Colossians 3:3
For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.
Sermons
Colossians Iii. 3Thomas ArnoldColossians 3:3
The Hidden LifeW.F. Adneney Colossians 3:3
Above the TideJ. L. Nye.Colossians 3:1-4
Aspring Towards HeavenT. Guthrie, D. D.Colossians 3:1-4
Attaining Higher LifeD. L. Moody.Colossians 3:1-4
Believers Risen with Christ, and Their Duty in ConsequencW. Jay.Colossians 3:1-4
Christ and the Higher NaturePrincipal Tulloch.Colossians 3:1-4
ExcelsiorD. Davies, M. A.Colossians 3:1-4
Following the Risen ChristC. H. Spurgeon.Colossians 3:1-4
High Ground for the AffectionT. H. Leary.Colossians 3:1-4
HomewardsT. H. Leary.Colossians 3:1-4
Of the ResurrectionBishop Andrewes.Colossians 3:1-4
Our Risen LifeR. Finlayson Colossians 3:1-4
Present Privileges: Future GloryE.S. Prout Colossians 3:1-4
Reasons for Seeking the Things AboveRobert Hall, M. A.Colossians 3:1-4
Risen with ChristFamily Churchman., Dean VaughanColossians 3:1-4
Risen with ChristBishop Beveridge.Colossians 3:1-4
Seek Those Things that are AboveJ. Beaumont, M. D.Colossians 3:1-4
Seeking Things AboveCanon Liddon.Colossians 3:1-4
The Affections ElevatedC. H. Spurgeon.Colossians 3:1-4
The Christian Risen with ChristEbenezer Temple.Colossians 3:1-4
The Christian TemperKnox Little.Colossians 3:1-4
The Christian's Higher LifeU.R. Thomas Colossians 3:1-4
The Heavenly Aspirations of the Renewed NatureF. Wagstaff.Colossians 3:1-4
The Hidden LifeA. Vinet, D. D.Colossians 3:1-4
The Resurrection of Christ an Argument for Seeking ThingsArchbishop Tillotson.Colossians 3:1-4
The Risen LifeCanon Liddon.Colossians 3:1-4
When Will the World Grow BetterG. Maurer.Colossians 3:1-4
Heavenly Things the True Object of Christian ContemplationT. Croskery Colossians 3:2, 3
Death and Life in ChristE. Garbett, M. A., A. Vinet, D. D.Colossians 3:3-4
Life Hid in ChristH. T. Miller.Colossians 3:3-4
The Christian Life IsPaxton Hood.Colossians 3:3-4
The Christian's LifeW. M. Punshon, LL. D.Colossians 3:3-4
The Christian's Life Hid with ChristE B. Pusey, D. D.Colossians 3:3-4
The Hidden LifeG. Mc Michael, B. A.Colossians 3:3-4
The Hidden LifeBishop Huntington.Colossians 3:3-4
The Hidden LifeC. H. Spurgeon.Colossians 3:3-4
The Hidden Life -- with Christ in GodF. Ferguson.Colossians 3:3-4
The Hidden Life of the ChristianT. B. Baker, M. AColossians 3:3-4
The Life Hid with Christ in GodPaxton Hood.Colossians 3:3-4
The Lost TasteColossians 3:3-4
The Power of a New AffectionDr. Fish.Colossians 3:3-4
The Present Condition and Future Glory of Life in ChristG. Barlow.Colossians 3:3-4
The Seed of an Inner LifeJames Hamilton, D. D.Colossians 3:3-4
After Christ died he was seen no more by the world. It is true that for forty days he appeared repeatedly on earth, but only to his own disciples. The world never saw him after the stone was rolled against the entrance of the sepulchre in Joseph's garden on the night of the Crucifixion. And soon he ascended to heaven to be with God, and was no longer visible even to his own followers. But he will come again, when "every eye shall behold him." Now, a similar experience is that of he true life of the Christian. He has died to the old life in the world which the world fully understood. He has risen to a new life which the world does not understand - a secret, internal, spiritual life united to the life of Christ and hidden in God. But this life will be revealed when Christ appears again.

I. THE CHRISTIAN LIFE IS HIDDEN.

1. Its source of supply is hidden. Its origin is mysterious; for "the wind. bloweth where it listeth," etc. And its continued sustenance is mysterious. The same Spirit which feeds it gives its birth. The world sees the fire in the front, and they wonder that the waters of adversity do not quench it; but not behind, where One is constantly pouring on the oil of spiritual grace.

2. Its true nature is hidden. The fruits are manifest. The hidden nature of the spiritual life is no excuse for fruitlessness in the outer life. But the life itself is not the less secret. The stream flows underground, though it proves its presence by the fresh verdure above. It is known only to the soul and to God; known perfectly only to God, for we are mysteries to ourselves.

3. Its destiny is hidden. We may hear the deep murmur of the water of life. But we cannot trace the course of the river, nor see where it flows into the ocean of God's being. The world does not understand the aims and aspirations of the Christian. Thus he may be much maligned. Let him mercifully refrain from judging those who in their opposition know not what they do.

II. THIS LIFE IS WITH CHRIST IN GOD.

1. It is with Christ. That is the essential characteristic of it. Union with Christ is the cause of all the glorious and mysterious results of Christian experience. Christ is now hidden in God. Therefore his people are spiritually hidden with him. Better be hidden with Christ than famous without him. There are secrets that are delicious in their very secrecy. What can be more happy than the secret relation of Christ to the soul?

