holiness is restored to man, whose fall was the cause of its being blighted, it is reasonable to suppose that fruitfulness will again return to the earth. Its beauty also, as well as its fruitfulness, will be reestablished. Its defaced outlines will gradually be  restored, and its tints retouched. There will no longer be storms and tempests. The cold of winter and the heat of summer will be tempered to that degree of heat and cold which will be best suited to the renovation of the earth, and also to man's condition and happiness. That golden age, when the air, the earth, and the waters, will all contribute to bring forth the perfect and the beautiful — that primitive age of delights, of which we have the tradition in many nations, — will return again.

"The swain, in barren deserts, with surprise,
Sees lilies spring and sudden verdure rise;
And starts, amid the thirsty wilds, to hear
New falls of water murmuring in his ear.”

Nor will these results be limited to outward nature. Man himself will be restored physically. Now, bowed down with many infirmities, the subject of many severe and wasting diseases, he has lost that dignity and beauty which once attached to him.  As he recovers, through the grace of God, from the controlling influence of inordinate desires, his physical appetites will seek those objects which are best adapted to the wants of the physical nature; and he will use them, whatever they may be, in the proper manner. Holiness, by directing him to those things which can be rightly used, will give purification and erectness to that which sin has polluted and prostrated. And it is one of the favorable signs of the times, that the attention of men, roused at last to observe the connection between moral and physical disorder, is already so widely directed to this subject. Those who are in unity with God in their modes of living, find a restoration of health, of strength, and of physical enjoyment, such as will vindicate the goodness of God, and illustrate the import of the declaration of scripture, that "Godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come." [1st Timothy 4: 8.]

And, as incidentally connected with these views, it may properly be added, that the various forms of the animal creation inferior to man will probably participate in some degree in the renovation and blessedness of that better time.

Nor is this a merely fanciful view. It has its foundation in the nature of things. Every system of things has a unity, or, what is the same thing, a correspondence and harmony of existence. All beings, for instance, which live upon the same earth, breathe the same air, and are sustained by the same heavenly Father, necessarily have ties of relationship, which are sacred and eternal. The earth is wisely and expressly fitted for the support of a great system of life, — a system which may be said, in its outward forms at least, to be elaborated from its own elements, — a system infinitely various in its manifestations, but still bearing everywhere the marks of a divine unity. Of this great system man stands at the head; but he is not on that account separate from the foot. All the inferior parts of creation may be said to embody something which finds its resultant and its completion in man. It is to him they tend; — it is in him they find their unity. They hardly have more of true adaptation of position, without man, than the inferior limbs of his own body can have life and adaptation without the head which controls them.

So long, therefore, as man kept his original position, and was fully united with God, so long he sustained relations of harmony and unity with all inferior beings;— not excepting the worm beneath his feet. These relations were disturbed by his fall. But the Gospel, which once more restores man to his proper place, will restore all which is necessarily connected with him. There is nothing in nature, either in its material or its sentient forms, which will not experience the effects of that great change, which it must be admitted is destined primarily and chiefly to raise and bless man, who is the head and the crown of nature; so that trees, and flowers, and birds, and all living things, will have occasion to rejoice in the consequences involved in Christ's coming. In the language of the prophet Isaiah, "The mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing; and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands." [Isaiah 55: 12.] And if the trees and mountains shall clap their hands, much more will this figurative but beautiful language be true of the hunted and bleeding beast and bird which inhabit them.

— edited from A Treatise on Divine Union (1851) Part 7, Chapter 2.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Choosing to Be Where You Are

One  of those things which particularly characterizes the holy mind, in distinction from the unholy or natural mind, and also in distinction from the partially sanctified mind, is, that in the allotment which falls to it in life,  it chooses to be, and loves to be, where it is;  and has no disposition and no desire to be any where else, till the providence of God clearly indicates that the time has come for a removal.

Religious Maxims (1846) CXXXII.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

God's Will is Good

The will of God includes every possible good. He who seeks conformity to the will of  God, necessarily seeks whatever is most desirable and best for himself.

