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, May 31, 2016

God is the Life of Nature & Events

God's providence extends both to things and events. Inanimate nature, even in the lowest forms, is under the divine care. Not a rock is placed without a hand that placed it. Not a tree grows without a divine vitality, which is the inspiration of its growth. Not a wave of the ocean rolls without the power of God's presence to propel it. The storms and the earthquakes are the Lord’s.

God is thus the life of nature. And the man who is in harmony with God, has no controversy with him in any of these things. On the contrary, he accepts all, is at peace with all.

God is also the life of events, including in that term human actions. There is no good action which is not from God. The wisdom of the Supreme mind is the good man’s inspiration. And, on the other hand,  there is no evil action which God does not notice, and over which he has not some degree of control. The essence of evil actions, it is well understood, is the evil motive from which they proceed, —  a motive which is not and cannot be from God; but still, God will not allow the action, which proceeds from the motive, to take effect, except in the manner and the degree which pleases him. In other words, God has the prerogative, which can pertain only to an infinite being, of overruling evil, and of bringing good out of it. So that there is a providence of evil as well as a providence of good. And hence, the good man can be in peace even when the evil man triumphs, because he knows that the "triumphing of the wicked is short."

— edited from A Treatise on Divine Union (1851) Part 8, Chapter 6.

Monday, May 30, 2016

No Longer at War with Providence

The sinful man has no true peace, among other sources of disquiet, because his position is at variance with Providence. One view to be taken of sin, is, that it is war. It is not only war against God's character, but against his commands; not only war against his commands, but against his providential arrangements. God has one way and plan of arrangement; the sinful man, who is in a state of rebellion against God, has another plan. The center of God's arrangements is benevolence or the love of all; the center of the sinful man's arrangements is the inordinate love of himself. Radiating from such different centers, the plans which are formed continually come in conflict. Under such circumstances it is impossible that the sinner should have rest. Finding himself face to face in opposition to what God has determined, and thus in conflicting lines of movement, he is continually met and counteracted, continually smitten and driven back. His life is a warfare commenced and carried on under the most hopeless circumstances; a warfare attended everywhere and unceasingly with discomfiture and suffering.

On the contrary, the man who is united with God in the possession of a common central feeling, is necessarily united with him in all the movements and arrangements which he makes. In other words, he rests from the perplexities and uncertainties of making his own choice, by accepting, under all circumstances, the choice which his heavenly Father has made for him. With the exception of sin, God's choice never varies, and never can vary, from the facts and incidents of that state of things which now exists. And it is this choice, however painful it may be in some of its personal relations, which the godly man takes and sanctions as his own. So that his choice being already made by the unvarying adoption of that which is from God, he may be said not to have any preference of his own, but to rest from his own choice, that he may repose in God's choice. And God's choice is only another name for his providence. There is, therefore, no conflict; there never can be any.

— edited from A Treatise on Divine Union (1851) Part 8, Chapter 6.

Saturday, May 28, 2016


Indifference to religion is a great evil. Indifference to SELF, (that is to say, indifference to our own interests considered as separate from those of God,) is a great good. Such is the nature of the human mind that we cannot be indifferent to every thing. To say, therefore, that we are indifferent to ourselves, if we properly recognize and feel the relations we sustain, and if we say it in a Christian spirit, is essentially the same thing as to say, that we possess a heart truly given to God. Self is forgotten, in order that God may be remembered; SELF is crucified in order that God may live in the soul.

Religious Maxims (1846) CLXXIX.

Friday, May 27, 2016

The Promise of the Lord

We  thank Thee, Lord, before 'tis done;
We know Thy promise doth endure;
And battles fought are battles won,
Because Thy word is sure.

Look back, and confirmation see
In the long history of years;
When God hath uttered his decree,
No place remains for fears.

There's something brighter than the light
Of burnish'd spear and gleaming sword;
Gird on the heavenly armor bright,
The strength of God's great word.

Behold the boasting foemen flee
With flags and cohorts crush'd and broken;
'Tis God, that gives the victory;
The Lord himself hath spoken.

Christ in the Soul (1872) LIV.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

God No Respecter of Persons

"My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of Glory, with respect  of persons." "Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world, rich in faith, and heirs of the  kingdom, which he hath promised to them that love him?"  James ii. 1, 5.

