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, July 30, 2016

Man's Spirit Hath an Upward Look

Man's spirit hath an upward look,
And robes itself with heavenly wings;
E'en when 'tis here compelled to brook
Confinement to terrestrial things.

Its eye is fastened on the skies;
Its wings for flight are opened wide;
Why doth it hesitate to rise?
And still upon the earth abide;

And would'st thou seek the cause to know,
And never more its course repress;
Then from those wings their burden throw,
And set them free from worldliness.

Shake off the earthly cares that stay
Their energy and upward flight;
And thou shalt see them make their way
To joy, and liberty, and light.

Religious Maxims (1846).

Friday, July 29, 2016

Jehovah, Sov'reign of My Heart

Jehovah, sov'reign of my heart!
My joy by night and day!
From Thee, oh may I never part,
From thee, ne'er go astray.
Whene'er allurements round me stand,
And tempt me from my choice;
Oh,  let me find thy gracious hand,
Oh,  let me hear thy voice.

This vain and feeble heart, I know,
To worldly ways is prone;
But penitential tears shall show,
There's joy in Thee alone.
With God all darkness turns to day;
With Him all sorrows flee;
Thou art the true and living way,
And I will walk in Thee.

Religious Maxims (1846).

Thursday, July 28, 2016

The First Day of the New Life

"Ah, how long shall I delight
In the memory of that day,"
When the shades of mental night
Sudden passed away!

Long around my darkened view
Had those lingering shadows twined;
Till the Gospel, breaking through,
Chased them from my mind.

There  was light in every thing,
Every thing was bathed in bliss;
Trees did wave, and birds did sing,
Full of happiness.

Beauty in the woods shone forth,
Beauty did the flowers display;
And my glorious Maker's worth
Beamed with matchless ray.

"Ah, how long shall I delight
In  the memory of that day,"
When  the shades of mental night
Sudden passed away.

Religious Maxims (1846).

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Long Did the Clouds and Darkness Roll

Long  did the clouds and darkness roll
Around my troubled breast;
No starlight shone upon my soul,
My footsteps found no rest.
To human help I looked around,
But vainly sought relief;
No balm of Gilead I found,
No healing for my grief.

Then to the Savior's help I cried;
He listening heard my prayer;
I saw his wounded hands and side,
And felt that hope was there.
He guides me in the better way;
He makes my footsteps strong;
The gloomy night is changed to day,
And sadness changed to song.

Religious Maxims (1846).

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Paradoxes of the Christian Life

  1. Dead, Yet Alive Again 
  2. Without Action, Yet Always Acting
  3. Always Suffering, Yet Always Happy
  4. Ignorant, Yet Full of Wisdom
  5. Poor, Yet Having All Riches
  6. Weak, Yet Having All Power



Weak, Yet Having All Power

The Christian is weak, and yet he has all power.  He has renounced his own strength, as well as his own wisdom. But having no power in himself, he may be said to have all power in God. He can almost say with the Savior, "Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?” And He, who gives him strength, gives him also honor; so that he, who is despised among men, has all honor with God. His name is cast out as evil among men; but it is written and registered in bright letters on the heart of the Infinite.

It is in such views that we find an explanation of the contrasted but triumphant expressions of the Apostle Paul, in his second Epistle to the Corinthians: "We are troubled on every side, yet not  distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed.”

"For which cause," he adds, "we faint not; but, though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light addiction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are unseen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are unseen are eternal."

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

Monday, July 25, 2016

Poor, Yet Having All Riches

Of the truly holy man it can be said, also, he is poor, and yet he has all riches; he is poor, because he sits loosely to the world, because he cannot set his affections upon it, and because he has nothing which he can call his own. That, which the world calls his, he calls God’s. He has nothing but what God gives him, and if, in the arrangements of divine providence, God does not see fit to give him anything, he is still rich in the possession of Him, who makes him poor. He may be said to be desolate; but he can never be deserted. He is a poor son; but he has a rich Father; so that, although he has nothing in possession, he can never come to want. God is his banker, who both keeps the funds, and tells him when and how to draw for them; so that he is free from care as the birds of heaven and the lilies of the field.

