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.

Sunday, August 20, 2023

Bearing with the Infirmities of Others

"Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye." — Colossians 3:13 KJV.

We should bear the infirmities of others meekly and patiently, because... to meet them in any other way is only to increase, instead of diminishing our affliction. To permit ourselves to be unduly disquieted and troubled, is to add interior affliction to that which is external; and that, too, with much injury in other respects, without any compensating gain. The indulgence of a fretful and repining spirit, whether it result from the infirmities of others or from any other cause tends to weaken faith, to harden the heart, and effectually to separate us from God. On the contrary, he who manfully bears this cross, heavy as it sometimes is, experiences an internal support and blessing which is exceedingly consoling, and which truly makes the yoke of this temptation easy, and its burden light.

…it is obviously the will of God that we should thus be afflicted, in a greater or less degree, in the present life. “In the world,” says the Savior, “ye shall have tribulation.” Christ himself was a man of sorrows; and God sees fit, for mysterious but wise reasons, that Christ’s people should also know the bitterness of grief. And one of the forms of affliction, to which we are subject here, is the grief which we frequently and necessarily experience in connection with the imperfections of our fellow-men. God is willing that we should in this way be reminded of our fallen condition; and he sees it also, as we have already intimated, to be for our good. As there is nothing so desirable and glorious as being perfectly in the will of God, we ought to be not only resigned but happy, in experiencing an affliction which comes from the hand of Him, who doeth all things well. It will aid us in some degree, if we always remember, (which is sometimes not the case,) that afflictions which come through others, such as jealousies, misrepresentations, and various human persecutions, are as much afflictions sent upon us from our heavenly Father, as the physical trials to which we are subject. Christians have frequently experienced the practical benefit of this important truth. When, as they supposed, they had been misrepresented and injured by others, as soon as they connected with this unpleasant experience the idea that the hand of God was in it, they have found a sweet peace and resignation pervading the mind, which made even suffering delightful. And what was not the least beneficial result of this important view, it has enabled them at once to exercise the most kindly and Christian feelings towards those, who had been the wicked instruments of their suffering. Thus should the mind, in suffering as well as in joy, and in all kinds of suffering as well as all kinds of joy, soar above the creatures, and connect itself with God.

We would observe, further, that these remarks apply to the afflictions we endure from the infirmities of those who are most advanced in religion, as well as to afflictions from other sources. Truly holy persons may at times entertain peculiar views with which we cannot fully sympathize, and may occasionally exhibit, notwithstanding the purity and love of their hearts, imperfections of judgment and of outward manner which are exceedingly trying even to “those of the like precious faith.” We naturally expect much more from these persons than from others; and hence the keenness of our sorrow, if, notwithstanding their exemption from intentional sin, there is not an obvious perfection of judgment, of expression, and of manner. But we must learn to bear with trials from this source also, always remembering, although we are permitted to indulge the humble hope, that there may be, and that there are instances of holiness of heart on earth, that absolute perfection exists only in another world. Unless we adopt this view, and act upon it, we shall be apt unnecessarily to distrust the profession and hopes of others, which would be a great evil to ourselves and to them.

— edited from The Life of Faith, Part 2, Chapter 6.

Saturday, August 19, 2023

Bear Patiently the Defects of Others

"Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye." — Colossians 3:13 KJV.

There are but few practical directions, which are more important to those who desire to be wholly the Lord’s, than the direction that we should bear with entire meekness and patience the infirmities and defects of others. The adoption in practice of any other principle than this necessarily involves us in continual disquietudes and troubles.

We should bear patiently with the infirmities and defects of others in the first place, because the doctrine of faith requires it. The doctrine of faith... will not admit of exceptions and distinctions, We do not, and cannot, have acceptable faith in God, unless we have faith in him to the full extent of what he claims to be, and of what he is. restores God to events, and makes him present in all things that take place; and also, identifies every thing with God’s superintendence, and accordingly makes every thing, with the exception of sin, an expression of his will. The doctrine of faith, therefore, requires us to believe, that God, in his permissive will at least if not in his direct agency, sustains a connection, and sustains it for good and wise purposes, even with human infirmities.

We should bear with patience the infirmities of others, in the SECOND place, because, in their results to ourselves, they evidently tend to our own purification. And this remark tends to illustrate what has already been said, viz., that God for wise purposes has a connection even with human infirmities. It is very clearly a part of God’s spiritual economy to purify his people by means of the various crosses which he lays upon them. We are not at liberty to make crosses for ourselves, but are cheerfully and quietly to meet and endure them, when they come upon us in the divine providence. Now, the infirmities of men, the many and trying infirmities of all around us, are a cross, which the divine providence lays at our feet at every step of our progress in the path of life. To be obliged to meet and to bear these infirmities is an affliction, oftentimes a heavy affliction. But it has a purifying power. It strikes a blow at self love. It makes us better.

— from The Life of Faith, Part 2, Chapter 6.

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Think Not that Nothing Can be Done

Think not that nothing can be done, because thou art little in the eyes of the world. The result does not depend upon what thou art in the world, but upon what thou art in God. It is God only, who is the source of all good. Various are the instruments he employs. He selects them, and he places them in the appropriate situations to be used by him. The power, whether it be more or less, is not in the instrument, in itself considered, but in God, who selects and locates it. In a multitude of instances has the declaration of the apostle been illustrated, that God hath chosen the weak things of the world, to confound the things which are mighty (1 Cor 1:27). A man of faith and prayer, however humble his situation in life, may yet have influence enough to affect the destiny of nations.

— from A Treatise on Divine Union (1851).

Thursday, August 10, 2023

Living by the Moment

We see, further, that the doctrine of LIVING BY THE MOMENT, which is the doctrine generally adopted by persons who have had deep experience in holy living, has a real and permanent foundation and ought to be universally received and put in practice. No man lives well, who lives out of the will of God. No man lives in the will of God, who anticipates the divine moment or moment of actual duty, by making up a positive decision before it arrives, or by delaying a decision until after its departure. We must meet God there, and stand in his will there, or meet him no where, and stand out of his will every where. If, therefore, we would live in the will of God, we must conform to that beautiful and sacred order, in which his will is made known. In other words, if it is our sincere desire to live in the divine will, it seems to follow that we must live by the moment.

— from The Life of Faith (1852)

Wednesday, August 9, 2023

A Spirit of Watchfulness

Be not disheartened because the eye of the world is constantly and earnestly fixed upon you, to detect your errors and to rejoice in your halting. But rather regard this state of things, trying though it may be, as one of the safeguards, which a kind Father has placed around you to keep alive in your own bosom an antagonist spirit of watchfulness, and to prevent those very mistakes and transgressions, which your enemies eagerly anticipate.

— from Religious Maxims (1846), V.

Saturday, August 5, 2023

Silence When Attacked

Be silent when blamed and reproached unjustly, and under such circumstances that the reproachful and injurious person will be likely, under the influence of his own reflections, to discover his error and wrong speedily. Instead of replying, receive the injurious treatment with humility and calmness; and He, in whose name you thus suffer, will reward you with inward consolation, while He sends the sharp arrow of conviction into the heart of your adversary.

— from Religious Maxims (1846), IV.