BEHOLD yon poor old man, that plods along,
Sadly and slowly in the crowded street.
How beggarly! Of those whom he doth meet,
Scarce one doth note him in that countless throng.
The very winds make sport of him, and rend
His tattered garments rude. Yet  do not deem,
That he is all so lost, as he doth seem.
Though all desert him else, he hath one friend.
There is a God, who hath an equal eye,
Who marks the high, nor spurns the lowly one;
The wretched, whom the world pass scornfully,
May be the blood-bought purchase of' his Son.
He deeper looks than the outside of things;
The beggar's soul to Him is as the soul of kings.

American Cottage Life (1850) XXXIV.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Despise Not the Beginnings

"The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed which  a man took and sowed in his field; which indeed is the least of  all  seeds; but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree." Matt. xiii. 31, 32.

See, how beyond the hills, the morning bright
Doth write its coming with a single ray;
But gleam is joined to gleam, and light to light,
Till feeblest dawn expands to perfect day.
Despise not the beginnings.  When the heart
Receives, however small, the primal beam,
Which God doth to the new-born soul impart,
Revere and cherish its incipient gleam.
Though the first ray from Heaven's eternal throne,
The frail young shoot from Glory's morning star,
Yet fostered well, it dwelleth not alone,
But grows in its own light, and shineth far,
And bindeth ray with ray, till what was one,
Compacted of itself, expands a new-born sun.

American Cottage Life (1850) XXXIII.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Cooperation With God: Living by the Moment

God requires a constant cooperation; a cooperation moment by moment; what some writers have described "living to God by the moment."  It is an universal law, unalterable as God is and lasting as eternity, that no created being can be truly holy, useful, or happy, who is knowingly and deliberately out of the line of divine cooperation, even for a moment. Accordingly we are to consider every moment as consecrated to God. It is true, that, in order to the full and assured life of God in the soul, there must be the general act of Consecration... which is understood to relate to a man's whole nature, and to cover the whole ground of time and eternity. And we may say further, that it is proper to recall distinctly to mind and to repeat at suitable times the general act of Consecration: but it does not appear to be necessary, in the strict sense of the terms or in any other sense than that of repeating it, to RENEW it, unless it has been, at some period really withdrawn. But while the general act remains good, and diffuses its consecrative influence over the whole course of our being, it is necessary to consecrate ourselves in particulars, as the events or occasions of such particular consecration may successively arise. And in the remark, as we now wish it to be understood, we do not mean merely those events, which, while they are distinct, are peculiarly marked and important; but all events of whatever character. In other words, although we may have consecrated ourselves to God in a general way and by an universal act of consecration, in all respects and for all time, we must still consecrate ourselves to him in each separate duty and trial, which his Providence imposes, and moment by moment.  The present moment, therefore, is, in a special sense, the important moment, the divine moment; the moment, which we cannot safely pass, without having the divine blessing upon it.

Thus extensive is the doctrine of divine cooperation, when it is rightly understood. How thankful should we be, thus to be permitted, to enter into partnership, insignificant as we are, and to become co-workers with God! Such was the life of Enoch, of Abraham, of Daniel, of John, of Paul. How the idea of the life of man, thus united with the life and activity of God, throws discouragement and dishonor upon all low and groveling pursuits, and at once elevates and sanctifies our nature!

— edited from The Interior or Hidden Life (2nd edition, 1844) Part 3, Chapter 5.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Cooperation With God: Receptivity

In accordance with the commonly received doctrine of "preventing" or prevenient grace, we remark further, that, in cooperating with God, it seems to be necessary, that we should be in a state of recipiency, rather than of communication. In other words, it being admitted that we have nothing of our own which we can communicate or give to God, it would seem to follow, that our cooperation, so far as it has an existence at all, must depend upon the fact of our receiving from him. Accordingly it seems to be our great duty, by meekness and simplicity of heart, by freedom from worldly vanities and entire self-renunciation, to put ourselves in the true receptive attitude. We must remember, especially as unbelief is apt to find its way in at this entrance, that God is always ready to communicate himself; we need not fear that our divine associate in this great co-partnership will be found wanting. On the contrary, it is his desire, his delight, his highest happiness to communicate himself. And the reason why he does not communicate himself to all men at once, is the existence in their bosoms of obstacles, which they themselves have voluntarily placed there. So that the highest honor and the highest power of man is, having put away these obstacles, to wait upon God, in the exercise of simple faith, for the reception of the divine sufficiency.