Religious Maxims (1846) CXXXI.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

To Endure and to Suffer God's Will

To be willing to execute or do the will of God, cannot be acceptable to Him, unless we are willing, at the same time, to endure and suffer his will.

Religious Maxims (1846) CXXX.

Monday, July 20, 2015

The Hidden Life

"Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is  hid with Christ in God."  Col. iii. 2, 3.

My life is folded in the life of Jesus,
No longer mine, but purchased by that tide,
That crimson tide, which shed on Calvary, frees us
From those dark stains that in our hearts abide.
Whate'er his will, that am I bound to do;
If He doth call me to far lands and seas,
I hear his summons, and his steps pursue.
Where'er He goes, I cannot stay behind;
In what He does, my hand shall have employ;
Whene'er He suffers, sorrow fills my mind;
When He rejoices, I partake the joy.
He bought me by his blood, and I am his;
I have no other will, no other grief nor bliss.

American Cottage Life (1850) XIII.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

The Place of Refuge

"For thou hast been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in distress, a refuge from  the  storm."
"A man shall be as an hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest." 
Is. xxv. 4 — xxxii. 2.

The clouds are gathering in the distant sky;
I hear the fiercely muttering thunders roll;
Terrors invade my breast; my trembling soul
Looks forth around, but sees no refuge nigh.
Ah, whither shall I flee? What friendly hand
Shall guide me to some safe, select retreat,
Where, while the dark, perpetual tempests beat,
Unscathed, uninjured, I may safely stand?
He comes! He comes! I see the platted crown;
I see the bleeding feet, the wounded side.
Now let the bellowing storm rush fiercely down,
Thy smile shall comfort me, Thine arms shall hide.
With Thee, Thou dear Redeemer, are no fears;
Thou scatterest all my doubts, and wipest all my tears.

American Cottage Life (1850) XII.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Consolation in the Gospel

"That we might have a strong consolation,  who  have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: which hope we have as an anchor to the soul both sure and steadfast."  Heb. vi. 18, 19.

How beautiful, as fades the gloom of night,
How beautiful the early sunbeams fall
In long and leveled lines of light, o'er all
The wide expanse of plain, and vale, and height,
And clothe them with a young and purple bloom!
So, when my heart environed is with sorrow,
And from the earth no ray of hope can borrow,
The Gospel's glory dissipates its gloom.
That Gospel plants a sun within my breast,
Which hath the power to change dark shades to day;
Unchanged, unfailing, it transmits its ray,
And e'en in sorrow makes my bosom blest.
The vales throw off their shades, the mists take wing,
The flowers unfold their leaves, the birds start up and sing.

American Cottage Life (1850) XI.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

The Sanctification of Desire as the Foundation of a Holy Will

When the Desires, including the various Appetites, Propensities, and Affections, are reduced to their proper position by being brought under the controlling influence of divine love, and are truly sanctified to the Lord, there is a foundation laid for the right action of the Will.

It is well understood, I suppose, that the Will acts, if it acts at all, in accordance either with natural and interested motives on the one hand, or of moral motives on the other. In a mind, that is not the subject of any degree of alienated action, and which, therefore, in the ordinary sense of the terms, may properly be called a sound mind, the moral sense will always act right and act effectively, and will always furnish a powerful motive to the Will, unless it is perplexed and weakened in its action, (which, however, is very likely to be the case in the natural man,) by the influence of unsanctified desires.

If, therefore, the desires are sanctified, and the perplexing and disordering influence from that source is taken away, the feelings of desire and the sentiment of justice will combine their action in the same direction, and the action of the Will cannot be otherwise than holy. To possess holy desires, therefore, in their various modifications, or what is the same thing, to possess, as we sometimes express it, a holy HEART, is necessarily to possess a holy WILL. There is no reason, under such circumstances, why the will should not act right. And a right will is a holy will. To secure such a consummation — the appetites subdued, the propensities regulated, the affections sanctified, the will just in its action, and consequently united with the will of God — to secure a result so immensely important in itself and its relations, how devoutly should we pray! How constantly and ardently should we labor!

