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, June 5, 2015

Excessive Curiosity as Idolatry

The man, who indulges in excessive curiosity, makes this indulgence, in other words, his love of some new thing, his IDOL. The tyranny, which the love of news exercises over him, is as strong and as terrible, as the tyranny, which the love of his possessions exercises over the mind of the miser. And it is not too much to say of him, that he worships NEWS as really and as strongly, as other men worship MONEY. And how can we suppose, that the love of God, which is inconsistent with the inordinate love of every thing else, can take up its residence in a heart that is in this situation?

We trust that none will pervert these important views. The principle of curiosity is one of the most important and powerful principles of our nature. But it varies in its exercise. Sometimes, it must be admitted, it is too weak. At other times it so increases in strength as not only to be inordinately active and strong, but so much so as to assume almost a diseased or morbid character. The doctrine, therefore, which we propose, is nothing more nor less than this, viz.: That this powerful and important principle should be properly regulated. It ought to be as strictly and carefully brought to the test of supreme rectitude, as any other internal principle, such as the love of society, or the natural desire of esteem, or of happiness. We are bound, as seekers or professors of holiness, to pray for direction in what we shall know, as much as we are to pray for direction in what we shall do. And unless this rule is constantly and devoutly observed, no person is at liberty to indulge the belief, that he is acceptable with God.

Let us not forget the awful lesson, which stands written in the early records of our fallen race. When our first parent, under the instigations of Satan, who declared to her that she should be as gods, "knowing good and evil," beheld the fruit of the forbidden tree, as desirable to make one wise, she took it and did eat. How much better, we may well exclaim, in view of an event attended with such melancholy results, is ignorance with holiness, than knowledge with transgression! — Knowing, then, the dangers, generally so little understood and so little suspected, of an unrestrained and unhallowed curiosity, may we go to the great Teacher, who will never guide us wrong. The language of our blessed Savior is, "LEARN OF ME, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest to your souls." We need not fear that he will consign us to any ignorance which is really unprofitable.  It is true,  He will not, like the great enemy of our race, direct to the pursuit of any form of knowledge which will involve us in destruction; but he will encourage us in the pursuit of true knowledge. It is given to the people of Christ, in his own cheering expressions, "to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven." And while, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, they will be permitted to become acquainted with all those forms of secular knowledge which are truly desirable and proper, the great subjects of their thoughts and inquiries will be the truths and mysteries of the heavenly kingdom. And thus grace and peace shall be multiplied to them, "through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord."

— edited from The Interior or Hidden Life (1844) Part 2, Chapter 7.

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