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

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Ignorant, Yet Full of Wisdom

The Christian is ignorant, and feels himself to be so, and yet is full of divine wisdom. He is ignorant, comparatively speaking, because there are many things, the knowledge of which is not profitable, and which, therefore, he does not  seek. He  cannot seek knowledge in his own will any  more than he can seek anything else. He can say with the  utmost  sincerity, "I know nothing;" because all human knowledge, as compared with divine, is, and must  be, utter ignorance. And yet, being a "son of God,"  and being "led by the Holy Spirit," he feels that he may and will possess all that knowledge which will be necessary for him. If he knows but little, he knows enough; and if he has no knowledge from himself, he still has God for a teacher.

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

Friday, July 22, 2016

Always Suffering, Yet Always Happy

Again, it may properly be said of the man who is truly regenerated, and is fashioned anew into the image of Christ, that he is always suffering, and yet always happy. The natural and necessary opposition between the state of his own soul and the condition of things around him causes affliction. The inhabitant of a dying body, and surrounded by a sinning world, pierced by the thorns of the flesh and by the arrows of Satan, the law of his outward position and the still lingering trials of his fallen nature necessarily constitute him, till his last footstep on this stricken and bleeding earth, "a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief." But if, in some departments of his mental being, he is always suffering, in others he is always happy. And he is so, because, being born of God and made a partaker of the divine nature, he cannot be otherwise. In the inmost recesses of the soul, in that part which is central and controlling to all the rest, faith stands unshaken; faith which gives sight to the blind and strength to the weak; faith which proclaims sunshine after the storm, victory after the contest, a present God and everlasting rest.

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

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Without Action, Yet Always Acting

Again, it is sometimes said by experimental writers, in relation to the eminently devoted Christian, that he is without action, and yet always acting.  That is to say, he has no action which comes from himself, — no action originated on worldly principles, none which he can call his own, — but he is always acting in harmony with Providence; moving as he is moved upon; instructed and actuated by  the outward occasions as they are laid hold of and interpreted by the inward principle; retreating, going forward, or standing still, just as the voice of God in the soul directs: so that it is not more true that he never acts than it is that he always acts. Action is as essential to him as life; but still it is action in God and for God.

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

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Dead, Yet Alive Again

It is said that the Christian who has experienced in himself the highest results of religion, is dead, and is alive again. That is to say, he is dead to private aims and private interests; dead to selfish passions, prejudices and pleasures; dead to worldly reputation and honor. But, being dead to himself and whatever concerns himself, he is alive to God; alive to the aims and interests for which Christ came down from heaven, alive to the honor which comes from God, and from God only.

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

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Thou Giver of the Rising Light

Thou Giver Of the rising light,
Thou Author of the morning ray;
At whose command the shades of night
Are changed to bright and sudden day;
Thou too canst rend the clouded heart,
Enveloped in the shades of sin;
And let the light, that dwelt apart,
The glory and the gladness in.
Oh God, our Father and our Friend,
Dark is the cloud that wraps us now;
But not in vain our prayers ascend,
Nor hopeless at thy feet we bow.
'Tis in the dark, distressing hour,
That thou dost hear thy people's cry;
And come and clothe them in thy power,
And hide them in thy majesty.

Religious Maxims (1846).

Monday, July 18, 2016

Inward Recollection and Prayer

Again, we have good reason for supposing, that the state of inward recollection is eminently propitious to the spirit and practice of prayer. There certainly can be no acceptable prayer without a considerable degree of recollection. And the requirement that we should "pray without ceasing," seems almost necessarily to imply, that we should always be in a recollected state.