2. It is in God. This fact accounts for the secret character of the life. God is unseen, and all relations with him are invisible. To be deep and spiritual our life must go out into the darkness that it may find its home in God. If there is no mystery in our Christian experience, this must be shallow and altogether earthly. It can have no living relation to God.

III. THE HIDDEN LIFE WILL BE MANIFESTED IN THE FUTURE. We talk too exclusively of the revelation of evil experiences in the great future. But many good and glorious secrets will also be declared. The despised faithful servant of Christ will be honoured, the misjudged character will be cleared, the hidden life will reveal itself in glory. The idea of a "spiritual body" seems to imply the visible appearance of the spiritual life. The manifestation of Christ will bring with it this manifestation of his people (1 John 3:2). Note, the doctrine of the hidden Christian life is placed between two practical exhortations:

(1) that we should set our mind on the things that are above (ver. 2); and

(2) that we should mortify what remains of the evil life (ver. 5). - W.F.A.







For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.
I. THE CHRISTIAN'S DEATH. "Ye are dead." Is not this a paradox? Did not Christ come that we might have life abundantly. And yet when we enter His service we are told to die. Who can solve the enigma? Scripture only.

1. "She that liveth in pleasure," etc. (1 Timothy 5:6) — dead to spiritual things. In that heart there beats no pulse for God; in that spirit there is no desire of heaven; pleasures of sense engross it. Just the reverse of this will explain the text. Whosoever, therefore, will be a friend of the world is an enemy to God. Impiety has entered into an unholy compact to amalgamate the two; but it is a covenant with death, and shall be disannulled. The Christian regards the world as though it were not, although the difference may not be apparent to a superficial observer. Try him. Let his duty be set before him, and however difficult he will not shirk it. Mark him in sorrow sustained by an energy of which the world wotteth not. He is risen with Christ.

2. The Christian is crucified with Christ, and is so dead to sin. As by the Saviour's dying, the power of death was destroyed, so by the sinner's dying it is dethroned, and he becomes a new creature in Christ.

II. THE CHRISTIAN'S LIFE. It is hid with Christ in God.

1. In the sense of secrecy.(1) Revelation has not been minute in new discoveries of the better world. Just enough is known to increase faith and confirm hope. This is necessary to the idea of probation, for perfect knowledge would leave no room for faith. Hence we only know in part. Our senses can give no information, for it is out of their province; it baffles reason; imagination may plume her tireless pinions, and revel in the ideal magnificence she can call into being, but still it hath not entered into the heart of man. None of those who have travelled the road have returned.(2) This is a secrecy of mercy. The eye of the mind, like the eye of the body, is injured by excess of light; and the office of faith would be prematurely gone.

2. In the sense of security. We are continually reminded of the instability of all around us. Fair buds of promise are blighted by the wintry blast. Friends twine themselves round our affections, and then die. The world is rapidly decaying. But the life to come abideth. Time affects not them who live for ever. Death is destroyed for them, and so they are safe. Where is it hidden? With Christ. Where He is — in that land where "there shall in nowise enter anything that can hurt or destroy." "In God," in His great heart — who is never faithless to His promise, and whose perfections are pledged to confer it. How can we be distrustful?

III. THE CHRISTIAN'S PROSPECTS (ver. 4). These words imply —

1. Enjoyment. Scanty as is our knowledge of the future, enough is revealed to exalt our highest hopes. It is brought before us as an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled; as a paradise amongst whose trees of life there lurks no serpent; a country every fresh revelation of whose beauties shall augment our knowledge and joy; a city whose every gate is of jewellery, whose every street is a suntrack; as a temple, and above all as our Father's house where our elder Brother dwells. Yet these are but emblems.

2. Manifestation. The irreligious world perceives a difference between it and the children of God which it cannot understand. It thinks not that that man whom it charges with hypocrisy or fanaticism is among the favoured ones of heaven, and that beneath a beggar's robes there throbs a prince's soul. Bide your time. With what different feelings will they be regarded when they appear with Him in the glory of the Father and with the holy angels.

IV. THE CHRISTIAN'S DUTY (ver. 2). If all this be the case, how can we resist the conclusion? For a Christian to be absorbed in the gainfulness of the world is at once an infatuation and a sin. It is as though a prince were to revel with beggars. What have you, of the blood royal of heaven, to do with this vain fleeting show? Call faith to your aid — "the evidence of things not seen."

(W. M. Punshon, LL. D.)

Observe —

I. THAT THE PRESENT CONDITION OF THE BELIEVER'S LIFE IN CHRIST INVOLVES A NEW RELATION TO OUTWARD THINGS. "For ye are dead." There was a time when he lived in, to, and for the world. But now, while still in it, he is dead to its charms and to its ordinances. All the mainsprings of activity are changed. Man lives where he loves.

II. THAT THE PRESENT CONDITION OF THE BELIEVER'S LIFE IN CHRIST IS ONE OF CONCEALMENT FROM THE OUTWARD WORLD.

1. It is hid. All life is hid. Its origin is a profound mystery. The botanist fails to discover it. The scalpel of the anatomist has not pierced its dark domain. Its presence is known only by its effects. It is not a life of vulgar display.

2. It is hid with Christ, Christ Himself was hidden when here, and is now to the world, and the believer's life is with Him as a river concealed in a hidden channel flowing beneath. This hiding indicates(1) dependence. It is not hid with the believer himself; he derives it from Christ, and on Him depends for its nourishment. The springs of this life abide when every other source is exhausted.(2) Security. Our life is safer in His keeping than it could be in our own. Man was once entrusted with it, and he lost it.

