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, April 1, 2016

Ceasing from Worldly Desire

In saying, therefore, that the holy man ceases from desires, we mean that he ceases from worldly desires; and in ceasing from such desires he has peace of soul.

Does he desire food and clothing? Being limited in his desire by what is necessary for him, and by what God approves in him, he believes that God will see his wants supplied. And thus he is without anxiety. Does he desire a good name among men? As he desires it only that God may be glorified, and only so far as God allows him to desire it, he has faith that he will receive, and that he does now receive, so much of the world's favorable opinion as is best for him; and he asks and wants no more. God, who inspired the desire, has answered it at the moment; and he is perfectly satisfied. Does he desire power? As he desires no power but God's power, and such as God shall give him, he receives now, in the "evidence" and the "substance" of his faith, the very thing which he asks; and having nothing in possession, and everything by the omnipotence of belief; he can almost say with the Saviour, "Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me  more than twelve legions of angels?” And then he adds,  with a still higher degree of faith, "But how then shall the Scriptures be fulfilled that thus it must be?” He does not desire, and does not ask, any power or any assistance which is inconsistent with God's present arrangements.

Aided by such views, we may possess a distinct and impressive appreciation of many passages of Scripture. "Consider the lilies of the field," says the  Savior, "how they grow. They toil not; neither do they spin. And yet I say unto you, that even Solomon, in all his glory, was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to-day is, and to-morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, oh, ye of little faith!" "Trust in the Lord," says the Psalmist, "and do good: — so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed." "For the Egyptians," it is said in the prophet Isaiah, "shall help in vain, and to no purpose. Therefore, have I cried concerning this, their strength is to sit still." That is to say,  it is better to trust in God and to wait quietly for the manifestations of his providence, than to adopt any means or trust in any aid which he does not approve. Matt. 6:28-30. Ps. 37:3. Isa 30:7.

To the holy soul, which has no desires but God's desires, and which does not doubt, such promises are realities.

— edited from A Treatise on Divine Union (1851) Part 8, Chapter 3.

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