He, who is always dissipated like a house open to all comers and goers, is very unfit for prayer. He, that will never pray, but in the hour that calls him to it, will never do it well. But he, that would succeed in this great exercise, ought, by continual RECOLLECTION, to keep himself always ready, and in an actual disposition for praying. — Francis de la Combe, Letter of Instruction on Christian Perfection.
One of the great excellencies of the state of inward recollection is, that it gives us the place of central observation and power, the KEY, if we may so express it, to the position of the religious life; and enables us to exercise an effective control over its whole broad extent. That is to say, it places us in the most favorable position to discover and meet the attacks of our spiritual adversaries, and also to render our own movements and efforts fully available. However well disposed may be our intentions, whatever good purposes we may have formed, whatever may be the formality and solemnity of our recorded resolutions, they will ever be found in a great degree useless, without this aid. It will be in vain to think of living a life of true religion, a life in which God himself is the inspiring element, without a present, permanent, and realizing sense of his presence.  It  is, therefore, not without a good degree of reason, that the pious Cecil has remarked, that "RECOLLECTION is the life of religion."

— edited from The Interior or Hidden Life (2nd Edition, 1844) Part 3, Chapter 7.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Inward Recollection Inhibits the Self

Another favorable result, connected with the habit of inward recollection, is, that, by confining the mind to the present moment, and retaining God in the position of a present counselor and guide, it prevents the exercise of reflex and selfish acts on the past, and also undue and selfish calculations for the future. Self, if we permit it, will either secretly or openly find nourishment every where; and every where, therefore, we are to fight against it, overcome it, slay it. When the past is gone and we are conscious that we have done  our duty in it, if we would not have the life of self imbibing strength from that source, we must leave it with God in simplicity of spirit; and not suffer it to furnish food either for vanity or disheartening regrets. We should avoid also all undue and selfish calculations for the future, such as continually agitate.and distract the minds of the people of the world; and indeed all thoughts and anticipations of a prospective character, which do not flow out of the facts and the
relations of the present moment, and which are not sanctioned by a present divine inspection.

Happy is the man who retains nothing in his mind, but what is necessary; and who only thinks of each thing just when it is the time to think of it; so that it is rather God, who excites the perception and idea of it, by an impression and discovery of his will which we must perform, than the mind's being at the trouble to forecast and find it. — Fenelon's Directions for a Holy Life.

To these important results, there can be no question, that the habit of inward recollection is exceedingly favorable.

— edited from The Interior or Hidden Life  (2nd Edition, 1844) Part 3, Chapter 7.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Inward Recollection Helps Us to Know the Truth

Inward Recollection helps us to know the truth, especially moral truth. The supreme desire of him, who has fully given his heart to God, is, not merely that he may be happy and thus please himself, but that he may KNOW and DO God's will. Knowledge, therefore, (we do not mean all kinds of knowledge, but particularly that which has relation to the divine will,) is obviously of the greatest consequence. And those will know most, who are the most recollected. The truth opens itself to the mind, that faithfully perseveres in the state of inward recollection, with remarkable clearness. And the reason, in part, is, because the mind, in a religiously recollected state, ceases to be agitated by the passions.

The light of God shines as the sun at noon day; but our passions, like so many thick clouds opposed to it, are the reason that we cannot perceive it. Love, hatred, fear, hope, grief, joy, and other vicious passions filling our soul, blind it in such a manner that it sees nothing but what is sensible and suitable to it;  refusing all that is contrary to its own inclinations and being thus filled with itself, it is not capable of receiving the light of God. — Bourignon's Light in Darkness, p. 14.

Now there can be no question, that Inward Recollection secures the soul in a most remarkable degree, from inordinate passions. Such passions cannot well flourish, with the eye of God distinctly looking upon them. And accordingly, under such circumstances, the illuminative suggestions of the Holy Spirit readily enter the mind, and operate in it, and reveal the divine will. So that he, who walks in recollection, may reasonably expect to walk in the light of true knowledge and of a divine guidance.

And not only this, Inward Recollection tends to concentrate, and consequently to strengthen very much the action of the intellectual powers.  It  does this, in part, and indirectly, by disburdening the mind of those wandering thoughts and unnecessary cares and excitements, which, with scarcely any exception, overrun the minds of those who do not live in a recollected state.

