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.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Peck: Being Shut Up to the Present

Guest blog by Methodist Bishop Jesse T. Peck (1811-1883).

"The just shall live by faith."

You will be shut up to the present. The past will have no power to annoy you, for it is all atoned in the blood of Christ, which is your salvation. The future is to give you no concern, for it is not yours. You may never meet the cares and trials which your mind would naturally suggest. You may be in heaven before the day of tribulation comes; and, if not, your safety is with him to whom you have committed your all. He will cover you with his hand "until the indignation be overpast." For all the future, you are to trust in God without wavering. And how is life thus simplified? Am I now wholly the Lord's? Not, was I at some former time? Not, shall I be next year, next week, next moment, but now is it all right? Would that all Christians could obtain the power to live by the moment. It reduces indefinitely the concern of the soul, makes every thing a present passing reality, and secures the practicability of perfect contentment. It is easy to examine the present, — to settle the question of gracious acceptance now; but impossible to decide the future, only by the faith that determines the present. Am I now glorifying God in my body and spirit which are his? Am I now doing his will? Does the blood of Jesus now cleanse me from all sin? Then it is all well. I have no other concern. As each succeeding moment of the future comes, it will be a present moment, and disposable in the same way. Here at least the wholly sanctified must rest; and this is the method of adjusting the question of responsibility. To ask what it will be, and shrink from its future demands, will be to involve the soul in doubt, and it may be inextricable difficulty. It is true the purest Christian has a future; but it is the future of faith, of hope, of divine revelation, and not of anxiety. The plans of a sound discretion in the light of the present and the past must extend into the future. A prudent foresight belongs eminently to faith, but it is the exercise of confidence and submission. "Thy will be done," is the clearest expression of choice and purpose. Surely this is not a responsibility to be dreaded. There is much more that is fearful and perilous in the responsibility of living without holiness.

— edited from The Central Idea of Christianity (1876) Chapter 5.

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