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, June 25, 2016

Labor in Trust

The labor of the holy man ceases to be labor, in the ordinary sense of that term, not only for the reasons which have been mentioned, but because his humble trust in God actually supplies the place, in many cases, of positive effort. In other words, God does now reward him by actually sharing and lightening the burden which is upon him. God, whose happiness consists in the exercise of love, always delights to do the work of his people, when the circumstances are such as to allow him to do it. Man's first work, and, as compared with others, almost his only work, is to return from his sins, and to enter into union with his Maker. From that moment he not only may, but he ought to, give up all anxiety. God will never desert him. God will hold up and inspirit his weary arm. Even if the body labors, the anxieties of the spirit should cease.

See the father of a numerous family.  Day after day he toils without ceasing. Their food, their clothing, their morals, their education, their health, all successively occupy his thoughts, fill him with anxiety, and give him no rest. He is burdened and borne down to the dust, because he attempts to bear the burden alone. If he were a man of perfect faith, he would labor less; and at the same time with greatly improved results. His faith would honor God, and would secure the fulfillment of the promises. It would make God present, because it would necessarily secure the cooperation of his loving nature. And this is not all. It would react upon his own character; — giving clearness to truth, submission in sorrow, strength in temptation, patience under rebuke, and love at all times. So that, under the purifying power of a higher trust, an influence would emanate from his own character. His silence would speak. And the inaction of God, if we may so express it, (that is to say, the silent and quiet operation of God in the soul,) would do more  than the activity of the creature.

Certainly, in  view of such considerations as these, we have great reason for saying, if we cannot safely say anything more, that the labor of the man of God is a very different thing from the labor of the man of the world. It is exempt, at least, from all anxiety. And hence that calmness, which is seated on his brow. No expression of impatience, no scowl of hatred, no frown of anger; but a constant cheerfulness, which shows that the principles of faith and love at the centre make all things easy. It is one of the signs, therefore, of the truly holy man, that he is happy in his work; so much so, that under the existing circumstances, he could not be equally happy without work. So that, virtually, his work is his recreation; his labor is his play.

— edited from A Treatise on Divine Union (1851) Part 8, Chapter 7.

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