— edited from The Interior or Hidden Life (2nd Edition, 1844) Part 3, Chapter 7.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Inward Recollection: Diminishes Occasions of Temptation

The state of inward recollection tends to diminish greatly the occasions of temptation. It is very obvious, that he, who knows nothing but his present duty in itself and in its relations, which is all that it is necessary for him  to know, cannot be so much exposed in this respect, as other persons. Unspeakable dangers must, of necessity, beset the mind, which is full of worldly activity, and which is continually discursive: running upon errands where it is not called; curiously and unnecessarily speculative; prying  oftentimes  with microscopic minuteness, into the concerns of others, not only without reason but against reason. What a flood of tempting thoughts must flow out upon these various occasions, and throng around the mind! What suggestions, which Satan knows well when and where to apply, to envy, distrust, anger, pride, worldly pleasure, ambition; none of which probably would. have approached the mind that remained recollected in God.

— edited from The Interior or Hidden Life (2nd Edition, 1844) Part 3, Chapter 7.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Inward Recollection: Favorable to the Best Improvement of Time

One of the benefits connected with the state of inward recollection is, that it is favorable to the best improvement of time. It will be a matter of course, that the person, who lives in religious recollection, will avoid unnecessary employments. With the idea of God, and perhaps we may add with the reality of God, continually present in his heart, scrutinizing every motive and action, and continually enforcing the claims of moral obligation, he will find no time to be spent idly, nor for the mere purposes of pleasure. Nor can he under such circumstances be the subject of internal dissipation; of vain and wandering imaginations and reveries; but will be enabled, to a degree unknown before, to bring every thought as well as every feeling, into subjection.—

In order to prevent misapprehension, it may properly be added here, that whatever recreation of body or mind, either by social intercourse or in any other way, is really required by the physical and mental constitution and laws, is entirely consistent with duty and with inward recollection. A remark, however, which requires, in its practical application, no small share of wisdom.

— edited from The Interior or Hidden Life (2nd Edition, 1844) Part 3, Chapter 7.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Conditions for Entering Into a State of Inward Recollection

We proceed now to specify some of those antecedent conditions or tendencies of mind, which may properly be regarded as preparatory, and even indispensable, to the state of Inward Recollection.

(I.) —  In  the first place, there must be a sincere and earnest desire to possess it. This eminent grace, without which the kingdom of God in the soul will be liable to constant irruptions and overthrows, will never be possessed by a heart, that is indifferent to its possession.  It  can belong to those and those only, who, with a sincere disposition to seek God in all things, can be truly said to "hunger and thirst after righteousness."

(II.) — In  the second place, in order to possess recollection of spirit, it will be necessary not to be involved, to an undue extent, in the perplexities of worldly business. There is such a thing as admitting so much of the world and its cares into the mind, as to crowd out the great idea of God. Indeed, this is often done. And thus men, and some of them too, who occasionally observe the formalities of religion, become practical atheists. I notice, in reading the religious writings of Antonia Bourignon, that she expresses her opinion to one of her correspondents, that God had sent a certain affliction upon him, in order to bring him to the state of mind, which we are now considering. "The multitude of your comings and goings," she remarks among other things, "and other agitations of body do, without doubt, disturb the INWARD RECOLLECTION.  It  is impossible to converse purely with God, [that is to say, when we permit them to have their natural effect upon us,] in the midst of external agitations." And again she says, in writing to another person, "if you could but proceed in this affair, keeping your spirit  recollected  in God, I  doubt not but it would succeed to his glory and our great good. I speak always of this RECOLLECTION;  because I myself can do  nothing out of it. God's spirit is a well regulated, orderly spirit, which proceeds with temperance, and weight, and measure, and. discretion, without any manner of precipitation." [Bourignon's Light in Darkness, pp. 12, 132.]