"Create, O God, my powers anew,
Make my whole heart sincere and true;
Oh, cast me not in wrath away,
Nor let thy soul-enlivening ray
Still cease to shine."

— edited from The Interior or Hidden Life (1844) Part 2, Chapter 9.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015


The doctrines of holiness apply to the principle of RESENTMENT, as well as to other parts of the mind. It is impossible for a holy person not to be displeased, and sometimes greatly displeased, at acts of iniquity. The injunction of the Apostle, "be ye angry and sin not," seems to imply, that there may be cases, in which a person may be displeased and may be angry without necessarily incurring sin. It is said of the blessed Savior himself, that he looked upon the Pharisees "with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts." But here again the evil hand of nature, (not nature as it was, but nature as it has become,) has been at work. Selfishness, which is but another name for the life of nature, infuses into the displeasure of the unsanctified man, even when there is a foundation for it within proper limits, a degree of severity and unforgivingness, which is inconsistent with holiness, and is fatal to true inward peace.

How often, and how sadly this has been the case; how often and how deeply individuals and churches have been injured from this cause, no one is ignorant. Families and nations, as well as individuals, have experienced the dreadful effects of the displeased and angry feelings, when they are not overruled and kept in check by true piety. The history of the world, from its earliest periods, is a solemn and monitory lesson on this subject. "He, that is slow to anger, is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit, than he that taketh a city." There seems to be need of greater effort and of more faith and prayer, to regulate entirely this department of the Affections, (usually denominated the Malevolent Affections,) than is required in the regulation of the other. But the grace of God is sufficient even here.

— edited from The Interior or Hidden Life (1844) Part 2, Chapter 9.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Our Loves Must Also be Surrendered to God

It cannot be doubted, that it is right for a man to love the members of his family, and that it is his duty to do so; but if his domestic attachments become from any cause so strong as to annul or to vitiate his love to men generally or to God, or on the other hand if they become so weakened as to fall short of the divine requirements, they are wrong.

Immutable right has a claim and a power, which entitle it to regulate every thing else. Even LOVE itself, an element so essential to all moral goodness that it gives a character and name to God himself, ceases to be love, the moment it ceases to be in conformity with justice. Love, that is not just, is not holy; and love, that is not holy, is selfishness under the name of love. Every affection, therefore, however amiable and honorable it may be when it is in a right position, is wrong and is at variance with inward holiness of life, which is not in conformity with the rule of right. And in hearts unsanctified, just so far as there is a defect or want of sanctification, in other words just so far as the love of God fails to regulate such affections, this is always the case.

— edited from The interior or Hidden Life (1844) Part 2, Chapter 9.

Monday, July 13, 2015

A Univeral Conception of God

There is a period, however, in the process of sanctification, when God is gradually withdrawn from [His former] position [in our minds], and ceases to be either limited or local. At this period, the well-defined and impressive image, which had been present to our thoughts for many years, becomes more and more indistinct,  more and more remote from us, until it entirely disappears. But this withdrawment of God from a particular locality, which at first is perplexing and trying, is followed by his substitution and re-appearance to the eye of faith, not exclusively in any one place or thing, but in all things and all places;— in every tree, and plant and rock, and flower; in every star, in the wandering moon, in the floating cloud, in the wide and deep sea,— in insects and birds, and the wild beasts of the mountain,— in men, who more than any thing else, bear the image of God; — and in all events, as well as in all things.

The idea which we have of God under these circumstances, may be described as a general one,  and perhaps as an indistinct or indefinite one. It is necessarily wanting in that clear and definite outline, which characterizes that restricted and inadequate idea of God, which represents Him to the mind’s eye as having a particular form and a particular place. The true idea, that which reveals Him without the limitations of form and place, is indistinct in the sense of being without definite bounds, but not in the sense of its being unreal, and is general without being weakened by its unlimited extent. Without, assigning God to any one thing or place, it recognizes Him, rejoices in Him, and receives Him in all. Happy is the man, whose heart is so purified that it is thus brought into unity with a God universal.

