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.

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