(III.) —  In the third place, in order to possess inward recollection, we are to have nothing to do, as a general rule, in thought or in feeling, or in any other way, with any thing but the present moment, and its natural and necessary relations. Discursive thoughts of a flighty and purely imaginative character, either going back to the past, for the mere purpose of drawing pleasure from it, or prospective and anticipative of the future in the manner of an idle man's reverie, are great hindrances to a recollected state. We are, in that way, rather pleasing ourselves than God; and the divine presence cannot well be secured at such times. In other words, as a general rule, there must be before us some present object. And that object must be regarded by us particularly in its moral aspect and relations. The present moment is necessarily, to a certain extent, a declaration of the divine will; and furnishes the basis of present duty. And it is the duty of the present moment, considered in its moral extension, to which, and to which only, God will consent to be a party.

(IV.) — It may be added further, that the state of mind, which we are considering, will not be likely to be possessed without great fixedness of purpose; a holy inflexibility of will, which keeps the mind steady to its object. We must not only wish to be the Lord's in this matter; but resolve to be so. It is well understood, that even worldly objects, restricted as they are in compass and importance, cannot, in general, be satisfactorily accomplished by an unfixed and vacillating mind. And still less can the vast objects of religion. I know, if the great object of interior recollection is proposed to be secured by the mere labor of the will alone, without the cooperation of the affections, it will be hard work, and useless work too. And on the other hand a favorable posture of the affections will be of but little avail, unless the desires and inclinations are aided by the superadded energy of a fixed determination. But when the decisive and uncompromising act of the will combines its influence with that of the aspirations of the heart, the most favorable results may, with the grace of God, be reasonably expected. It is true, without the grace of God, nothing can be done, whatever may be the applications and discipline of the mind. But when the conditions, which have been mentioned, are fulfilled, the divine assistance, if we may rely upon the promises, can never be wanting.

— edited from The Interior or Hidden Life (2nd Edition, 1844) Part 3, Chapter 7.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Inward Recollection

I believe it is the case, that all those, who have had much experience in the principles and methods of interior living, agree in attaching a very great importance to the state of INWARD RECOLLECTION. It is certainly difficult to meet the crosses and trials of life with composure, and to sustain the soul on other occasions, in purity and peace, without the aid of inwardly recollected habits of mind. However sincere may be our desire for entire devotedness of heart, and whatever resolutions we may form with that view, we shall often find ourselves in confusion of spirit and inadvertently failing in the fulfillment of our own resolutions, without this important aid.

INWARD RECOLLECTION is that serious and collected state of mind, in which God is realized and felt as the inward and present counselor, guide, and judge of all our actions, both internal and external. In its results, when it becomes the fixed habit of the soul, it not only restores God to the inward possession and establishes Him upon the throne of the intellect and heart; but differing from that condition, in which He comes in broken and fragmentary visits, it sustains Him there essentially without interruption, in what may be termed a continuance or perpetuity of presence. In a word, it is the devoutly and practically realized presence of God in the soul, moment by moment.

This is the state of mind, which, we cannot hesitate in saying, all Christians ought to be in. It is hardly necessary to say, that it is a scriptural state of mind. It is obviously implied and taught in those numerous passages of Scripture, which inculcate the duty of watchfulness, which speak of setting the Lord always before us, of walking with God, and of our inability to do any thing without him.

And it is not more agreeable to God's Word, than it is suited to man's condition; not more scriptural, than it is necessary. We need it in order to know what to do. We need it in order to do what is proper and necessary to be done, in a just, Christian, and holy manner. We need it in all times and places, and in small things as well as great; since there are no times and places, from which God ought to be excluded; and nothing is so small, that it may not have great and important relations.