To him who has this deeper insight and this higher unity, God breathes in the vernal zephyr, and shines brightly in the summer's sun; he sees Him molding and painting the fruits of autumn, and sending the hoar-frosts and piling up the snows of winter; all inanimate nature is full of Him. He sees God also in what is ordinarily called the work of men's hands. It is God that spreads his pillow — it is God that builds his house — it is God that plows his fields — it is God that sells for him and buys for him; God gives him pain and sends him joy — smites him when he is sick, and heals him when be gets well. And what God does for Himself, He does also for  others,  and for communities. It is God that builds up and puts down — that makes kings and makes subjects — that builds up one nation and destroys another — that binds the chains of the captive and gives liberty to the free — that makes war and makes peace. All men, and princes and nations are in his hands like clay in the hands of the potter. His eternal will, which  never has changed, and never can change, dashes them to pieces, or fashions them to everlasting life. All things are his sin only excepted, and sin is sin, because it is not of God. Whatever is not of God is of the devil — and  whatever  is of the devil is sin.

What blessed results would follow, if all men had that faith which deprives God of form, and displaces Him from a particular locality, in order that being without form, He may attach Himself to all forms, and that being without place, He may be found present in all places. Such a faith, if it would not at once carry us up to the New Jerusalem, would do that which amounts to much the same thing — it would bring the New Jerusalem down to earth, and would expand its golden walls and gates to the limits of the world and of the universe.

Guide to Holiness, Vol. iii.  pp. 121-123. Quoted by Asa Mahan in The Oberlin Quarterly Review, Vol. 4, Jan. 1849, pp. 117, 118.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Engage in the Work of Human Redemption

It is a matter of gratitude, however obvious may be the delinquencies of Christians, that something of the true spirit of Christ still lives. This spirit has developed itself with increased truth and energy in more recent times. The remark is often made, and there seems to be a foundation for it, that the commencement of the present century was the commencement of a new and better series of ages. The closing years of the last century were signalized by the prevalence of infidelity, and by crime and violence, almost unexampled. In the extremity of those sufferings and sorrows, which were the natural result of their infidelity, men began to look to God, and to believe in him as alone able to give them help. An increase of faith naturally inspired love; and the new series of ages has been honorably distinguished by deeds of benevolence.

It is a great and cheering truth, that the progress of the church cannot be separated from the progress of humanity. And probably more has been done by Christians  for the elevation of the human race, during the last half century, than during any previous period of equal length, with the exception perhaps of the period denominated the apostolic age. Within the period of half a century how many benevolent institutions have been founded! How many missionaries have been sent  to heathen lands! What mighty changes and improvements have taken place in administrations and forms of government! What efforts have been made to enlighten the ignorant, to relieve the poor, the oppressed, the dumb, the blind, the insane! How changed is the public sentiment in relation to war! — and how widely disseminated, compared with the state of things at any former time, is the sentiment of universal brotherhood and good-will to man!

These and many other favorable results have been witnessed, chiefly through the influence and exertions of Christians, and by the mighty power of the religious sentiment. Christians have done much, not only because they desired to do much, but because they believed. They begin to understand, more than in former periods, the mighty results of simple trust in God. It is a sentiment found in the great poet of the ancient Romans, that faith, even in the ordinary concerns of life, is power, POSSUNT QUI POSSE  VIDENTUE. And if much, in accordance with this sentiment, can be done by the natural man with the aids and strength of natural faith, how much more can be done by those, who, in adding religious to natural faith, are aided by the promises and the power of God!

But what has been witnessed during the last half century is only the beginning. The mighty power of divine faith strengthens itself day by day. If to-day the man of faith can arrest the listening ear of warring nations, to-morrow he may expect to hear the last sound of their cannon. Every step that he takes gives him increased strength for effort and increased influence. If to-day he can plant his missionary stations in Africa, in China, in Syria, in the Sandwich Islands, to-morrow, by effort added to effort, and by faith added to faith, he may expect to see the foundations of the old idolatry totter, end its temples fall.

