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, May 2, 2015

Simplicity of Spirit

There is a state of mind which is properly expressed by the phrase  SIMPLICITY OF SPIRIT. It is a state of mind simplified; —  that is to say, a state which is prompted in its views and actions by the  simple or single motive of God's will, instead of being led in various directions and multiplied,  as it were, by worldly motives, such as pride, pleasure, anger, honor, riches and the like. Being one in its controlling element, having its thought, its feeling, and its action subjected to the domination of a single principle, it cannot be multiplied. Like the law of gravitation in the natural world, it is not only one and undivided in itself, but always tends to one and the same center.

Such simplicity is aided, in being carried into action, by the providential law. The multiplied man is full of worldly schemes. The  simple  man, being in harmony with God's will, forms no plans and enters upon no schemes, except such as are suggested by God's providences. And the consequence is, that he ceases from all those anxious forecastings and calculations, which result from a worldly spirit. As he receives what God now gives, and does not wish to receive anything else; so he does what God now requires him to do, without wishing to do otherwise. Everyday, made up of its various incidents and events, constitutes a map, on which Providence has drawn the path which he is to pursue. As each coming hour unrolls this map before his eye of faith, and before his heart of love, he promptly takes his position, step by step, without knowing at each moment where he shall be, and what he shall do, in the next moment.

It is obvious, therefore, that it is not possible for him to lay down future plans, or to make any such calculations, to be carried into effect at a future time, as have a fixed and absolute character. So far as he exercises what may be termed a prudent foresight, and forms plans of future action, it is always done in subjection to the developments of Providence.

The worldly man, in the independence of a worldly spirit, says he will do this or that, whatever it may be, which is most pleasing to him. He will go to some distant city, to Jerusalem, to Athens, to Rome, to London, and bring many things to pass. But the man who is possessed of a holy simplicity of spirit,  true to the inscrutable law of Providence, is like a little child. Without excluding a prudential foresight, which is always conditional in its applications, he says, I will go to the designated place, if the Lord wills; or I will do this or that, if the Lord wills.  And it cannot be doubted, if this condition of action is not always expressed, it is at least always implied.

A Treatise on Divine Union (1851) Part 6, Chapter 7.

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