3. It is hid in the depths of the Godhead. Not lost in the abyss of Deity, as the mystic or pantheist would teach; but so hid as to retain its own conscious individuality, while sharing in the boundless life of God.

III. THAT THE BELIEVER'S LIFE IN CHRIST WILL, IN THE FUTURE, BE MANIFESTED IN INEFFABLE GLORY.

1. There will be a signal manifestation of Christ in the future.

2. The believer will share in the ineffable glory of that manifestation. This implies(1) public recognition. The believer, obscure and despised on earth, is acknowledged before the universe as related to Christ. All the ends of secrecy are answered. The hidden is revealed.(2) A personal participation in the splendour of Christ's triumph and in the bliss of His character.

(G. Barlow.)

I. A DEATH. "Ye are dead."

1. You have retained an individuality, but lost a consciousness. You had a knowledge once of which you have no knowledge now. Your old sins are like names on a tombstone; once they were your whole being and personality.

2. "Dead," for how can life be sustained without food? and the old life is unalimented. You have ceased to fulfil the lusts and thus to maintain the being.

3. "Dead," for you are a mystery to the world. They think there are no pure men and women, but there are, and they have been crucified with Christ.

II. A DIVINE GIFT LOST AND RESTORED. Life was the most precious jewel in the gift of God. God inbreathed this life — gave it to man to keep it. Man threw it away. Then said Christ, "I will recover it, and crown him again." "I am come that they might have life." But it could only be recovered at the expense of His own. He conquered, and a second time "God hath given unto us eternal life, and this life is in His Son." And from that moment He said to His people, "I am the Keeper of your life." That jewel must not be thrown away again.

III. HIDDEN. All life is. The life of a tree, of an insect, eludes the physiologist. It is an awful mystery. We have, too, to feel in our friendships that the heart that beat very near to us, even after all its confidences, is hidden. Our spiritual life is hidden.

1. In its origin. It is a Divine seed. It is the breath of the holy. When men attempt to reason on this matter their processes are sometimes startling and their conclusions uninstructive. It is "hidden from the wise and prudent," etc. It is hidden, but Divinely true.

2. In its development. "The world knoweth us not because it knew Him not." True, we may be known by our deeds, but we are hidden, like a pearl in the sea, a star in the daytime. But God sees what we see not. He watches the growth, tends and trains His loved ones. But the growth of a Christian often contradicts the expectations of the world. When the world says, Behold their weakness, Christ says, Behold their strength, and vice versa. Your hopes, fears, prayers, etc., the world never saw. All the most sacred things are secret.

3. In its destiny. As all waters run into the sea, so all fulness in us terminates in our fulness in Him.

IV. SAFE. We feel this for our lost friends; let us feel it for ourselves and our living dear ones. The treasure we could not keep is guarded among the regalia of the skies. The forces of eternity bind us to our Lord as the earth is held in order by her parent sun. Good people are neither born, nor live, nor die by chance. So of little children. Why are they born to die? it seems so vain, the parents solicitude and agony. No, it is not vain. "Their life is hid with Christ in God." A citizen may be safe, although the walls may be destroyed; the man, although the dress be destroyed; the root, although the flower may be destroyed; the soul, although the body be destroyed. Diseases and fiends may prowl around, and fires consume, but they cannot touch him whose life is hid, etc.

V. TO BE MANIFESTED IN GLORY.

1. Glory! What is that? The revelation of the hidden life. Think of it less as the triumph of the conqueror than as the ecstasy of the new-born delight in the thrice holy state.

2. With Him. In the deeper recesses of the heavenly state, when glory does not cast too dreadful a brilliancy; there meditating on the wonder that we appear with Him, that we have seen Him smile, that He has introduced us to our dear ones, that He will employ us in holy toil.

3. Meanwhile, in the presence of this thought, let all light afflictions be forgotten.

(Paxton Hood.)

I. ITS REALITY. A traveller in Brazil on passing a mountain, was informed that there was a priceless treasure in the heart of it, which, when disenchanted, would appear. What was a fiction here is a truth concerning the interest of the Christian in Christ, the Rock of Ages. Our title to salvation is in Him; but He is hidden. None the less sure, however, is it that we are saved if we believe in Him. Two considerations may assure us.

1. The consciousness of spiritual change. We have changed views and feelings in regard to God and His claims. We have peace where once was disturbance. We have the Spirit of Adoption, who bears witness with our spirit (Romans 8:16).

2. The evidence of spiritual character: walking in the light, fruitfulness, Christly dispositions, Christian service. The life of the Christian is a testimony to the power of Divine grace. Without Christ we can do nothing; but our character and actions show that we have Him.

II. ITS PRECIOUSNESS. Great store is set on it as men set upon the treasures which they used to bury. Statesmen, philanthropists, etc., are presented with the freedom of a city, and the pledge of honour is enclosed in a golden casket. Our citizenship is in heaven with Christ. What dignities are consequently conferred upon us? We are sons, heirs, kings, priests. The service and death of Christ made this privilege possible, and with it "all things are ours," and to keep it we willingly count "all things loss."

III. ITS SURE GUARDIANSHIP. There is nothing valuable but is exposed to danger. Full well we know the peril of the spiritual life, and if it were in our own custody we should soon lose it. But who can erase the shining characters from the life-roll of heaven, traced by the finger of God? Satan's dark hand cannot reach the archives of heaven. A phosphoric flame can be kept Might in water by electric influence communicated through a wire; so the life of God can be maintained within us, notwithstanding all that tends to extinguish it, through the influence derived from Christ. The late Duke of Brunswick had an iron jewel chest which was so skilfully contrived that when any one opened it, who knew not the secret, bells rung, and pistols were fired. But skilful thieves one night dug through the wall against which it was placed, pierced the chest, and stole many of the gems. And, however careful we might be, if there were not One greater and more vigilant than ourselves our life treasure would be lost.

