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, October 24, 2015

A Person of Faith and Prayer May Have Great Influence

Think not that nothing can be done, because thou art little in the eyes of this world. The result does not depend upon what thou art in the world, but upon what thou art in God. It is God only, who is the source of all good. Various are the instruments he employs. He selects them, and he places them in the appropriate situations to be used by him. The power, whether it be more or less, is not in the instrument, in itself considered, but in God, who selects and locates it. In a multitude of instances has the declaration of the apostle been illustrated, that "God hath chosen the weak things of the world, to confound the things which are mighty." [1 Corinthians 1:27.] A man of faith and prayer, however humble his situation in life, may yet have influence enough to affect the destiny of nations.

I will refer to an instance, which seems to be appropriate in this connection, and will illustrate what has now been said. Some years since, I was acquainted with an individual who has now gone to his rest and his reward. I have reference to the late William Ladd, the mention of whose name will recall cherished recollections to many hearts. In early life, he followed the sea; — in the course of a few years he became the commander of a merchant  vessel, and acquired some amount of property. On quitting the sea, he purchased a farm in the inland town of Minot, in the state of Maine. On reading a tract on peace, written by one of the former presidents of Bowdoin College, he was led to reflect upon the inconsistency of war with the Gospel. Having enjoyed favorable opportunities of education before going to sea, and being a person of a strong mind, he conceived the idea of putting an end to war throughout the world by means of a Congress of Nations, which should have power to establish an international code, and also a High Court of Nations. What a mighty project to be brought about by such limited agency!

A few years before his death, I visited his retired residence. He showed me the room in which he had written the numerous papers, and even volumes, on the subject of war. Walking with him in one of his beautiful fields, he pointed to a small cluster of trees at a little distance, and said, "It was beneath those trees that I solemnly consecrated myself in prayer to this one work of impressing upon the minds of men the principles of peace." For many years he spent a large portion of his time in going from city to city, and from town to town, in almost all parts of the United States, introducing the subject of peace to associations of ministers, conversing with all classes of persons in relation to it, and lecturing wherever he could find an audience. I met with him often, and have been deeply affected with his simplicity and fixedness of purpose.  He fully believed that God had inspired within him that central idea, around which the labors of his life turned. And those who knew him intimately, could hardly fail to be impressed with a similar conviction. He corresponded with distinguished individuals in Europe; — he scattered his numerous tracts and other writings on this momentous subject in all parts of the world. For many years the important movements of the American Peace Society appeared to rest upon him far more than upon any other individual. He died; and although he was preceded and has been followed by others of a kindred spirit, he was the means under God, of giving an impulse to the cause of peace, which is felt throughout the world. Society, penetrated by the great thought of universal pacification, seems to be brought to a pause. At Brussels, at Paris, at Frankfort-on-the-Maine, at London, we see nations, as it were, assembled in great Congresses, and consulting on their position and duties, in consequence of the impulse which God was pleased to communicate, in a great degree, through the labors of this comparatively humble individual. Let us not, then, look upon the outward person or the outward situation. It is one of the attributes of God to deduce great results from small causes. Wherever there is faith in God, there is power, — whatever may be the situation of the person who exercises it.

— edited from A Treatise on Divine Union (1851) Part 7, Chapter 7.

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