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.

Friday, June 24, 2016

The Light Shines of Itself

True holiness acts and influences by its innate tendencies. It merely wants opportunities of action, and not appliances and instigations to action. It is not the language of Scripture, make thy light shine, but let thy light shine. In partially sanctified hearts, where the light is comparatively small, there is a disposition, which, however, in itself considered, is not to be blamed, to set the light off to the best advantage, to place it in favorable positions, to increase it by concentrating it in and reflecting it abroad on the multitude, through the instrumentality of persons of "good reputation." This is laudable under the circumstances. But if the light were full and bright at the center, there would not be need of this additional labor at the circumference. And the reason of this remark is, that it is the nature of holiness to diffuse itself, if there are no obstacles in the way. It cannot conceal itself, if it would. The first thing is its existence; the next is, to let it shine; — not to hide it, but to let it be; — stationed as it is by the wisdom of a heavenly position as well as bright by a heavenly radiance.

The light of Jesus Christ shone brightly long before he commenced his public apostolic life. It shone, because brightness was in his nature; and, therefore, it was his nature to shine. When he was very young, it was said of him, by lips which repeated it to others, that there is a lad in the town of Nazareth, living in a poor and retired family, who has God with him.  His  candle first diffused its light in a very small circle; but within the limits of that circle it shone freely and clearly in the rays of sincere and peaceable dispositions. He was not a holy man, but a holy boy; and, being such, he was known and felt to be such. As he grew older, working day by day at the trade of a carpenter, the same unobtrusive sincerity, the same forbearance and love, attended by perfect faith in his heavenly Father, attracted attention in a sphere somewhat enlarged, and drew to him some loving hearts that were affected by the innate power of holiness. Thus, though he came, as it were, silently, without effort and without observation, the light shone from him by its own nature; a light gentle but pure; penetrating quietly, but surely, in every direction; until it was whispered from the lips of the faithful, throughout Palestine, that a holy one had come. There was, indeed, a mystery resting upon him and his character, because he was a man unannounced, unknown; but still he was a real and divine presence, though indistinctly felt  and appreciated, even before he appeared publicly and authoritatively as the messenger of God. His light shone of itself.

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

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