IV. ITS RESERVE. "It doth not yet appear what we shall be." The glory that shall be revealed is not yet manifest. Hence the world knoweth us not, and therefore treats us with contempt. The world values rank, wealth, parade, etc. But some day there will be a full recognition. Look upon a landscape in winter, how dark the trees, dull the grass, cold and uninteresting the scene. But look again when spring and summer have breathed their influences abroad; what luxurious foliage, flower-enamelled turf, singing birds. The hidden life is come forth and is acknowledged. Once, when Lord Macaulay was surrounded by courtly friends in a brilliant assemblage he recognized and shook hands with a retiring literary man whose genius he knew, but whom others passed by. Christ at last shall confess His own before His Father and the angels. But till then this life and glory are hid in Christ. Yet be encouraged; your redemption draweth nigh.

V. ITS DEATHLESSNESS. The perishable body shall decay, but the life secured by Christ shall not be harmed. He will bring it forth and crown it. A cloud passes over the nightly sky; but you wait, and a breeze chases the mist away, and then all the splendour of the starry firmament bursts on your gaze. So death is but a passing eclipse. "Then shall the righteous shine," etc. "When Christ, who is our life, shall appear."Conclusion:

1. Prize this life.

2. Seek the proof of its possession.

3. Thank God for it.

4. In patience possess your souls.

(G. Mc Michael, B. A.)

I. WHERE OUR LIFE IS NOT. It is not in ourselves. "Ye are dead."

1. How completely the image of bodily death in the senseless, motionless, and unimpressive state of the mortal frame, compared with its vigour and activity during life, represents the natural condition of the soul before God. Talk to the dead of the most stirring truths, surround them with all that charms the living, lavish upon them all the endearments that the heart can bestow, and what return will you receive? Just so is it with the soul in its unconverted state. How else is it that men hear these verities of God and go on as though there were no soul, God, eternity? It is because the soul is dead, cannot see, hear, feel.

2. But this absence of life is ascribed to the converted likewise. They are not dead so as to denote the actual want of life, for Christ is their life; but dead because they have not this life in themselves. The soul has no power to quicken and regenerate itself. Shall the dead raise the dead! Who has not striven to rouse the stagnant affections, kindle the cold desire, to walk closer with God, and render a more zealous obedience, yet found his efforts profitless as trees thrice dead. It is well for us to know the depth of our own need, and the feebleness of our best strength. It is from ignorance that we make these efforts in our own strength, and fail till the heart grows sick. Yes, and grace does not on this side heaven remove this state of impotency. At no stage does God give the soul life in itself; He imparts and renews it, as the soul has need, all fresh from Himself in daily streams to meet daily wants. He does not in one act of conversion store the soul with a treasure of strength, but breathes into it more and more of His spirit, keeping the soul dependent on Himself as a child on its parent.

II. WHERE OUR LIFE IS. "Hid with Christ in God."

1. But why not have given man life directly in Him self? This is what God really did; but man lost it beneath his first temptation. Then was moved the fount of Divine compassion, and through a scheme of redemption, culminating in Christ's resurrection, life is procured for man again.

2. Then comes the question, Into whose keeping shall this life be put? Doubtless life will be in man himself hereafter; but that will be in heaven, when the adversary, all bound and fettered, shall have been cast into his own place. But in whom shall it be placed meanwhile?(1) In man, who had already once lost it? Entrusted to fallen man to keep that which unfallen man could not keep? Our experience may well teach us how dark had been our lot, if the preservation of our spiritual life amid this world of sin had been left merely to our own strength.(2) Should it, then, have been entrusted to some mighty archangel? Ah! then we had seen war, when angel was mated against angel, and we, all fearful, had seen our all at stake upon a dubious contest.(3) No! that gift which, once lost, had been recovered at so vast a cost, had it been a second time lost could never have been a second time recovered — for God had no second Son to give. That life was not to be lightly imperilled, and therefore God laid it up in His own Son, that He who had purchased should preserve what He had purchased, and against whose infinite strength all hell is weak to snatch one soul that trusts in Him. "He is able to keep that which is committed unto Him," etc.

(E. Garbett, M. A.)

I. THE CHRISTIAN'S DEATH AND LIFE.

1. Two periods in the history of a Christian: death, resurrection (Comp. Ephesians 2:1, and 1 Peter 1:3).

2. Why these expressions — death, life? Three kinds of life — bodily; of the heart; religious. The last alone real, according to the gospel. It consists in setting our affections on things above, and is in God with Christ. Christ having borne our life away we are dead. "Set not your affections on things on the earth."(1) The earth is not our place.(2) The Christian, although dead, is not useless nor desolate in spirit, for He has God.(3) Nevertheless he is dead —

(a)To sin.

(b)To the world.

(c)He has fixed, his goal beyond all that is transitory; he is a stranger, a traveller, a passer-by.He is dead, and appears dead. How natural this is. Nothing troubles, or excites, or astounds him; gives the right cheek, etc.; this man it is said has no blood in his veins.

3. Yet he lives, but his life is hidden. In one sense it is not so. But —

(1)Its principle is hidden.

(2)Its best parts are invisible — prayer, etc.

(3)The Christian conceals himself. When all the world speaks well of you, tremble.