But some will perhaps inquire, in connection with the views now presented, Shall we remain inactive? I reply, that man is justly and efficiently active, when he is active in communication with God; and yet remaining deeply in his own sphere of nothingness. Man never acts to higher and nobler purpose, than when, in the realization of his own comparative nihility, he places himself in the receptive position, and lets God work in him. He, who is receptive, is neither idle nor unprofitable. In the intercourse between man and his Maker, it is the receptive and not the communicative activity, which is the source of truth, riches, and power. The religious man, in his receptive activity, is like the earth, (so far as we can compare things mental with material,) which receives into its ploughed and expanded bosom the morning dew and the summer shower and the daily sunshine; that thus, by being prepared to receive them and by being endowed with abundant communications from without and above, it may subsequently become rich in itself; and in its own vitality, as it were, be crowned with fruit and flower. Or perhaps we may say more appropriately, that he is like those scholars, who are impressed with a sense of their own inferiority and ignorance, and are willing to sit patiently and humbly at the feet of their distinguished teachers, that they may grow in knowledge. Their minds are receptive, but not inert; are in the attitude of listening, but are not idle. They ultimately, in the way of cooperation with what they have received, become fruitful in themselves; but it is only because they are humble and attentive recipients in the first instance.

— edited from The Interior or Hidden Life (2nd edition, 1844) Part 3, Chapter 5.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Cooperation With God: Dependency

When we enter into the state of cooperation with God, we must feel, that our agency is entirely dependent and secondary in all the subsequent progress of the work, whatever it is, not less than in its incipient stages. I know that man has will, and that he has power. It would be a great error to deny or to doubt it. But it is equally true, that he is dependent; and that, in a very important sense, he has nothing. We must, therefore, not only begin in our nothingness; but must be willing to remain in it. It is a partnership, where we must realize, that not only all the capital; but, when properly considered, that all the personal operative power are from one source. Man works, it is true; but God works  IN him. Man's working without God's working, as the basis of it, is of no avail. Man's strength is in God's strength, Hence there must be no undue anxiety, no unsuitable and excited eagerness, no methods and plans of action, originated and prosecuted on worldly principles; which necessarily implies some distrust of the skill and resources of the great Being, who has thus condescended to work by means of human instrumentality. We must move when God moves; stop when He stops; deliberate when He deliberates; act when He acts. Any assumption on our part of superior wisdom or strength, any disposition to move in anticipation of his movement, or in any way to forestall the divine intimations, would be getting not only out of the position of dependence and nothingness, but out of the line of cooperation.

— edited from The Interior or Hidden Life (2nd edition, 1844) Part 3, Chapter 5.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Cooperation With God: Strict Impartiality

In order to realize personally the conditions of divine cooperation, which have been mentioned, it is necessary to be mentally in a state of PASSIVITY, as it is sometimes expressed; or more properly and truly, of strict impartiality before God. In other words, we must be willing to submit ourselves to the divine guidance, without the least resistance or bias of mind; remaining in the attitude of silent and sincere waiting upon God, that we may learn from Him what he would have us to do; and also at what time and in what manner. The language of our souls must be essentially that of the Psalmist, when he exclaimed, "My soul, wait thou only upon the Lord; for my expectation is from him." And it is implied in this especially, that our minds should not be under the influence of prejudice or of wrong passion in any form. When the mind has arrived at the state of entire submission and of holy impartiality, resulting in the removal of the stains of prejudice and the shades of passion, it resembles a clear and bright mirror; reflecting easily and distinctly the desires and purposes of God. In this state of mind, it is easy to leave every thing with Him; to receive from Him implicitly the annunciation of the thing to be done, and also all the attendant conditions of doing it. God is pleased to be present with, and to operate in such a soul. The Holy Spirit teaches it; and it has both the power to hear and the spirit to obey. But in any other condition of mind there must necessarily be a conflict between the agitated and self-interested will of the creature and the decisions of the Supreme Mind.

