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, February 6, 2015

Evidences of an Overruling Providence

To the eye of a disciplined and comprehensive faith, the footsteps of God, as they are left in the great pathway of nations, are as plain as if they were impressed and written there in letters of light. God is to be found in the dust of Nineveh and the ruins of Thebes. If he raised them to mighty power, he also, in the day of his righteous retribution, clothed them in sackcloth, and made them desolate. It was God who planted the Israelites in Egypt in the condition of slavery, and who afterwards employed them in the punishment of their masters, and then led them to the overthrow of the corrupt nations of Palestine. The Israelites themselves had their day of progress and decline, according as they walked in God's ways, or were disobedient. It was God, making the crime of human ambition the blind but effective instrument in fulfilling his own mighty purposes, who called the Assyrians from the banks of the Euphrates to the overthrow of the Israelites The Assyrians, in their turn, with Babylon, their immense city, fell under the arm of the destroyer. God found an instrument of his mighty purposes where none was supposed to exist. He raised up the Persian Cyrus, and called him by name many years before his birth, and said, "I will go before thee." And again, "I am the Lord, and there is none else; there is no God besides me. I girded thee, though thou hast not known me." — Isa. 45: 8.

The contemplative mind will see, in the history of all nations, not excepting those of modern times, the evidences of an overruling Providence. They stand or fall as  they stand in or out of God. When nations have obeyed him, they have lived. When they have forgotten him, they have been destroyed. To forget God is to sin. And all sin has in itself an element of self-destruction. It is internal disorganization and weakness as well as immorality. And it is not in the power of God, while it continues sin, and is thus placed out of the reach of his protection, to save it either from decay or sorrow. With no divine arm under it, it is prostrated by its own recumbence. But as it lies scattered and decayed in the ashes of successive generations, it shows the burning footprints of the divine displeasure.

Such is the true idea of Divine Providence; extending to all things which exist, to things animate and inanimate, organized and unorganized, to plants, and trees, and animals, to men, to families, to nations; wide as the universe, sleepless as the divine omniscience, effective as the supreme power; always holding in respect, however, the moral freedom of all moral agents, and inviting, without forcibly compelling, them to accept that daily bread of superintendence and love which is the true element of everlasting life.

A Treatise on Divine Union (1851) Part 6, Chapter 1.

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