II. MOTIVES FOR TAKING UP ONE'S POSITION.

1. Christ has not yet appeared. Christ is known and unknown. "Shall the disciple be more than his Master?"

2. The Christian is seen of God, this must be enough. There are flowers on inaccessible heights seen only by Him. Mediaeval sculptors carved exquisite images on the top of pillars to be "seen of God."

3. Glorious compensations — king in disguise.

4. Promise of being manifested some day. "He that shall confess Me" (Daniel 12:3).

III. APPLICATION. All this is Christianity, neither more nor less. You might be asked, Are you risen? Are you dead? I ask —

1. Do you love invisible things? Angels love them.

2. Do you love the hidden life? To be last, etc.

3. Do you feel that this is your safety as well as your natural position? Or do you perform all your actions with a view of being seen of men.

(A. Vinet, D. D.)

1. What gives Christ's mediatorship its practical dignity is not only its display of Divine mercy but also its fitness to invigorate and encourage a spiritual life in the believer; and the most reverential view of God manifest in the flesh is the largest producer of daily holiness, as well as the dearest to the heart.

2. The first fact that we encounter in the historic consciousness of the Church is Christ's invisible supremacy as its head and Lord in the private hearts of disciples and in their public organization and activity. No sooner was Jesus gone than, with the widest diversities of tastes and habits, they were united in one common bond of a hidden life. Journey where they will their hearts cling to one invisible Master.

3. And so it has been in the line of spiritual descent every since. Personal fellowship with Christ has been the hereditary blood in the veins of the Church. This inward life we have now to interpret.

I. IN ITS NECESSITY. The need of sharing the Mediator's life lies within the soul itself.

1. From the consciousness of spiritual deficiency.(1) We all feel that we are not what we ought to be, but terribly otherwise.(2) Now if we lived under an abstract law this sense of deficiency would remain an inoperative discontent at having fallen short only of an ideal standard, so that we should be but offenders against our own ambition, not sinners.(3) On the contrary, we are under the government of a personal God. Our goings astray are not mistakes, but sins; not merely dwarfings of our manhood's stature, but affronts against a heavenly Father. His law is good, but our lives are not. Suppose the past score settled by repentance, who of us but knows that he will sin again.(4) What, then, were our life without a Mediator reconciling it? What, except it were animated by His power, and forgiven by His pardon?

2. From the native notion of perfection.(1) The trace of glory past, and pledge of immortality to be lingers with us. The soul will not be content with its degradation. Nicodemus dreams of a character saintlier than a Pharisee, and feels his way to Christ.(2) Here again, if there were no personal God to whom these aspirations reach up, if they did not culminate in the supreme desire for harmony with the holy Father, then we should need no Mediator, and these notions would be only transient visitants. But the moment our eyes are opened on our true relations to God we see that there is no such thing as a satisfactory striving after ideal standards, but only after reconciliation with Him, that the restless heart gets peace at the moment of the conviction that God is its friend. Perfection of character is not to be gained except by that inspiration; a peaceful progress in goodness comes only by that faith.(3) And now again, the only way to the Father is by the Son. For in Christ every ideal of excellence is realized. We no longer aim at the cloudy excellence of imagination. Christ is before us. Those that place their hands in His He leads to the Father. To be Christlike is to be perfect; to have faith in Christ is to be brought near to God.

II. ITS NATURE. In what special kinds of force do its power and peace and charm consist.

1. In this, that being received into our faith in just these two characters in which we need Him,(1) Christ creates within the disciples the freedom that comes from the consciousness of being forgiven. That is the beginning of all healthful obedience. What was a dismal compulsion before becomes a spontaneous and freewill offering now. With life all is new; its spring is gratitude, not law; its principle love, not fear; its end, the Divine glory and man's good, not a selfish salvation. But this life is thankfully and joyously hid with Christ. Expunge the Cross, and in what other gospel will you look for the glad tidings of forgiveness.(2) Christ directs the disciple's practical energies to a model that is Divine. Christ is the pattern for the energies that form character. But the example of Jesus loses its grandest inspiration when He is made to stand apart from His followers. It is not a statue outside us, but a vital force working within. To have our life hid with Him we must have Him formed in us. And the pattern is not the Christ of Caesar's time, but the ever living Immanuel. Paul had that fellowship so palpably that he said, "I live, yet not!," etc.

2. The life hid with Christ in God is a life constantly invigorated by Christ's quickening spirit received by faith.

4. The doctrine of spiritual union through Christ with God affects devotion. He who is conscious of it knows it by the richer interest given to his prayers. For it reveals Christ as our "advocate with the Father." How can He intercede for us but by a present acquaintance with our needs? Praying in His name is something more than repeating a proposition at the end of our petitions. It must be praying from the feeling that He knows the substance of our prayer and the heart it confesses, and that He aids it by His prevailing sympathies now as much as when He taught His disciples to say, "Our Father."

4. Even in those relations which lie most directly between our souls and the Father, which might therefore seem to be most independent of a Mediator, the highest style of piety is not seen without a lively sense of Christ. That faith, e.g., that every concern in our lives is contrived for us by a sympathizing God, a faith which embosoms us in a care so fatherly that we want some warmer word than Providence to express it, is not found except in hearts alive with personal love for Christ.

III. ITS RESULTS.

1. It is the life of love. Being hid with Christ it is penetrated with the spirit of Him who loved as never man loved. Being hid in God it is suffused by the affections of Him whose name is Love. No man hating his brother can abide in this fellowship, no despiser of the poor, no bigot, no oppressor, no conceited Pharisee. Jesus is charity, and to live in Him is to live mercifully, fraternally, and liberally. When the world's life is hid with Him, the bloodshed of nations, the overreachings of commerce, the unequal administrations of govern-merits, the barbarous contrasts in Christian cities, the hatreds of households, will yield to a constructive principle of heavenly order. "I in them," etc. — the social life of the disciples hid with Christ in God.

