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.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The Restoration of Human Society

In proportion as the influences of  Christianity are more generally and fully felt, there will be a gradual restoration of human society in all its aspects; — so that, while we cannot always foresee what precise form it will take, we may say, in general terms, that it will be made to harmonize perfectly with the principles of the Gospel.

Civil society, or society as it exists between man and man united together in the state, is very imperfect. It is true that the great law of progress, which insures the ultimate triumph of good over evil, has reached and beneficially affected the combined man of the state, as well as the man of the family, and the man individual. Men in various ages of the world, Solon, Lycurgus, Burns, among the legislators of antiquity, and other wise and benevolent men of later times, have endeavored to improve civil society; and their efforts have not been without success. But, after all  that  has been done, it is still attended with great imperfection.

The imperfection of human society is the necessary result of the imperfection of those human laws which give it shape and sustain it. Human laws are imperfect for the simple reason, (at least it is not necessary to mention other reasons,) that the human mind, which is the maker of human law, is not omniscient. Law is, or ought to be, the expression of perfect right. Consequently, there is and can be but one perfect lawgiver, namely, God himself. Man, by the very fact of his creation and dependence, is properly the  subject of law, and not the author of law. It is one of the remarks of Hooker, the distinguished author of the work entitled "Ecclesiastical Polity," that the "seat of law is in the bosom of God." Consequently, if views and remarks of this kind are justly entitled to consideration, human law will be perfected, and human society, so far as it is sustained by law, will be perfected, just in proportion as the God of the universe descends and takes possession, and becomes the God of the human mind. When that is the case, law will be the expression of right; and it will not be more just and right in itself, than it will be just and right in its individual application.

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

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