Engage, therefore, in the great work of man's redemption. Engage in it, not in human strength, not under the influence of human excitement, but in Christ's strength, under the leadings of the Holy Ghost, and in the fixedness and calmness of everlasting principle.

The day in which we live, if we regard either the intimations of prophecy or the signs of the times, is the day of the last struggle. Everything indicates that the powers of light and darkness are marshaling themselves for a contest greater than any which has preceded it. Humanity must rise now, or, we have reason to fear, that it will sink forever. Whatever may be the result of the struggle, there is but one course for those who would either seek or maintain their union with God, and that is, to possess the spirit of Christ, and, like him, to toil, to suffer, and to die if it be necessary, for the renovation of a fallen and suffering race.

— edited from A Treatise on Divine Union (1851) Part 7, Chapter 1.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Christ is Our Example

In the matter of union with God in the great work of the world's redemption, "Christ is our example.” Those who are now in the world, called upon to realize its situation, and to labor for its restoration, can be in union with God only so far as they have Christ's spirit. There is a sense in which it can be said, with great truth, that holy souls are the perpetuation of Christ. We are called upon, therefore, to be just what Christ would be if he were now living. If he were now on earth, it is certain that he would live, and labor, and suffer for the completion of that great object for which he lived and suffered so many centuries ago. In the same spirit of meekness, in the same fixedness of purpose, in the same readiness to act and to endure, he would say now, as then, "I come to do thy will.”

— edited from A Treatise on Divine Union (1851) Part 7, Chapter 1.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Study Christ!

In order to harmonize successfully in the prosecution of the plan of redemption as it is now in progress, it is important to be well acquainted with the personal history of Christ.

Study Christ, that ye may be like him.

How affecting is the simple, yet wonderful story of the Savior’s life! Behold him, the ruler and king who had been so long predicted, making his appearance, not in the splendor of the palace, but in the humility of the manger! See him, as if the powers of darkness trembled before his infancy, carried in his mother's arms a fugitive into Egypt! Mark the early developments of his wisdom, as he converses and reasons with the learned Jewish teachers in the Temple! Appreciating the great truth of a Divine Providence, which requires the adjustment of action to circumstances, he said to John the Baptist, — " It becometh us to fulfill all righteousness." And accordingly, in his domestic relations, he fulfilled, in meekness and love, the duties of a son and brother. In relations of a more general and public nature, he conformed to the civil and religious institutions of his country; — rejoicing in what was good, and submitting to what was imperfect and evil, because the day of its destruction had not arrived. Full of divine sympathy, he went about doing good; but without the spirit of boasting, and "without observation." The appointed renovator of the world, he may be said to have restored institutions  prospectively, by sowing great principles which were to germinate and bear fruit in the appropriate hour of Providence. He was a man; — but, unlike man in his fallen and depraved state, he was a man dwelt in by the Holy Ghost, who descended visibly upon him. Baptized of John in the waters of the Jordan, — teaching men with heavenly wisdom, and at the same time exemplifying in his life the principles of eternal truth and love, — persecuted but never avenging himself, — in all situations and under all circumstances, he realizes and exemplifies the full idea of the Son of God. His last act is to die, not for himself, but for others; —" The Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world."

— edited from A Treatise on Divine Union (1851) Part 7, Chapter 1.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

The Second Period in the History of Human Redemption

The second period in the history of the great work of man's redemption may be regarded as beginning with the advent of Christ, which, in being the completion of a former order of things, was itself the commencement of a new order. This new order or dispensation of things will be completed only when the objects for which Christ came, are secured by the redemption and permanent renovation of the human race.