2. This life solves the old contradiction between works and faith. Christian character is not a mosaic of moralities, but a growth. All we have to do is to receive Christ, and then the fruits of daily righteousness will naturally spring forth, in all forms of manly uprightness, womanly serenity, conscientious citizenship, beneficent industry.

3. The doctrine gives the world truth in all its uncompromising rigour and concrete applications. If Jesus be admitted in all the purity of His transparent soul as a visible witness of the conventional veracity that is satisfied if it equivocates by lying labels, or evasions in a bargain, and artifices in law courts, of the silly falsehoods of flattery, or cowardly falsehoods to avoid offence, who would dare to confront with them the look of His Divine rebuke? Christ, then, hid in the heart, is the test and guardian of truth.

4. And of justice no less; not that formal honesty, which is only a moral name for a selfish policy, not the legal integrity which has no higher sanction than the letter of the statute book, and so cheats the helpless or steals a competitor's reputation, but rather that spiritual justice which treats every man uprightly because a child of God, although only a servant or an office boy.

5. The hiding of our life with Christ corrects the error that religion is a product of humanity. A few conquests over matter have flattered us into the conceit that God must look down with vast complacency on our attainments, and so we come to substitute decorum for piety, and fancy that we make ourselves acceptable with God. A reception of Christ would expel this self-reference and measurement. The inner life in Christ is offered because otherwise the soul is weak and dark.

(Bishop Huntington.)

Standing by the telegraph wires we may often hear the mystic wailing and sighing of the winds among them, like the strains of an AEolian harp; but one knows nothing of the message which is flashing along them. Joyous may be the inner language of those wires, swift as the lightning, far-reaching and full of meaning, but a stranger meddles not therewith. Fit emblem of a believer's inner life; men hear our notes of outward sorrow wrung from us by external circumstances, but the message of celestial peace, the Divine communings with a better land, the swift heart-throbs of heaven-born desire, they cannot perceive: the carnal see but the outer manhood, but the life hidden with Christ in God flesh and blood cannot discern.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

I. THE TREASURE. Natural life is a treasure. How highly we value it. When sick what measures we take for recovery. But what is that compared with the life of the soul? The life referred to is —

1. A life of justification (Romans 8:32).

2. A life of sanctification (Ephesians 2:10).

3. An eternal life of glory.

II. ITS CONCEALMENT.

1. It is hid from the world, not in its characteristics and effects, but in its nature and spiritual operations. Communion with God, justification, assurance, Christian peace and joy, are all inscrutable to the natural man, because only spiritually discerned (1 Corinthians 1:11).

2. It is partly hidden from Christians themselves. Not that a man can be a Christian without knowing it; but there are ever fresh and astonishing phases opening up, e.g., in the apprehension of the meaning of Scripture, and in the heights and depths of Christian experience (1 John 3:2). And the greatest mystery is that we are Christians at all.

3. It is hidden for safety. Because so precious it is placed out of Satan's reach.

III. ITS CARETAKER — "with Christ." This may mean —

1. Mystical union with Him (Ephesians 5:25).

2. Federal union. We are represented by Christ in all that He has done and is, and the Father regards us as in Him. Nothing, then, can injure us, since Christ has borne all the injuries which the law could inflict. We cannot be arrested for our debt since Christ has paid it; nor condemned for our crime since Christ has borne our curse (Romans 8:1).

3. Vital union (John 15:1-5). The continuance of our life is provided for, and its abiding fruitfulness.

IV. ITS HIDING-PLACE. "In God." God accepts the charge, and with Christ elevates us to —

1. Divine dignity. We are of heaven while on earth; in God while before men.

2. Divine rest. Who can doubt or sorrow who has a revelation and experience of the character of God?

(T. B. Baker, M. A)

I. WHAT OF THE DEATH WHICH PRECEDES THIS LIFE?

1. It is a conscious death. There is no spiritual chloroform in the dispensary of the Great Physician. Man is wide awake during the whole process of conviction and conversion. No drug is wanted to stupify, but like the Saviour's death consciousness must not be disturbed or destroyed.

2. It is a willing death. The will, like a brave helmsman, conducts the soul out of the troubled waters of sin, and shapes and steers the course for the peaceful haven. Here is another parallel. What gave value to the death of Christ was its willingness.

3. It is an honourable death. Was it becoming at every Waterloo banquet to drink a toast in solemn silence in honour of the brave who fell? Men hang out the tattered colours in our national sanctuaries as honourable trophies. We turn to a nobler warfare with grander issues. When the black flag of rebellion is hauled down, the spirit of hostility is changed into devotion, reverence, fellowship, and service. When a man ceases to do evil and learns to do well, when he dies to sin and lives to God, we may call his death an honourable one.

4. It is a useful death. Who shall calculate the usefulness of death. Who shall reckon for us the value of the death of Sir John Franklin in the land of ice; of Allan Gardiner in the land of fire; of Abraham Lincoln, etc? So here; the tomb in which these dead are buried is changed into the "womb of the morning," and they become "children of the light and of the day."

II. WHAT OF THE LIFE WHICH FOLLOWS THIS DEATH?

1. It is a life of safety (Psalm 27:5). "Hid with Christ;" what a companion! Hid "in God"; how impregnable. What slender bulwarks man erects. "I hid my self," is the sorrowful expression of impotency, and is not a wiser policy than that of the ostrich who buries her head in the sand when escape has become impossible.

