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, August 21, 2014

A Faith That Makes God Present

The form of faith, which is especially necessary, in order to live the life of faith, is that, which makes God present, moment by moment, in any and all events which take place. The want of this form of faith is one great source of evil. It is owing to a defect here, in a great part at least, that many persons, who believe, to some extent, in God, and in Christ, and perhaps in their own final acceptance, nevertheless make but little progress in sanctification. Adhesive in a general faith, which looks at things in masses, and rejecting that which is particular, they necessarily place God at a great distance; while, on the other hand, that faith, which is specific and particular, brings him near; makes him present and intimate in all our concerns, and establishes between him and our own souls a perpetual and happy relationship. We hope we shall not be misunderstood. We admit that other modifications of faith are important in their place. We know them to be so. But we cannot doubt, that the true life of God in the soul must be sustained, in a very considerable degree, by means of that specific form of faith, which recognizes God, AS PRESENT, NOT ONLY IN EVERY MOMENT OF TIME, BUT AS PRESENT, EITHER PERMISSIVELY OR CAUSATIVELY, IN EVERY EVENT THAT TAKES PLACE.

Those who are in the exercise of that form of faith, which makes God present in every thing, will perceive and recognize the hand of God in every thing which relates to themselves, viz. in the preservation of their lives and health, in their affairs of business, in their sufferings and joys, in the strength or weakness of their intellectual powers, in their opportunities of acquiring knowledge, in their opportunities of discharging duty, in their inward and outward temptations, in every thing whether it relates to mind, body, or estate, or whether it relates to suffering or to action, which in any way concerns themselves, or which in any way concerns those with whom they are closely connected by family ties.

If we are in the exercise of that kind of faith, which makes God present in all things, we shall be enabled to see distinctly his presence and his operative hand in the movements and acts of those, who entertain hostile dispositions towards us, and who may properly be denominated our enemies. Notwithstanding the suffering, to which the cruel and unjust course of our enemies often exposes us, we shall find no difficulty, if we are in the exercise of this form of specific faith, in recognizing and believing the presence of God in that, as in other things. The mind is in that delightful position, which enables it to think much more of God, than of the instrument, which he employs. Looking up to the great Author, it accepts from his hand with acquiescence and thankfulness the cup of bitterness; while it has mingled emotions of disapproval and pity, (compassion being the predominant feeling,) for the subordinate agent. But it is the distinct and unwavering perception, that God is present, and that it is God who offers it to our lips, which most of all changes and sweetens the draught. It is inexpressibly delightful, in all the trials that come upon us from within and without, to realize, without any misgivings of spirit, that the rod, whatever may be the subordinate agency, is in the hands of our heavenly Father.

— edited from The Interior of Hidden Life (1844) Part 1, Chapter 10.

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