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, August 5, 2016

Holiness is One in Nature, But Diverse in Expression

It is one of the characteristics of a holy life, when it is not merely incipient but has become a nature, that, with the single exception of that, which, in being sin, is the opposite of itself, it easily harmonizes and sympathizes with what now is. In other words, while the inward fountain of holy love at the heart is always the same, and always full, the streams which flow from it, repelled by opposition, or attracted by sympathy, take their course variously, in the diversified channels of Providence.

Accordingly, harmonizing with the present objects of his thoughts and affections, the holy man is one in nature, but diversified in manifestation. He "weeps with those who weep, and rejoices with those who rejoice." Under the unerring impulses of the life which is from God, he becomes "all things to all men," but without losing the identity of his character as one united with God, and as being the "temple of the Holy Ghost." Instructed by the teachings of love, which is the best of all teachers, he is a man of smiles or of tears, of action or of rest. He rests when it is the time to rest, because rest in its time is better than toil out of time; but he labors when Providence calls him to labor, and love makes his labor sweet. He has a heart for humanity, and a heart for nature. More than a mere amateur of the outward world, he loves the rocks and the mountains for their own beauty and sublimity, and for the God that dwells in them. His heart warms and melts in the summer sunshine; but the thunder is his also, and the lightning. Nothing is out of place, because place is subordinated to the eternity and ubiquity of the life within. He is a citizen of his country, and serves her well, with­out losing the evidence of his citizenship in heaven; a subject of the powers that are ordained of God, without ceasing to be the subject of Him who has ordained them. He sings praises with the devoted Christian, and his heart yearns and melts over the impenitent sinner. In his simplicity, he is the companion of children; and in his wisdom, the counselor of age. He can sit at meat with the "publican and sinner," or receive the  hospitality of the unhumbled Pharisee; and, in both cases, he unites the proprieties of love with the faithfulness of duty.

And all this, which seems to imply contradiction, and to require effort, is what it is, in all its ease and all its promptness, because it is not the result of worldly calculation, but the infallible working of a divine nature.

— edited from A Treatise on Divine Union (1851) Part 8, Chapter 9.

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