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, March 28, 2016

Walking with God in the Order of Providence

We may lay it down as a great principle in the practical doctrines of holiness, that a soul, wholly devoted to God, will always endeavor to move calmly, yet firmly and exactly, in the blessed order of the divine providences. Neither prematurely and excitedly hastening in advance, nor yet sluggishly and carelessly lagging behind.

And this truth, be it ever remembered, is one of the leading elementary conceptions, embraced in the great and glorious idea of walking with God. It is noticed by writers on philosophical subjects, that some sorts of motion are pleasant and beautiful to the beholder, while others are not so. And they assert further, that objects in motion are thus beautiful, (for instance, a winding stream or a ship under gentle sail,) partly at least, because they are in harmony with the laws of our own mental movement. But where the outward motion, which we are contemplating is accelerated beyond a certain degree of rapidity, so as to be out of correspondence with the natural movement of our own minds, it at once ceases to be pleasant and beautiful and becomes painful. And so, on the other hand, when the motion becomes unusually sluggish and tardy so as to fall in the rear of the movement of our own minds and retard it, it then also loses its character of beauty. And it is somewhat similar in relation to the providences of, God. When the inward operation of the holy soul keeps in exact correspondence with the progress of God's providences, moving in time and place just where he moves, then all is orderly and divinely beautiful. But when, through unfaithfulness to God's grace, we are jostled out of the divine order, either by going in advance through precipitancy, or falling in the rear through worldly sloth, we are no longer conscious of this divine harmony and beauty. Under such circumstances we necessarily lose, in a considerable degree, the sense of God's presence and favor; and wandering in our own position and out of the divine position, we experience but little else than darkness and sorrow.

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

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