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PART EIGHTH.
OF THE PEACE OR REST OF A SOUL IN A STATE OF UNION.



CHAPTER II.


THE SOUL IN UNION RESTS FROM REASONINGS.


Introductory remarks. — The irreligious man given to questionings and reasonings. — Reasons of this. — Different with the man who is in harmony with God. — The holy man rests from reasonings.— Explanations. — Reasonableness and necessity of the view given.­ The Saviour on the sea of Tiberias. — Remarks.

FROM the remarks made in the last chapter, we may understand the general nature of that rest which the soul experiences when it is brought into union with God. It is the rest of harmony, and not the rest of inaction; a rest, calm and triumphant, which may justly be regarded as a foretaste of the heavenly world. It is a rest, however, which is susceptible of analysis, and which will be better understood by being considered in some particulars. We proceed, therefore, without proposing to exhaust the subject, to state more particularly, though briefly, some of its elements.

2. Among other things which will be mentioned in their order, the soul, in the highest results of spiritual experience, rests from reasonings. The reverse of this proposition is true in respect to those who have never experienced the power and the guidance of religious sentiments. It is difficult for the soul, so long as it remains in a state of alienation from God, to suppress or avoid reasonings. It reasons, because it has lost the God of reason.

God is not more the centre of the life of the soul, than he is the centre of all truth; that is to say, he does not move the soul more to right action, than he does to right perception. When God is displaced from his centre in the soul, the relations of truth, considered as the subjects of our perceptions, are entirely unsettled. It is then that man, cast as it were on an ocean without soundings and without shore, knows not where he is, nor what he is. He resorts to reasoning, therefore, from the necessity of his position. So great are his perplexities, that he is obliged to reason. He doubts, he inquires, he compares, he draws conclusions, he pronounces judgment. His whole mental nature is in action, without its being the action of rest, the quiet movement of the divine order. Perhaps it is well that it should be so, until, by making inquiries without results, and without finding the true rest of the spirit, he feels the necessity of turning to God in humility, who is the only source of truth for the understanding, and of pacification for the heart.

3. It is different with the truly holy soul. The soul, which is united with God in the full exercise of faith, rests from reasonings. In order to understand this proposition, however, it is proper to say something in explanation of the terms used in it. The term REST is
relative. It has relation to and implies the existence of the opposite, namely, unquietness or unrest. The term REASONING, is the name of that important intellectual power which compares and combines truth, in order to discover new truth. Under a divine direction, this power is susceptible of useful applications and results. It is then entirely calm in its action, and is consistent with the highest peace and joy of the spirit. To rest from such reasonings, from reasonings which do not disturb rest, would be an absurdity. Such rest would be cessation from action, and not rest or quietude in action. When, therefore, the remark is made by spiritual writers, that the truly renewed soul has rest from reasonings, the meaning is, that it has rest from the vicious and perplexing reasonings of nature; in other words, from reasonings which are not from God. It is certainly a great religious grace to be free from such reasonings.

4. He who has no rest, except what he can find in reasonings, (we mean such reasonings as have just been described,) can never enjoy the true rest, because such reasoning never can give it. It is not an instrument adequate to such a result. And it may properly be added here, that there are some mysteries in the universe which reasoning, in any of its forms, has not power to solve. To a created mind, for instance, a mind which is uncreated must always be a mystery. From the nature of the case, God is a mystery to the human mind, because, being uncreated, he is, and always must be, incomprehensible. Incomprehensible in his nature, he is incomprehensible also in many of his creative and administrative acts. The apostle, in speaking of the depths of God's wisdom, exclaims: "How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!" Rom. 11: 33. Well may those judgments be called unsearchable, and those ways past finding out, which pertain to the Infinite, It is obviously impossible that the finite should fully explore them.

5. As, therefore, there is a multitude of things which reasoning cannot resolve, all attempts to satisfy ourselves on such subjects must be attended with disquiet and anxiety. And the mind which is fully right with God, will not be likely to make such an attempt. The true wisdom is, to wish to know all that God would have us to know; to employ our perception and reasoning under a divine guidance, and to seek nothing beyond that limit. All beyond that we may properly and safely leave, knowing that all things work together for the good of those who love God.

We may illustrate our position, perhaps, by comparing ourselves to persons on a voyage. Providence is the vessel, if we may so speak, in which we are embarked, and in which we are borne on over the vicissitudes of our allotment, over the waves of changing time. The vessel, in a world like this, where good and evil are convicting, may be tossed with violence; but the mariners should be calm. Let the vessel float on. The winds and the currents are
not accidents; but every movement of them, every rolling wave, every breath of wind, is under a divine control. The pilot is awake when he seems to sleep. The rest of God is not the rest of weakness or of forgetfulness, but the rest of security. And his work is not the less effectual and the less certain because it is done "without observation." It is our business, when we have done all that he has commanded us, to leave the result with him, without fear and without questions.

The vessel which bore the Saviour over the sea of Tiberias, was tossed by the storm. His disciples came to him in great agitation, and called upon him for help. In quieting the raging of the tempest, he thought it a suitable occasion to rebuke them for giving themselves up so easily to the reasonings and fears of unbelieving nature. “And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful,
O ye of little faith! Then he arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. But the men marveled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him?”

6. During some years past, there have been great changes and perplexities in nations. All the positions of society have been reversed; problems have been started which affect the basis of civilization; governments have been overturned; the low have been elevated to places of power; and the great have been driven into exile or cast into dungeons. The man of the world reasons; politicians gather up the letters of history, and try to spell something which will disclose the mysteries of the future. But God keeps his own counsels. The wheels of his vast government move on. But he who trusts in God is not troubled. His belief in the Creator harmonizes and triumphs over the confusions of the creature. And faith is calm, where reason is confounded.

7. Thou who seekest the truth! Having exercised thy reason, till thou findest there is no peace in it, rest at last in the God of reason. Link the weakness of finite wisdom to the strength of Infinite wisdom. What thou knowest not,
believe that God knows. Blindfolded to the future, nevertheless walk on, with God's hand to guide thee. And thus accept the fulness and strength of Infinite wisdom, which is pledged to all those who have faith, as a compensation for the deficiencies and weakness of thine own. God will work out problems for the humility of faith, which he hides from the confidence of unsanctified deduction. And thus the truly humble and devout Christian, who knows nothing but his Bible, will have more true peace of spirit than the unbelieving philosopher.