It will be objected perhaps, that the state of Inward Recollection, considered as a state of long continuance and still more as perpetual, is an impracticable one. Whatever it may be to others, (and undoubtedly it is a state of mind, which is never experienced either in the absence of religion or in a low state of religion,) it is certainly not impracticable to a person of a truly devout spirit. But how can it be possible, says the objector, inasmuch as the religious life is made up, in a great degree, of specific religious duties, that a person can give the attention of his mind to those duties, and be occupied with the distinct idea of God at the same time? The difficulty, which is implied in this objection, whatever may be its reality or its extent, is met and obviated, at least for all practical purposes, by an acknowledged law of our mental nature. We refer to the principle or law of Habit. By means of this law the rapidity of the mental action may be increased to a degree, almost inconceivable; so much so that actions, which are distinct in time, will appear to be simultaneous; and objects, which are separately attended to, will appear to be embraced in one mental view. And so far as all practical purposes are concerned, the acts of the mind, which thus separately and successively take place, may be truly regarded as one act. And applying this law to the state of inward recollection, we may easily see, how the mind may be occupied with a specific duty and may at the same time be percipient of the divine presence, and may also connect the two together and impart to them a character of unity, so that the duty may properly be said to be done in a religiously recollected state. The movement of the mind in relation to the duty, and then in relation to God as cognizant of the duty, and the transition from one to the other, are all so exceedingly rapid, that memory does not ordinarily separate and recognize them as distinct acts; and thus in our apprehension and consciousness of them, they are blended together as one.

God, therefore, in our mental contemplation of him, may be made present to all our specific duties; and thus the essential condition is fulfilled, which enables the mind to exist in the state of inward recollection. It is our privilege, therefore, a privilege too often undervalued and neglected, to do every thing which Christian duty requires, as in the divine presence, IN God and FOR God.

— edited from The Interior or Hidden Life (2nd Edition 1844) Part 3, Chapter 7.

Saturday, July 9, 2016


"Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand, therefore, with your loins girt about with truth, and having on fhe breast-plate of righteousness."  Ephes. vi. 18, 14.

Bought by Christ's blood, and to the purchase true,
The Christian runs with cheerfulness the race,
Which God in wisdom hath seen fit to trace,
Nor turns some other object to pursue,
Nor slacks his steadfast course. Sometimes he sees
Fires in his path, or hears the serpent's breath,
Or raging men with implements of death,
But still goes on; nor like the coward flees.
The road is strait and narrow; if he turns,
Ruin awaits him; if he onward goes,
With face erect and heart with love that burns,
However great the obstacles, he knows,
That God, who hath all power, all things can do,
Will guard him in his straits, and bear him glorious through.

American Cottage Life (1850) XXXVIII.

Friday, July 8, 2016

The Mystery of the New Birth

"Marvel not, that I said unto thee, ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the  sound thereof, but canst not tell, whence it cometh and whither it goeth. So is every one, that is born of the Spirit."  John iii. 7, 8.

I hear the mountain wind, but see it not;
Its mournful sigh startles my mind's repose;
I listen; but it passes quick as thought;
I know not whence it comes, nor where it goes.
'Tis thus with those, who of the Spirit are born,
A change comes o'er them; how they cannot say.
They wake, as from the darkness wakes the morn,
And mental night is changed to mental day.
'Tis God's mysterious work. 'Tis He can find,
Deep searching, and 'tis He can touch
The deep and hidden spring that rules the mind,
And change its tendencies, and make it such,
Redeemed, restored, as it was not before.
We know that 'tis God's work; but we can know no more.

American Cottage Life (1850) XXXVII.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

If There Is Sunshine in the Face

If there is sunshine in the face,
And joy upon the brow,
Do not suppose, that there's a trace
Of answering joy below.

And what avails the outward light,
Upon the face the smile;
If all within is dark as night,
If all is dead the while.

Deep in the heart the evil lies,
Which nought on earth can cure,
Aversion to the only Wise,
To God, the only Pure.

Oh Thou, who giv'st the heart renewed,
Withhold it not from me,
That, all my enmity subdued,
I may rejoice in Thee.

Religious Maxims (1846).

Wednesday, July 6, 2016


Oh, say when errors oft and black
Have deeply stained the inmost soul,
Who then shall call the wanderer back,
Who make the broken spirit whole?
Who give the tortured and depressed
The grateful balm, that soothes to rest?

When storms are driven across the sky,
The rainbow decks the troubled clouds,
And there is one whose love is nigh,
Where grief annoys and darkness shrouds;
He'll stretch abroad his bow of peace,
And bid the storm and tempest cease.

Then go, vain world, 'tis time to part,
Too long and darkly hast thou twined
Around this frail, corrupted heart,
And poisoned the immortal mind;
Oh, I have known the pangs that spring
From pleasures beak and folly's sting.

