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, August 23, 2014

Seeing God at Work in National Events

It is important... in the experience of a holy life, to extend the principle of the recognition of God's presence and agency, to all public and national events, as well as to those of a more private nature.

In republican governments, and in all governments of a constitutional character, there are almost constantly before the public questions of great interest, which, when viewed out of their relation to the Divine Mind, are calculated to excite in the Christian, as well as in others, a degree of anxiety. When he beholds conflicting parties and nations, when he witnesses the wild political commotion and uproar, which has characterized almost every age of the world, the heart of the good man would faint within him, if he he did not know and feel, that the hand of the Lord is in it. And yet the faith even of Christians, when exercised in relation to public events, is exceedingly weak; so much so as hardly, in the comparative sense, to have an existence. It is very different, in this matter from what it should be. Nothing but a strange and blind unbelief could thus exile God from a participation in national movements. There has no political event ever taken place; there has been no fall or rise of empires; no building up or overthrow of parties; no aggressions of war or pacifications of peace, without the presence of the hand of the Lord either for good or for evil, for punishment or reward. Such is the doctrine of the Scriptures, as well as of reason. Their language is, "The kingdom is the Lord's; and he is the governor among the nations." Ps. 22: 28. "By me kings reign, and princes decree justice." Prov. 8: 15. God says of Cyrus, the Persian king and conquerer, "He is my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure; even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built, and to the temple, thy foundation shall be laid." Isa. 44: 28. And He adds in the next chapter a remarkable passage, which shows, that kings and rulers, who have no realizing sense of the divine superintendence and presence, may yet be the instruments in his hands for the accomplishment of his purposes. "For Jacob, my servant's sake, and Israel, mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name; I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me."

Oh, that we might learn the great lesson, (the lesson absolutely indispensable to him, who would experience the highest results of the inward life,) of beholding God, either in his direct efficiency or his permissive and controlling guardianship, as present in all things, whether high or low, of whatever name or nature. Without taking this view of his presence, we deprive ourselves of that great Center, where the soul finds rest. We are tossed and agitated by passing events. Every thing is perplexed, mysterious, and hopeless.

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

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