— edited from The Interior or Hidden Life (2nd edition, 1844) Part 3, Chapter 5.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Cooperation With God: The Proper Manner

We are not, while we leave to God to ascertain the object to be done and the time of doing it, to undertake to decide for ourselves as to the MANNER of doing it.

We know how it is in ordinary life. A servant sometimes, or even a son will do what the master or father has commanded, and do it at the right time; but will do it perhaps with excitement and rudeness of feeling, without true cordiality of heart and that laborious care, which might reasonably be expected. It is true, that we have here the essentials of a visible and operative cooperation; but it is evident, that we have not that higher inward and mental cooperation, which God requires. We  must cooperate cordially. If we are associated with others, we must be willing to take the first place or the last place, to act as leader or servant just as God chooses. We must also take any part of the work, which God sees fit to impose upon us; that which is esteemed low and degrading, as well as that which is more agreeable to refinement of taste and to prevailing notions of honor and dignity. In every thing of this kind, and in every thing else which can properly be included in the MANNER of doing what God imposes, we are required to follow cheerfully and unhesitatingly the indications of the Divine Will. Otherwise there is no true co-operation.

— edited from The Interior or Hidden Life (2nd edition, 1844) Part 3, Chapter 5.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Cooperation With God: The Proper Time

We  are  not, while we leave to God to ascertain the object to be done, to undertake of ourselves to prescribe the TIME of doing it.

God has not only a work to be done, but He also has a time of doing it. His time is the right time; and no other time is. David was willing to build a house of worship for the Lord. But the time, which infinite wisdom prescribed for this great work, had not arrived. And in the spirit of acquiescence, he left it to his successor. In repeated instances the Savior expressed the sentiment, that "his hour was not yet come"; implying very evidently that the great events of his life, whether of action or of suffering, had their appropriate time. And neither the protestations of friends nor the dictation of enemies could induce Him to violate the maxims of true wisdom, by anticipating, even for a moment, that appropriate period. If, therefore, we gird ourselves for action, however good the object to be done may be, either before the appropriate time or after it, we do not cooperate with God, who always acts precisely at the right time.

This is a point, which it is very important to remember. Persons are more likely to fall into error here, than in the particular which was first mentioned. There is a sort of latent feeling, (a very unrighteous feeling it is,) that if God is permitted exclusively to designate the object, we should have some degree of liberty in exercising our own wisdom, either partially or wholly, in the designation of the time, In other words, we are apt to feel, that a less perfect submission is required in regard to the time, than in regard to the object. This tendency must be carefully guarded against.

— edited from The Interior or Hidden Life (2nd edition, 1844) Part 3, Chapter 5.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Cooperation With God: What We Shall Do

It is very obvious, that man, considered as a rational and voluntary being, is designed for action. And when we consider the relation of entire dependence, which man sustains to his Creator, it is no less obvious, that human action ought to assume and to maintain the shape of cooperation with God. This is designed to be, and it ought to be, the great object of our life, viz. COOPERATION WITH GOD.

In endeavoring to ascertain the principles of this important subject, we remark in the first place, that we are not to undertake to decide for ourselves, (that is to say, by a reference to our own wishes merely,) what we are to do, and what we are not to do. Such a course would exhibit  a disposition to cooperate with ourselves, if we may so express it, rather than with God. On the contrary, realizing deeply the general fact of our liability to error, we should ever be in that state of mind, which will lead us with meekness and simplicity to inquire what our heavenly Father will have us to do. We should have no choice of our own, which shall be, in any degree whatever, at variance with his choice. The thing to be done, whatever it may be, must be left with him. This is one condition, on which we can cooperate with God; and without which it is evident, that no acceptable cooperation with Him can take place.

— edited from The Interior or Hidden Life (2nd edition, 1844) Part 3, Chapter 5.

Monday, May 16, 2016

God's Friendship

Human friendships, resting on the changeable foundation of humanity, cannot be more stable, more enduring, than the frail foundation which supports them. They exist to-day; and too often are dissolved and scattered to-morrow. But he, who on Christian principles possesses God's friendship will never find him changing and different in future from what he is at present. He is a friend to-day, to-morrow, and for ever.

