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.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Quietude and Submission

The true state of internal quietude implies a cessation not only from unnecessarily wandering and discursive thoughts and imaginations, not only a rest from irregular desires and affections, but implies, in the third place, a perfect submission of the will, in other words, a perfect renunciation of our own purposes and plans, and a cheerful and perfect acquiescence in the holy will of God.

Such a renunciation of the will is indispensably requisite. It is not to be understood that we are to have no will of our own, in the  literal sense. This would be inconsistent with moral agency. But that in its action, under all circumstances, however adverse and trying, our will is cheerfully and wholly accordant with God's will. A mind, in such a state, must necessarily be at rest.  It realizes that God is at the helm of affairs and that necessarily all the plans of his wise and great administration shall come to pass. Why then should it be troubled? "What a blessed thing it is," says Dr. Payson, "to lose one's will. Since I have lost my will, I have found happiness. There can be no such thing as disappointments; for I have no desire but that God's will may be accomplished." The blessedness of such a soul is indeed indescribable. It is an inward death out of which springs inward and eternal life; a self annihilation, out of which rises immortal power. The man, who has the true quietude, is like a large ship firmly at anchor in a storm. The clouds gather around, the winds blow, the heavy waves dash against her, but she rides safe in her position, in conscious dignity and power. Or perhaps his situation is more nearly expressed by the memorable and sublime simile of Goldsmith,

"As some tall cliff; that rears its awful form,
Swells from the vale and mid-way leaves the storm,
Though round its breast the rolling clouds are spread.
Eternal sunshine settles on its head."

But some will say. is there to be no action; and are we to do nothing? A person in this state of mind, being at rest in the will of God, and never out of that divine will, is operative precisely as God would have him so; moving as God moves, stopping where God stops. He is at rest, but never idle. His God forbids idleness. Therefore he keeps in the line of divine cooperation, and works with God. There may be less of vain and noisy pretension, and sometimes less of outward and visible activity, but there is far more wisdom, and far more actual efficiency, for God is with him.

— edited from The Interior or Hidden Life (2nd edition, 1844) Part 3, Chapter 10.

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