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



CHAPTER XI.


OF THE SPIRIT AND PRACTICAL COURSE OF THE MAN WHO IS AT REST IN GOD.


The man of inward peace is previously the subject of the same inward contest as others. — Some particulars in which he is now at rest. — Effect on his outward appearance. — Such men, more than others, bear the true image of God. — Expansion of their feelings. — Practical remarks.

THE religiously quiet man, like other men less advanced in grace, has experienced the sharpness of the inward contest; but God has helped him. Having striven with his corrupt nature, having passed through, as it were, the storms of regeneration, he has at last entered into the haven of inward rest.

Inwardly instructed in the limitations of the human understanding, he rests from reasonings in all cases where reasoning owes homage to faith. God is his reason. Taught by the great Teacher of the soul, that the true end of desires is to be found in the wisdom of the Infinite, he quietly ceases from all those desires which have their origin in a corrupted nature, and finds all his aims and purposes harmonized and fulfilled in the fulfillment of God's purposes. God is his desire. While he condemns sin, he is not impatient with it; but bears with it in the same spirit of calmness that God does; never doubting that, in the great issue of things which is rapidly approaching, the unity and love of God will over­come the divisions and hatreds of Satan. Devoted to the will of God to the extent of his power, and resting firmly upon the promises in unshaken faith, he is exempt alike from the reproofs of conscience and the agitations of fear.

2. A divine peace, of which God alone could be the author, is written upon his heart, his countenance, his actions, his whole life. The outward man is the calm mirror of the man within. He sees the commotions of the world; he beholds the surges and hears the noise of its contentions; but it does not move him from his position; it does not alter the fixedness of his purpose; it does not disturb the peace of his spirit. His countenance, written over with signatures which have their source in the centre of his spirit, shows neither the scowl of anger, nor the distortions of fear. Not that he is indifferent to the strife; but he believes and knows that the God in whom he trusts has power to control it. He sees the calm beyond.

3. Such men, more than any others, bear the image of God; whose mighty power is established and operates in peace and in silence. A perfect being is, by the very fact of his perfection, unalterably tranquil. Jesus Christ, who was God revealed in humanity, and who, therefore, was the model of the perfect man, was a quiet man; he did not attract the world's notice by his noise. On the contrary, the world, disappointed that he came without observation, was attracted to him, contrary to what is usual with it, by the calm but mighty influence of his purity and gentleness. Meek, quiet, loving, doing what the divine order of things called him to do, he gave no occasion for reconsiderations and repentance, but left the evidence of his divinity in the perfection of everything he said and did. And in all cases will it be found, in the history of all good men of all ages, that the harmony of thought with truth, of feeling with thought, and of conscience with feeling; in other words, the perfect adjustment of character, will find its result and its testimony in inward and outward peace.

4. Happy, then, is the man, of whom it can be said, in the scriptural sense of the terms, he is
quiet in spirit; — a state of mind which can exhibit itself in the most trying situations, and with more effect and beauty perhaps than on other occasions. Smite the quietist on one cheek, and he turns the other. Drive him from his home, and the smile of his cheerful heart lights the walls of a cavern or a dungeon. He returns love for hatred, blessing for cursing. When dying by the hand of his enemies, his language is, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."

5. "In quietness," says Isaiah, "shall be strength." The quiet man is necessarily victor, — conquering by the force of sentiments which are eternal, and not by the incidents of situation which are perpetually changing. It is not the body which constitutes the man, but the divine principle at the centre. A man is, according to his
faith. And the man, who treads the dungeon or the scaffold, with the acquiescent belief that it is the allotment of Providence, is no prisoner, because he has all the freedom which he asks, and can lose nothing by the death which he himself cheerfully welcomes. He conquers by that power to suffer which is given him through faith. And the power, which renders him victorious, gives him divine peace and happiness.

6. It remains only to be added, that the man who rests in God, by having the principles of his nature brought into harmony with the divine nature, cannot be restricted by the limitations of name or country; but has a spirit which belongs to the world. It is true his speculative beliefs may harmonize in certain directions more than in others; but, bearing Christ's image at the centre, he belongs to Christ rather than a party, and all mankind are his brethren. The turbulence of nature has given place to the pacifications of grace, in order that he may extend the right hand of fellowship to those of every name and every clime.

7. In this connection, although it might have been equally appropriate in some other place, we wish to make a remark of some practical importance. It is this. Quietness of spirit, originating in the operations of divine grace, is the sign of truth or rectitude of spirit, and also of a right course of action. And, on the other hand, a spirit disturbed, a spirit in a state of agitation, is the sign of a wrong done, or of a wrong proposed to be done. Accordingly, in any proposed course of action, if it cannot be entered upon with entire quietness of spirit, with a soul so entirely calm, that, in its measure, it may be said to reflect unbrokenly the image of God, then the probability is that the course proposed to be taken is wrong, or, at least, of a doubtful character; and our true and safe course is to delay, until we can obtain further light in regard to it.

This view is founded upon the relation existing between quietness of spirit and faith. And it seems to us to harmonize with the remark of the apostle, that
“whatsoever is not of faith is sin." Rom. 14:23.

WHEN FROM THE HEART ITS ILLS ARE DRIVEN.

When from the heart its ills are driven,
And God, restored, resumes control,
The outward life becomes a heaven,
As bright as that within the soul.

Where once was pride and stern disdain,
And acts expressing fierce desire,
The eye, that closest looks, in vain
Shall seek the trace of nature's file.

No flame of earth, no passion now,
Has left its scorching mark behind;
But lip, and cheek, and radiant brow,
Reflect the brightness of the mind.

For where should be the signs of sin,
When sin itself has left the breast;
When God alone is Lord within,
And perfect faith gives perfect rest?