Religious Maxims (1846) CLXXVIII.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Are We Standing Where We Should?

It  is sometimes a serious and important question with the Christian, whether he is in his right position, standing precisely where he should stand, in the order of God's providence. In order to understand what we ought to do under such circumstances, we should be faithful, in the first place, to every obligation, which our present situation imposes; so that there shall be found within us no condemnations and rebukes of conscience for neglect of duty. And discharging our duties in this manner, we should remain calmly and quietly where we are, till the providences of God shall so clearly open another situation, that conscience, enlightened by the Holy Ghost, (as the conscience of a truly consecrated man always is,) shall condemn us for not leaving the present one.

Religious Maxims (1846) CLXXVII.

Friday, May 13, 2016

When Our Ministries Do Not Bear Fruit

There are few situations more trying than those in which we find our labors for the spiritual good of others fruitless. It requires strong faith, especially in ministers of the Gospel, not to find the yoke of God's providence, which binds us to such a situation, a heavy one. Nevertheless it is possible, that the duty which we owe to our heavenly Father, requires us to stay there with the same submission and the same grateful confidence, which reconcile us to other trying circumstances.

Religious Maxims (1846) CLXXVI.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

When Private Times are Injurious

Seasons of retirement and of private communion with God, are of great value; but they ought never to be sought and indulged in, at the expense of those more social and public duties, to which the providence of God clearly calls us. Such a course, which could originate only in the reality of selfishness under the appearance of sincere devotion, would be a violation of God's will, and would be exceedingly injurious.

Religious Maxims (1846) CLXXV.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

All for the Best

We dare not doubt, that all will end
In what is good, and true, and best;
That all we suffer here will tend
To make us pure, and wise, and blest.

'Tis true, rebellious thoughts arraign
The mysteries of God's decree;
But hearts of love will not complain
Of aught, that hath its source in Thee.

'Tis Thine, to mold us at Thy will,
Oh God, the artist of the soul;
'Tis ours, to sit, in meekness, still,
Beneath the blows, that make us whole.

Then smite us here, and smite us there,
As best Thy Providence shall find;
Afflictions, sent from heaven, repair,
And mold, and beautify the mind.

Christ in the Soul (1872) LIII.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Judge Not

Oh, do not judge thy fellow man;
Reproachful epithets forbear;
He hath his place in Heaven's great plan;
The God, who made, hath placed him there.

He's POOR. But in his rags behold
A heart  of  pure and high intent;
And if his form is bent and old,
It  is no cause of merriment.

Perhaps he's EVIL. Let thy prayer
Implore the God of truth and grace,
That soon his footsteps may repair
To virtue's bright and better ways.

OH, DO NOT JUDGE HIM. Hadst thou been,
Cast out like him to pine and die,
Thou too, allur'd and stain'd by sin,
Hadst needed tears of sympathy.

Christ in the Soul (1872) LII.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Freedom From the Fear of God's Displeasure

And, what is greater than all, the man who in the exercise of faith is fully united to God has rest from the fear of the divine displeasure.

 John Climachus, one of the devout and learned anchorites of Mount Sinai, in referring to the inward state of a holy man with whose history he had become acquainted, represents the divine grace to have been so marked and powerful in its operations as to have taken away from him apparently even the fear of God. Although such expressions are liable to be misunderstood, it is beyond question that they are susceptible of a meaning which involves an important truth. It is a universal truth, applicable in all times and situations, and not a particular truth limited to specific cases, that  "perfect love casts out fear."  Love and fear, in their very nature, are antagonistical principles. Where love rules, fear is extinguished. The triumph of the one is necessarily the exclusion of the other.

But, in laying down this universal principle, we must have a regard to the meaning of terms. The fear which is based upon the consciousness of guilt, is a different thing from that fear which is synonymous with reverence. It is certain, where love is perfected in the heart, that all fear which results from sin is extinguished. In that sense of the term, or rather with that limitation of the use of the term, the holy man ceases to fear. God has no sooner merged the character of a judge in that of a friend, than the man of God delights to be with him, and to converse with him. It is no more his nature to flee from God under the influence of sinful fear, than it is the nature of an innocent child to flee from its mother. He rests, like calm and helpless infancy, on the arm that is wreathed with lightnings. The lightnings have no terror for innocence; but rather, divested of everything which can harm it, they shine like flowers, and play round it like sunbeams. But to those who are in a state of fear, originating in sin, they retain the terrors of their original nature, smiting with a power which rends the rocks in pieces, and burning with a consuming fire.

