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 7, 2014

Sympathy With God

Holy sympathy, in distinction from mere natural sympathy, is discriminating.  That is to say,  it is restricted and modified, so far as it relates to man, by the operation of the still higher form of the same principle, which may be described as sympathy with God. Holy sympathy, in being the offspring of holy love, is not like that weak sympathy generated from the natural heart, which modifies kindness by selfishness, and seeks a momentary relief of the sufferer rather than the ultimate and greatest good. Having its origin in the Divine Nature, it is always, in its operations and results, subjected to the providence and will of God. And, accordingly, it sometimes exists where it does not find itself at liberty to relieve the suffering for which it feels. It is not in the nature of holy sympathy, however intense it may be, to do anything which is wrong. And, accordingly, the person whose heart harmonizes with God, never undertakes to relieve that suffering which God, in his providence, evidently imposes for the good of him who is afflicted. His sympathy with God's ultimate designs regulates the tendencies of his sympathy for the sufferer.

And thus regulated, the principle of sympathy, springing as it does from holy love, is one of the most important and effective elements of a holy life. It links the divine with the human, the upright with the fallen, the angel with the man. It has been the moving impulse, the life, of good men in all ages of the world. It detached Moses from the court of Egypt, that it might unite him with the sufferers of the desert; it poured its energies into the heart of Paul, and carried him from nation to nation: in modern times, it has carried devoted missionaries into all parts of the world; it moves the hearts of angels, of whom it is said, "there is joy among the angels in heaven over one sinner that repenteth." It achieved its mightiest triumph when the Saviour of the world, clothing himself in human form, chose to be smitten and die upon the cross rather than separate himself from the interests of fallen humanity.

A Treatise on Divine Union (1851) Part 4, Chapter 7.

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