MEDITATIONS ON CHRISTIAN DOGMA TREATISE I. 19. THE LIFE OF GOD.
1556MEDITATIONS ON CHRISTIAN DOGMA
19. THE LIFE OF GOD.
I. Holy Scripture speaks of the life of God as one of His distinctive attributes; it frequently calls Him the Living One or the Living God. He affirms by His life, in Ezechiel : " As I live, saith the Lord : " and the angel in the Apocalypse "lifted up his hand and swore by Him that liveth for ever and ever" (Apoc. x. 17). A living being is one that has in itself a principle of operation or of movement. Life is the source of activity either in regard to oneself or others. God has this. He is not a dead in active substance, He does not operate or move in accordance with some higher external law ; but He has a most full and superabounding vitality, which first energizes within the Divinity, and then diffuses itself and becomes the origin of all other life and activity. The Divine Life is not as the life of the plant or the sentient life of the animal, but it is the highest kind, spiritual, intellectual ; and from this intellectual life proceed all material substances and all forces. Even our poor intelligence operates on external matter, and is, in a modified sense, creative ; much more is this the case with God. The divine life is the breath of our nostrils (Job. xxvii. 3) in the natural order ; and a more special communication of it is our life in the super natural order. A spontaneous, irresistible drawing towards life is a sign that it is vigorous in you. Take delight in God, long after Him, try to say " My heart and my flesh have rejoiced in the living God " (Ps. Ixxxiii. 2).
II. Consider the excellence of this divine life in God. It is spiritual and intellectual. " The cognition of the Divine Essence is the food and drink of the Word" (St. Clem. Alexand.). The divine life is full of purity and sane- tity and virtue of all kinds. It is most peaceful, happy, tranquil and content. It is perfectly free, independent, and sovereign. It is the first source and the last term of the perfection of all created natural and supernatural life. It is an inconceivably perfect life beyond all powers of description. God communicates Himself to you in divers ways, and with Himself His life. This takes place through Our Lord, through His teaching, His Church, His grace, His Sacraments ; and it is accomplished so perfectly that we may become able to say, " I live, now not I, but Christ liveth in me " (Gal. ii. 20). Then all the aforesaid noble qualities of the divine life become realized in us. Thank God for these wonders, and for thus elevating you above the natural creation and above your natural capacities.
III. God in Jesus Christ becomes our life (John xiv. 6). We sorely need this life. Compare human life with the divine. " Man born of a woman, living for a short time, is filled with many miseries ; who cometh forth like a flower and is destroyed, and fleeth as a shadow, and never continueth in the same state" (Job. xiv. 1, 2). Our life begins in nakedness and feebleness and tears, and in original sin ; it continues in labours and sorrows, in fears and disappointments, in perversity, folly and sin ; it ends in weariness and failure, in humiliating decay, or in premature catastrophe. It is seldom successful, generally pitiful, and often is considered not worth living. There is only one thing that will elevate it, that will lend it dignity, that will make it endurable and useful ; and that thing is the infusion of the supernatural life of God. The universal cry of human nature is, " Unhappy man that I am I who will deliver me from the body of this death ? (Rom. vii. 24). Your life is worth nothing to yourself or to others unless God be with you. This is the greatest truth of moral and social science and the secret of your happiness. Do not wait to learn it by sad experience, but be wise in time.
MEDITATIONS ON CHRISTIAN DOGMA BY THE RIGHT REV. JAMES BELLORD, D.D.