— edited from A Treatise on Divine Union (1851) Part 8, Chapter 5.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Freed From the Fear of Other People

The man, in whom the divine nature is reconstituted, is freed from the fear of his fellow-man. It is one of the artifices of Satan to attack holy men through the aids of those who are unholy; by employing their lips in the utterance of evil surmises and falsehoods, and sometimes by exciting them to more open attacks. The holy man leaves his cause with God. He would not plead it himself if he could. He stands without fear, as Christ did before the bar of Pilate, in the sublimity of  a triumphant silence. He rejoices in spirit, knowing that, at the appointed time, when faith and patience have had their perfect work, he shall hear the voice of his own great Defender.

Nay more, armies of men, as well as individuals, have ceased to cause terror. Dungeons, which nations have erected, bring no alarm. He has no fear, because he finds the defense of the future in the history of the past. The walls of cities have fallen before the voice of the Lord. Brazen gates have been sundered. Iron chains have been separated like flax at the touch of fire. What has been, will be. No power can hurt him, because infinite power is his protection. And even if there is no direct interposition, and evil men are allowed to triumph for a time, the sense of suffering is overwhelmed and lost in the joy that he is accounted worthy to suffer.

— edited from A Treatise on Divine Union (1851) Part 8, Chapter 5.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Freed From the Fear of Sickness and Death

The man who in the exercise of faith is fully united to God, is delivered from the fear of sickness and death. Undoubtedly, in themselves considered, sickness and death are afflictions. The truly devoted and godly man understands this as well as others. But fully believing that all things work together for the good of those who love God, he is freed from anxiety. He welcomes suffering, when God sends it, in whatever form it may come. The physical suffering and weakness which attend upon sickness, become means of growth in grace; and, so far from being causes of complaint, are welcomed and rejoiced in as the forerunners of increased purity and happiness. And while many are constantly subject to bondage, through fear of death, the holy man looks upon it as the end of sorrow and the beginning of glory.

— edited from A Treatise on Divine Union (1851) Part 8, Chapter 5.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Rest From Disquieting Fears

The soul which is brought into entire harmony with God, has rest from all disquieting fears. It is a declaration of the Scriptures, and is no less evident from one's own consciousness, that "fear hath torment.” 1 John 4:18.  In all cases, fear diminishes happiness; and, when it is very great, it is almost inconsistent with any degree of happiness. It  produces distrust; it causes agitation; it sunders friendship; it alienates love. From the wretchedness connected with this state of mind, the holy man has true rest; and no other man has.

Among other things which tend to illustrate these general views, we proceed to remark, that the holy man is delivered from the fear of want. The unrighteous man fears that he will come to want, because he has no faith. On the contrary, where faith and love are perfect, bread will not fail. God will multiply the widow's vessel of oil, or send his ravens, as he did to the famishing prophet, when his people who trust in him are hungry. "I have been young," says the Psalmist, "and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread." Ps. 37:25.

It is proper to add here, it is not the mere fact that God will provide for his people, which delivers from fear; but the belief, the full confidence, that he will do it. And this is not all. The people of God are willing to suffer want, are willing to be as the Savior was, who had no place to lay his head, if God sees it best. In connection with such feelings, it is impossible for fear to exist.

