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.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Finding the Mind of God in Providence

The presence and agency of God, in his providences, is not an accidental thing; but is a result, which has reference to the divine wisdom and choice. What ever takes place, with the exception of sin, is not only a portion in the great series of events; but takes place in accordance with the well considered and divinely ordered arrangement or plan of things, Accordingly every thing, which takes place, indicates, all things considered, the mind of God in that particular thing. And hence we may be said to reach, through the divine providences, a portion of the divine mind; and to become acquainted with it. We do not mean to say, that we possess, in respect to that particular thing, the whole of the divine wisdom; but we undoubtedly possess a portion of it, which is unspeakably valuable.  To some extent certainly, it can always be said, that God reveals himself. That is to say, he reveals his mind and will.

We proceed to remark again, and in connection with what has been said, that the providences of God are, to a considerable extent, the interpreters of the mind of the Holy Spirit. The mind of God, as it is disclosed in his providences, and the mind of the Holy Spirit, as it reveals itself in the soul are one; and consequently in their different developments from time to time can never be at variance, but will always be in harmony with each other. And not only this, they have a relation to each other, which is mutually and positively illuminative. They throw light, the one upon the other. Certain it is that the mind of the Spirit, in all cases of mere practical action and duty, cannot, as a general thing, be clearly and definitely ascertained, except in connection with providential dispensations. Such dispensations are the outward light, which corresponds to and throws a reflex illumination upon the inward light. And this is so general a law of the divine operation, that persons, who are truly led by the Spirit of God, are generally and perhaps always found to keep an open eye upon the divine providences, as important and true interpreters of the inward spiritual leadings.

And accordingly we find the following expressions in the Life of Madame Guyon. "My soul could not incline itself on the one side or the other, since that another will had taken the place of its own; but only nourished itself with the daily providences of God." And again, "the order of divine providence makes the whole rule and conduct of a soul entirely devoted to God. While it faithfully gives itself up thereto, it will do all things right and well, and will have every thing it wants, without its own care; because God, in whom it confides, makes it every moment do what he requires. God loves what is of his own order."

Hardly any thing, in the conduct of the divine life in the soul, is more important than thus to keep an open and faithful eye upon the arrangements of divine providence. Until the divine intimations within are cleared up and illustrated by the subsequent openings of Providence, it seems to me to be the duty of Christians to remain in the attitude of patient expectation, and of humble and quiet faith. It is true, we may already be possessed of the inward voice, the declarations of the Spirit in the soul. But these inward intimations, taken by themselves,  may, in many cases, be very obscure. And so long as we do not satisfactorily know the information involved in them and the issues to which they lead, it is obviously a duty to keep looking upward, in a childlike simplicity and faith, for those further developments, which the openings of Divine Providence may impart.

— edited from The Interior or Hidden Life (2nd edition, 1844) Part 3, Chapter 2.

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