2. It is a life of privilege. That holy margin of the Saviour's time between His resurrection and ascension helps us to understand our privileges. How He comforts, confirms, and feeds. What recognition and communion. Outsiders could not see it. "Their eyes were holden."

3. It is a life of mystery. "It doth not yet appear," etc. We know in part only.

(H. T. Miller.)

I. WE ARE IN THE MIDST OF TWO WORLDS, A SEEN AND AN UNSEEN, as we ourselves are two selves, seen and unseen; the unseen showing itself in our countenance, and impressing some portion of our character upon it, still, for the most part, unseen except by God. And even our very soul is of a twofold character, belonging in part to the world of sense, in part to the unseen world; and belonging most to either according as the corrupt nature or the new life gains the mastery. And each of these worlds is real, in that each acts upon our soul and moulds it for heaven or hell. But to us that only is real which we realize. Our soul hangs between the two, and as it is drawn down or up, it loses sight of that from which it is withdrawn.

1. To fleshly persons this world is their all; they have no senses for the unseen which they love not. They lose the power to think of God. The truths relating to God become fainter and fainter, and in some dreadful cases God is thought of "as such an one as himself." The natural mind can think of God only as one with the world. Among the heathen this is seen most nakedly (Romans 1:28; 21-23). "The pure in heart shall see God;" the impure, then, cannot see Him. "In His light we shall see light;" they, then, who have it not in them must be blind (1 Corinthians 2:14).

2. In like way as men become spiritual, they, too, lose their power of discernment of the things of the flesh. They cannot understand the world, nor the world them. Having learned desire to be last, they cannot understand man's ambition to be first; nor covetousness, having learned that poverty with Christ is the true riches; nor pride, knowing the blessedness of humility. The sounds, maxims, and pursuits of the world are unreal to the Christian. All seems hollow: its merriment a heaviness; its eagerness a chasing of the wind; its show a painted mask; its laughter madness; its pleasures revolting (1 Corinthians 2:16; Luke 17:15).

II. SINCE, THEN, THE CHRISTIAN'S LIFE IS HID, HE MUST BE PREPARED FOR THE WORLD'S MISUNDERSTANDINGS AND OPPOSITION.

1. This naturally follows (1 John 3:1; John 1:10), and Christians should take it cheerfully. It is an eternal law that we understand those only to whom we are like. We have no power of judging except by the principles and standards we have made our own. We cannot see what is beyond our range of vision. So the world judging by its own standards cannot understand the Christian. It could not act on his principles, and so thinks him a dissembler or mad (Mark 3:21; Acts 26:24). The world must misjudge us, however careful we are to avoid offence; and God would teach us hereby to commit ourselves to His judgment (Psalm 37:5, 6).

2. The world misjudges because it knows nothing of the inner experiences of the Christian life. They who live amid the tumult of the outward cannot hear the secret whispers of His love by which God speaks to souls that seek Him. They cannot tell the secret thrill of joy in the hope that we are indeed God's, and shall be His for ever. They cannot tell the sweetness when the soul feels itself beloved.

III. SINCE OUR LIFE IS HID, WE MUST BEWARE HOW WE PREJUDGE ANYTHING THAT GOD SEES NECESSARY FOR THAT LIFE. We understand only so much as we, by acting, know. So we must not be prejudiced against what comes to us in the form of untried self-discipline and self-denial. One of the most frequent hindrances to a more excellent way is that men, instead of trying it, ask of what good it is. At every stage knowledge is the reward of obedience.

IV. SINCE OUR LIFE IS HID WE MUST NOT BE DOWNCAST IF WE HAVE NOT THE REFRESHMENT WE WOULD HAVE, NOR SEE AT ONCE THE END OF OUR ACTIONS AND OURSELVES (1 John 3:2). We are hidden from ourselves. We know not what we are. We see ourselves surrounded by death, and amidst this death have earnests of life (Romans 8:23); but since our love is imperfect, so is our life and our sense of life. Its source is our Lord hidden, streaming thence to us through the Comforter, discovering itself in holy aspirations, strength, victories; but since it is hidden we must not long for it as though revealed. Had we the fulness of that life it were heaven itself. Now we have at one time the brightness of His presence that we may be cheered onward; now it is veiled that we may be humbled.

V. IT WILL EVER BE THAT OF THIS HIDDEN LIFE, THE VERY HIGHEST DEGREES WILL BE WHAT WE LEAST UNDERSTAND. For it is of God. And since, being finite, we cannot grasp the infinite, our nearest approaches to Him will ever be what we can least grasp or analyze. When caught up into the third heaven what Paul heard were words unspeakable; his inward sense heard what words could not embody; and so in our degree, our highest bliss is what we can least represent or define, or reason upon; yet we know it to be real.

VI. AS THIS HIDDEN LIFE IS OBTAINED, SO IT IS TO BE MAINTAINED AND PERFECTED BY DEADNESS TO THE WORLD. Death to the world is life to God; the life in God deadens to the world. The less we live for things outward the stronger burns our inward life. The more we live amid the distractions of the world, the less vivid is the life of the soul. It matters not wherein we are employed or how. We may in the most sacred things forget God, or in the most common things serve Him. We may be promoting His truth, and ourselves be the unfruitful conduit through which it flows; or we may in the meanest things be living to His glory, and thereby promoting it. Self-denying duty, love, and contemplation together advance this life; but not either alone. Conclusion:

1. It is our office to see how, day by day, we may be more hidden from the world, that we may be more with God.

2. As this life is God's great gift, and our present duty is to cherish it, soft is our stay and support to know that it is hid, etc. (Isaiah 26:3; Psalm 27:5; 31:29). As evil reacheth Him not, nor losses affect Him, nor dispraise hurt Him, so not the Christian. And if so now, how much more hereafter (Romans 8:35-39).