— edited from A Treatise on Divine Union (1851) Part 8, Chapter 5.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Distinguishing the True Movings of the Holy Spirit

The doctrine of present sanctification has much to fear from not accurately distinguishing natural and Satanic impulses from the true movings of the Holy Spirit upon the heart. Many, who ran well for a time, but who afterwards yielded themselves to impulsive influences which were not from the Spirit of God, have wandered into perplexed and divergent paths, to the injury of the cause of holiness and of their own souls. And we would just remark here, that the most interesting and satisfactory illustrations of holy living, which have come under our notice, are the cases of persons, who endeavor constantly to put themselves under the direction of a sanctified intellect; who are willing to do any thing and every thing for the glory of God; but who feel that they need and must have wisdom. These persons can testify, that they are guided by the Holy Spirit; but they can testify also, that the Holy Spirit does not require them to do any thing, which an enlightened and sanctified intellect does not appreciate and approve. And hence their course is marked by consistency and sound discretion. They are not different men at different times, on whom no dependence can be placed. They are always at their post; supporters of the ministry; pillars in the church; patient under opposition and rebuke; faithful in warning sinners; counselors in times of difficulty; mighty in the Scriptures; burning and shining lights in the world. It is such persons, that truly sustain and honor the blessed doctrine of Holiness; presenting before the world the mighty argument of consistent holy living, which unbelievers cannot confute, and which the wicked and the envious are unable to gainsay.

— edited from The Interior or Hidden Life (2nd edition 1844) Part 3, Chapter 4.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Being Like God Means Not Being Impusive

We are continually taught by good men and in the Bible, that we ought to be like our Heavenly Father, to be holy as he is holy, to be perfect as he is perfect. And I suppose it is the general design and aim of Christians, who are striving after high attainments in holiness, to bear this blessed image. But probably we do not any of us conceive of God as acting impulsively and without reflection; as regulating his conduct by the stupid instinct of impressions, without the clear light of perceptive rationality. We should be deeply afflicted and affrighted, in being obliged to ascribe to our Heavenly Father such a character as this.

Similar views will apply to the Savior. He himself says, John 5: 30, "I can of mine own self do nothing. As I hear, I judge; [that is to say, the communications of the Holy Spirit call my judgment into exercise,] and my judgment is just, because, [implying in the remark that he was uninfluenced by any suggestions and impressions from self,] I seek not my own will, but the will of the Father, which hath sent me." Are we not safe, then, if God desires and requires us to be like himself, and to be like him also, whom in the likeness of man He has set before us as our example, in saying, that a judgment, enlightened by the Holy Spirit, is the true guide of our actions, rather than blind impulses and impressions?

It will be recollected, that we do not absolutely deny the occasional existence of impulses and impressions, resulting from the operations of the Spirit of God. But we cannot well avoid the conclusion, that they are entitled to no influence, and are not designed to have any, except in connection with the subsequent action of an awakened and sanctified judgment. And it is this view only, which can rescue them from the imputation of blindness and irrationality, even when they come from a good and right source. When, therefore, we speak of them as blind and irrational, we wish to be understood as speaking of them, as they are in themselves, and without being enlightened by the subsequent action of a sanctified intellect. The subsequent action of the mind, which may always be expected to follow when they come from the Holy Spirit, cannot fail to impart to them a new and interesting character.

— edited from The Interior or Hidden Life (2nd edition 1844) Part 3, Chapter 4.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Leave the Results in the Hands of God

When an action is performed, to which we are prompted by a gracious and not a mere natural or Satanic impulse, but which action is not attended with all those good results, which we expected and hoped, we are entirely acquiescent. We receive the result without trouble of mind. For instance, we are led in the providence of God and under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, to converse with a person on the subject of religion; and contrary to our hope and expectation, he coolly and superciliously rejects our message. The result, though painful, does not disquiet us. We leave it calmly in the hands of God. Whereas a person, who performs an action from an impulse, which is not from the Spirit of God, and who finds the result different from what he expected, will be likely to experience a degree of unsubmissive dissatisfaction, and to show signs of fretfulness.

And I think it a matter of common observation, that Christians, who are governed in a considerable degree by natural or any other impulses not divine, mistaking them for a truly spiritual guidance, are, to use the common expression in the case, "always in trouble;" — sometimes with the church; sometimes with their minister; sometimes with one thing, and sometimes with another; and alas, not unfrequently, although they seem to be wholly unaware of it, with the wisely ordered Providences of God himself. They are not childlike, and meek, and lowly in heart; as those always are, who are truly guided by the Holy Spirit. They are not like the Savior, who, when he was oppressed and afflicted, opened not his mouth, but was led as a lamb to the slaughter.

— edited from The Interior or Hidden Life (2nd edition 1844) Part 3, Chapter 4.