Hail, Prince of Heaven! Hail, Bow of rest!
Oh, downward scatter mercy's ray,
And all the darkness of my breast
Shall quickly turn to golden day.
With Thee is peace; no griefs annoy;
And tears are grateful gems of joy.

Religious Maxims (1846).

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Marks of True Humility: Bearing with Adversity

The truly humble man receives with great meekness of spirit all adverse occurrences — all sudden injuries of body and estate — all disruption of social ties by death or in other ways, and whatever other forms of human affliction exist. Whatever comes upon him, he feels that he deserves it. He opens not his mouth; he stands dumb, as the sheep before its shearer. Satan, it is true, tempts him to evil thoughts; but he resists them easily and triumphantly. It seems to him a light thing to suffer any thing which God sees fit to impose. He bears the cross like one that loves it.

In connection with these traits of feeling, which obviously characterize the humble man, we may perceive more clearly and definitely in what true humility consists. It is obvious, that it does not consist, as some might perhaps suppose, in mere sorrow. It is well known that sorrow sometimes exists in combination with impatience or with pride. But true humility excludes both of these. Nor does it consist in mere depression of spirits; a state of feeling which, it must be admitted, sometimes imparts an outward appearance of humility. But, in reality, the two states of mind are far from being identical. Humility consists in those feelings, whatever they may be, which are appropriate to a realizing sense of our entire dependence upon God. In other words, it consists in a deep sense of our own nothingness, attended with an equally deep and thorough conviction, that God is, and ought to be, to every holy being, the ALL IN ALL.

— edited from Religious Maxims (1846).

Monday, July 4, 2016

Marks of True Humility: Does Not Judge

The truly humble man, although he is not destitute of that observation and judgment, which are necessary to discriminate between right and wrong, is disposed to look with a forbearing and pitying eye on the faults of others. If a brother falls into transgression, while he himself is preserved, he knows who it is, and who alone it is, that makes him to differ. He feels deeply that he himself would be no better than others that fall into errors and sin, if he should cease to be sustained by the special grace of God. And he cannot fail, therefore, to remember that blessed passage of Scripture, which has a close connection with the highest experiences in religion: "judge not, that ye be not judged."

— edited from Religious Maxims (1846).

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Marks of True Humility: Not Troubled by Personal Imperfections

The man, who is truly humble, is not troubled and disquieted at those unavoidable imperfections which exist in his own person and mind. It is very true that he sometimes mourns over them, as the indications and sad results of our fallen condition; but so far as they cannot be corrected, so far as they are really unavoidable, he submits to them, however painful they may be, as facts and incidents in his condition and being which originate in the wise dispensations of an unsearchable Providence. It is true, he is thus cut off from many ways or forms of usefulness; but, though afflicted, he does not allow himself to be disquieted. He is aided in thus maintaining himself in interior rest, by the important consideration that God, when he sends intellectual or bodily imperfections and weaknesses, and thus renders a person apparently useless, can avail himself of other instrumentalities and operate in other ways.

— edited from Religious Maxims (1846).

Friday, July 1, 2016

Marks of True Humility: Calmness in Opposition

The truly humble man is not troubled and afflicted, because in some respects he fails in securing to himself the good opinion of his fellow men. It is true, he attaches a degree of value to the favorable sentiments of others; but as he attaches unspeakably greater value to the favor of God, he can meet their opposition, their rebukes and misrepresentations, with entire calmness and peace of spirit. And hence it is that, in ordinary cases, when he is the subject of such misrepresentation and abuse, he is not particularly solicitous to defend himself, and to make replies. I mean to say, that he does not discover anxiety and trouble of mind in relation to it. He knows, if he acts in simplicity of heart and with a sincere desire for the divine glory, God will so order events that in due time the honor of his reputation will be sustained. So that he is willing, for the present at least, to stand silent in the presence of his accusers, that both he and they may see the salvation of the Lord.

— edited from Religious Maxims (1846).