Sunday, November 05, 2006
I was asked what I thought the secrets of God are; so I put down things I have learned and have been taught about the secrets of God.
Secrets of wisdom for living, they cry out in the streets and even the ungodly will gain them if attentive to life. The plain, pure, word of God.
Secrets of Christ Jesus, secrets of His assurance, his direction, His purposes for our life.
Not found on the surface, but rather to be sought after, mined as it were. Found in hidden places of devotion not in banter or chatter and rarely through the prophetic words of another.
Secrets of ministry; The revealing of another’s need -- when in ministry and the secrets of a person’s heart is unknown, or if a need is unidentified, God will identify these secrets; Secrets that allow us to know what to do or what will reach them, and finding the words or the actions that were unprepared, but somehow, in a moment of intimate soul connection, one finds a clarity or a spontaneous word or action that is divinely given for the moment. A spiritual gift for the moment. Certainly, the sweetest of all the secrets.
Secrets of worship and intimacy with God. Mined in the prayer closet or occasionally by a whelming flood of special mercy or grace.
I suppose my favorite teaching on this comes from Jeremy Taylor, a 17th century Anglican Priest with such insight. Here is a piece he does on spiritual growth and the mystical experience we have with God. This is not an easy read, so get out the dictionary, you’ll need it for the full blessing, and not even Paul could read it once and understand it.
The first beginnings in religion are employed in the mastering of their first appetites, casting out devils, exterminating all evil customs, lessening the tendency of habits, and contradict the orders of persistent corrupt desires; and this, which divines call the purgative or purging way, is wholly spent in actions of repentance, mortification, and self-denial…..
After our first step is taken, and the conviction part of repentance is resolved on, and begun, and we have had good degrees of progress, we then enter into the illuminative way of religion…. If a pious soul passes to affections that are of a lofty sentiment, and intimate and more directly related to God, without the help of others, without the use of written prayers or guides and develops a spiritual love, it is well; only remember that the love that God requires of us, is an operative, material, and communicative love, “If you love me keep My commandments”; so that still a good life is the effect of the deepest and most sublime meditation…..
Beyond what I have described, there is a degree of meditation so exalted, that it changes the very name, and is called contemplation; and it is in the unitive way of religion, that is, it consists in unions and adherences to God; it is a prayer of quietness and silence, and an extraordinary meditation, prayers without distraction, a vision and intuition of divine excellencies, an immediate entry into an orb of light, and a blending of all our faculties into sweetness, affections, and a staring upon the divine beauty; and is carried on to ecstasies, raptures, no sense of time, inspirations, being drawn away from the temporal, and apprehending a blissful state……
But this is not a thing to be discoursed of, but felt; and although in other sciences the terms must first be known, and then the rules and conclusions of science applied; here it is otherwise; for first, the whole of this must be experienced, before we can so much as know what it is; and the end must be acquired first, the conclusion before the premises.
They that testify of these heights call them the secrets of the kingdom; but they are such which no man can describe; such which God hath not revealed in the publication of the gospel; such for the acquiring of which there are no means prescribed.
And then lastly, and the inexhaustable part of “The Secrets”, are all the ones I do not know, the vast riches of God that I have no understanding about whatsoever.