Thursday, December 10, 2009

the elements of angelic glory and happiness...

When all else fails, sometimes all that remains is trust.  William Ellery Channing on religious trust from his sermon, "Trust in the Living God"

"RELIGIOUS Trust is the subject of the present discourse. I shall consider first its Principle, and secondly the Good which it is authorized to propose as an End. And my aim will be to quicken this germ of Divine Life in every soul....Trust—Confidence—is an essential element of human nature...We were born for confidence in other beings; and woe to him that cannot trust! Still confidence brings with it suffering; for all are imperfect and too many are false. There are none who do not sometimes disappoint us.
I.—In answering the first of these questions, I would observe, that Religious Confidence rests on God's Parental Interest in Individual Peesons. To apprehend and believe this truth, is to plant the germ of Trust in God. This truth is not easily brought home to the heart, as a reality...
... every individual mind is essentially greater than it shows itself to be. No mind brings itself fully out in expression or action. On the contrary, what it says and does is but giving a sign of its inward power... Under new excitements every mind puts forth new faculties, not only undreamed of by others, but unknown to itself.

Now if this is true of each human mind, how can we believe that it is less true of the Divine Mind ? Who, that beholds this immense Universe, can imagine that the Intelligence, which gave it birth, is spent, and that nothing is to be looked for from it, but effects precisely similar to those which we now see?

There is a wonderful passion, if I may so speak, in human nature for the Immutable and Unchangeable, that gives no slight indication of its own Immortality. Surrounded with constantly varying forms, the mind is always labouring to find, behind these transitory types, a fixed Beauty, upon which it can rely. Amidst the incessant changes of Nature, it longs to discover some settled Law, to which all movements are subject, and which can never change. Indeed the great work of science is amidst mutation to find this immutable, universal, and invariable Law. And what deep joy fills the mind of the philosopher, when, throughout apparently inextricable confusion, he can trace some great Principle, that governs all events, and that they all show forth ? Man loves the Universal, the Unchangeable, the Unitary. He meets bounds on every side; but these provoke, as it were, an inward energy, by which he scales and overleaps them. His physical frame fills but a few feet of space; and yet in thought he reaches forth to grasp and measure Immensity. He lives in moments, in mere wavelets of time; and yet he looks backwards and forwards into Eternity. Thus the very narrowness of his existence excites in him a thought of boundless and endless life...
It is not then to be inferred, from what we see, that God does not take an interest in the Individual, and that He may not be trusted as designing great good for each particular Person. In every human mind He sees powers kindred to His own—the elements of angelic glory and happiness. These bind the Heavenly Father's love indissolubly to every Single Soul. And these divine elements authorize a Trust utterly unlike that which springs from superficial views of man's transitory existence."

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