The events occurring in the first period were merely preparatory; —  all of them having relation to the Savior’s coming and to those events and results which were connected with his coming. Before the Savior’s birth there had been labors  and  sufferings; — there had been teachings and prophecies, and ceremonies and sacrifices innumerable. And yet, they all were comparatively of no value, and had no effect, except in connection with the advent of the Son of God; much had been done preparatively, but nothing had been done effectually. It was Christ's coming which explained the import of preceding institutions and events, and which gave them their efficacy. And, therefore, until this period, it could not be said of the human race generally, nor of any part of the human race, "Ye are bought with a price."

In the language of President Jonathan Edwards, who refers, in his remarks, to the period of Christ's coming,

No part of the price was offered till now.  But as soon as Christ was incarnate, then the purchase began immediately without any delay, and the whole time of Christ's humiliation, from the morning that Christ began to be incarnate, till the morning that he rose from the dead, was taken up with his purchase. And then the purchase was entirely and completely finished.

But if, in the language of President Edwards, the "purchase was completely finished," it was not accepted and not even known by those for whose benefit it was made, except to a very limited extent. If the purchase was completed, the plan of salvation was not completed. It still remained necessary that those who were lost, those for whom this great work of suffering and redemption was thus brought to a close, should hear and understand the announcement of this "joyful sound." The completion of the plan of salvation required from the beginning, and does now require, that the Gospel, the good news of redemption, should be preached to every creature. In connection with what the Savior had done, it could be said, with great and emphatic truth, that the prison doors of a fallen race were thrown open; — but those who were in the prison were so blind, and so in love with their own wretchedness, that it had become necessary to teach them their sin and their blindness, and to take them by the hand and to lead them out into the purchased liberty.

The plan of salvation, therefore, in its second period, is still in progress, and, this being the case, there still remains a great work to be done; — a work in which holy men have been engaged from the time of Christ;— a work in which they will continue to be engaged, until the last darkened mind is enlightened, the last ruined soul is saved.

— edited from A Treatise on Divine Union (1851) Part 7, Chapter 1.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

The First Period in the History of Human Redemption

Among the wonderful works of God there is none more worthy of attention, none more important in its results, both to this world and to other worlds, than that of man's redemption. Man, in the exercise of that freedom of choice which God had given him, had no sooner fallen into sin and consequent ruin, than God announced to him, though at first obscurely, the great plan of salvation. As all Adam's posterity were involved in his fall, the plan of redemption, which has a relation to the whole human race in all ages of the world, occupies a great extent of time. Beginning with the promises to Adam and the early patriarchs, which were at first obscurely, and afterwards more clearly, made, it gradually unfolds itself in successive dispensations; but at last  we  see it in distinctness and as a whole.

The plan of human redemption may be divided, for the purpose of more distinct views of it, into two great periods; — including some subordinate distinctions and periods, to which it is not necessary to give particular attention here.

The first period is that which is antecedent to the coming of Christ; — comprehending the whole interval of time from the fall of Adam to the hour of the Savior’s birth. The second period, having no conclusion which is definitely anticipated and known by men, extends from the advent of Christ to the termination, whenever it may take place, of human history.

In the first period, the only account of which is to be found in the books of the Old Testament, we have the affecting records of human sin and sorrow, interspersed with intimations of better things to come. At an early period, God, who is merciful in his judgments, selected a peculiar people, a chosen generation, to whom he made his communications, and through whom other nations and ages have been taught how widely they have wandered, and in what way they may expect to return. It is in this period that we find the histories of Noah, of Abraham, of Moses, Joshua, Samuel, David, and many others, whose lives and labors are connected in various ways with the great remedial plan. It is here that we find prophecy added to prophecy; — the faint intimation uttered to the sorrowing hearts of Adam and Eve, that "the seed of the woman should bruise the serpent's head;"— the promise to the patriarch Abraham, that in his seed "all the nations of the earth should be blessed;" — the prophetic declaration of Jacob, " the sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until SHILOH come;" — the remarkable saying of God to Moses, — a saying generally understood by commentators to have a special application to Christ, the greatest of prophets, — "I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth;" — and the prophecies of Christ's coming, and of a better and more glorious period, prophecies specific in statement and sublime in imagery, which are found in the writings of Isaiah. [Gen. 3:15; 22:18. Deut. 18:15, 18. Isa. 53.]

