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.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

God's Happiness in Human Holiness

The sources of God's happiness, therefore, are twofold; — first, that simple but ever-flowing consciousness of happiness which has already been mentioned; and, second, the contemplation of his perfections, as they are imaged forth and realized objectively, that is to say, in the hearts and lives of his creatures. The moral universe around him, when unpolluted by sin, is the bright mirror of himself. It is the beauty, therefore, of his own being, seen in the infinitude of holy beings whom he has created, — the light of true glory kindled up in all parts of the universe, and reflected back upon the central fountain of light,— which constitutes a large share of his ineffable bliss. Considered in relation to the beings he has made, God may properly be regarded as the great moral center, as the sun in the vast system of holy love, rejoicing in the infinite number of stars which his own radiance has kindled up around him.

The holiness of the creatures of God is one of the great elements of his happiness. The doctrine that the happiness of God rests for its support, in part at least, upon the holiness of his creatures, is one of great interest to men. It  furnishes a new motive to holy effort. Everything we do has its correspondent result in the divine mind. There is not a throb in our bosoms, beating in the direction of pure and universal love, which does not excite joy in the bosom of our heavenly Father. It is not more true that angels rejoice, than it is that God rejoices, over every return from sin and every advance in holiness.

It  is hardly possible to conceive of a higher result in the destiny of man than that which thus contributes to the happiness of God. The thought, therefore, should animate us in all our efforts, namely, that God sees us; that he takes an interest in all our acts and feelings; and that when we are good our Father is happy. The light of our little star goes back to its parent sun. The small wave of our little fountain swells the broad billow of the mighty ocean. Can there be a higher motive to action than this?

Then let us labor on. God works. Let us work with him. Let us suffer; if needs be. Yea, let us rejoice in suffering; but neither in toil nor in suffering trusting to ourselves, but rather "looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith; who, for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God."

— edited from A Treatise on Divine Union (1851) Part 7, Chapter 12.

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