Friday, March 26, 2010
the first and second thing...
"Having made some progress in this great work, there is another distinct object which may in the same way command the special attention of the soul, and be made matter of studious and almost exclusive consideration— the predominant affection, namely. This is of not inferior consequence to that just mentioned. That to which the heart is devoted decides the character; and if the character is matter of solicitude, especially is it matter of solicitude to decide what shall be mistress of the heart. Here the case is plain. Love is the first and second thing; love is the fulfilling of the law; he that dwells in love dwells in God. This is the principle that must sway the affections: when it does, the law will be fulfilled, and the soul will dwell with God, without any minute and painful toiling after the petty details of duty. Let this, then, be a distinct study,—the separate and express aim, — until the characteristics of divine love are impressed deeply on the heart, and all meaner affections recognize and bow to its dominion.
Another distinct object must be, to gain an ever-wakeful consciousness of the divine presence. The good child must learn to feel the Father's presence, must never lose sight of his eye; and it is essential to spiritual growth that the spirit human should be always aware of its contact with the Spirit divine. This is to be learned. This must become a habit. And it can only be by making it a subject of distinct study and effort; so that the soul, which the officious senses would restrict to this visible scene of things, may be able to struggle away from them, and look always at the things which are unseen and eternal."