It is here, in this first period, that we find intimations and declarations of God's abhorrence of sin; the announcement on Mount Sinai of the eternal principles of the moral law, which sin had obliterated or obscured in the human heart; and indications, some of them of terrible import, that the relations between sin and suffering are unchangeable, and that iniquity cannot go unpunished. The Tabernacle and the Temple, during successive generations, ministered in the development and inculcation of these great truths. Priests and Levites, in the performance of their allotted duties, helped to illustrate and confirm them. They had an expression in offerings and sacrifices, which declared the hopes as well as the transgressions of the world. It was by means of the bleeding sacrifices in particular that the Jews were taught, and other nations were destined to be taught through them, that "without the shedding of blood there is no remission."

The portion of human history, which is illustrated in the records of the Old Testament, is exceedingly interesting and important. The principles which are inculcated, (all those truths and principles which have relation to God, to man's spiritual nature, to sin, redemption, and holiness,) are the same as those in the New; — less distinctly revealed, but not differing in nature. The New is the complement and fulfillment of the Old. And it will be found true, that the Old Testament will be valued, — its history, its poetry, its prophecies, its types, will be studied and gratefully appreciated, — just in proportion as the spirit of the New is felt and realized in the human heart.

— edited from A Treatise on Divine Union Part 7, Chapter 1.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Silence Under Trials

When words and acts, untrue, unkind,
Against thy life, like arrows, fly;
Receive them with a patient mind;
Seek no revenge, make no reply.

Oh holy SILENCE! 'Tis the shield,
More strong than warrior's twisted mail;
A hidden strength, a might conceal'd,
Which worldly shafts in vain assail.

He,  who is silent in his cause,
Has left that cause to heavenly arms;
And heaven's eternal aid and laws
Are swift to ward the threatening harms.

God is our great, protecting Power.
BE STILL! The great Defender moves;
He  watches well the dangerous hour;
Nor fails to save the child He loves.

Christ in the Soul (1872) XXXII.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Scriptures Addressed to the Heart

Some portions of the Bible are addressed to the intellect, and some to the heart. The parts addressed exclusively to the intellect, are always understood, where there are corresponding powers and exercises of intellect. The parts addressed to the heart, and which involve truths having relation to the religious affections, can be fully understood only where there are corresponding exercises of the heart. And on this principle, the higher experimental truths of the Bible, such as relate to a full inward salvation, are not likely to be understood and appreciated, except in connection with the experience of such salvation.

Religious Maxims (1846) CXXX.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Two Things to Be Guarded Against

Two things, in particular, are to be guarded against in all the variety of their forms, viz., CREATURE LOVE and SELF WILL in other words, dependence upon self, and dependence upon our fellow men.

Religious Maxims (1846) CXXVIII.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Perfect Tranquility

God is perfectly tranquil. He is never subject to agitation in any case whatever. And unlikeness to him in this respect, except in what is instinctive and physically unavoidable, indicates the existing state of the mind to be in some respects wrong.

Religious Maxims (1846) CXXVII.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Meekness of Spirit

"Blessed are  the  meek; for they  shall inherit the  earth Blessed are  the  peace makers; for they  shall  be called the  children  of  God." Mat. v. 5, 9.

WHEN there are clouds and tempests in the mind,
And peace and mercy are by wrath displaced,
It breaks the plan of love which heaven designed,
And turns the blooming garden to a waste.
Then keep thy soul in peace and quietness,
And strive each evil passion to restrain,
And God will smile upon thee, and will bless,
And his bright image  in thy breast maintain.
He, who did bow his blessed head in woe,
The Savior of the meek and lowly heart,
Did he not pray for those who struck the blow,
And bless the ruffian hand that aimed the dart?
Oh, be like Him, calm, patient, self-controlled,
He, who can rule himself, has richer wealth than gold.

American Cottage Life (1850) X.