(E B. Pusey, D. D.)

It is hidden —

I. IN ITS ORIGIN. Conversion is a hidden operation. We have read many accounts of it. We are told how certain words, thoughts, providences, were followed by certain feelings, resolutions, actions, but the change itself is beyond the cognizance of the person changed. "The wind bloweth," etc.

II. IN ITS GREATEST MOMENTS.

1. That of self-dedication. When a man takes the oath of allegiance to his country, it is in the presence of others; but when he swears fealty to God, he is hidden with God.

2. That of communion with God. The soul wants something more than is supplied by public worship.

3. Those of its highest joys, as when Jesus was transfigured, He was hid from His disciples by the bright overshadowing cloud.

4. Those of its deepest sorrows, as Jesus was separated from His disciples in Gethsemane. The greatest actions have not appeared on the public stage of history: they are obscure, un-chronicled, unmonumented, but God has seen and estimated them.

III. FROM THE EYE OF THE WORLD. The life of the world consists in being alive unto sin and dead. unto God. The Christian has withdrawn from and is dead to this. Hence though his life be manifest as the sun, the world cannot see him. "If our gospel be hid," etc. Nature may be hidden in two ways; at midnight by darkness, at noonday by blindness. When Christ appeared the world knew Him not; so with His disciples, It requires a Christian to understand a Christian. The world has not the key to the Christian life.

IV. WITH CHRIST.

1. As our representative. The union between the believer and his Lord is a hidden one. It is the sheet anchor of spiritual life cast within the veil, and therefore hidden; but it is in the strength of that the soul can ride securely through the tempest of time.

2. As the object of our affections. Our true home is the spot towards which the heart tremblingly turns as the needle to the pole. "Where your treasure is," etc.

3. The full meaning of our present life is hidden with Christ. It is full of mystery. Think of its suffering; its relation with sin; its mortality, etc.

4. The final glory of this life is hid with Christ. "It doth not yet appear," etc.

V. In God. God Himself is the hidden one. "Verily Thou art a God that hidest Thyself." "Canst thou by searching;" etc. What safety, comfort, joy, the Christian has.

(F. Ferguson.)

Have we not heard of rivers rolling in their calm and apparent majesty, hidden from the eye by the deep woods, by the solemn mountains, and the wide-extending prairie? Hidden! nay, has it not been our lot to listen to the murmurings of far-off mountain streams we could not see? The Christian's life is such; like one of those glorious streams born and taking its rise in far-off mountains, then descending the awful sides of the rugged hill, and shooting into light; then winding and wending its way through villages and fields, by cities and by towns; more or less quiet, more or less observed; then betaking itself to far-off country places again; telling, as it rolls, no story of its birth, and little of its means of widening growth; now watering the giant oak, and the graceful beech, and the lovely elm; and apparently lost in creeping its way by sedgy nettle-beds and banks covered with the hemlock and the weed; but not less useful in the one place than the other, till at last, beyond sight, it is lost in the distant sea. So, for all purposes of illustration, it is with the Christian life and the life of God, as revealed in the human soul.

(Paxton Hood.)

On a winter's night I have noticed a row of cottages, with a deep load of snow on their several roofs: but as the day wore on, large fragments began to tumble from the eaves of this one and that other, till, by and by, there was a simultaneous avalanche, and the whole heap slid over in powdery ruin on the pavement, and before the sun went down you saw each roof as clear and dry as on a summer's eve. But here and there you would observe one with its snow-mantle unbroken, and a ruff of stiff icicles around it. What made the difference? The difference was to be found within. Some of these huts were empty, or the lonely inhabitant cowered over a scanty fire; whilst the peopled hearth and the high-blazing faggots of the rest created such an inward warmth that grim winter melted and relaxed his grip, and the loosened mass folded off and tumbled over on the trampled street. It is possible by some outside process to push the main volume of snow from the frosty roof, or chip off the icicles one by one. But they will form again, and it needs art inward heat to create a total thaw. And so, by sundry processes, you may clear off from a man's conduct the dead weight of conspicuous sins; but it needs a hidden heat, a vital warmth within, to produce such a separation between the soul and its besetting iniquities, that the whole wintry incubus, the entire body of sin, will come spontaneously away. The vital warmth is the love of God abundantly shed abroad — the kindly glow which the Comforter diffuses in the soul which He makes His home. His genial inhabitation thaws that soul and its favourite sins asunder, and makes the indolence and self-indulgence and indevotion fall off from their old resting place on that dissolving heart. The easiest form of self-mortification is a fervent spirit.

(James Hamilton, D. D.)

— A traveller who was asked whether he did not admire the structure of some stately building made reply, "No; for I have been at Rome, where better are to be seen every day."

Dr. Chalmers, riding on a stage-coach by the side of the driver, said, "John, why do you hit that off leader such a crack with your lash?" "Away yonder there's a white stone; that off leader is afraid of that stone; so, by the crack of my whip and the pain in his legs, I want to get his idea off from it." Dr. Chalmers went home, elaborated the idea, and wrote, "The Expulsive Power of a New Affection." You must drive off the devil and kill the world by putting a new idea in the mind.

(Dr. Fish.)

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