Hidden: Deep unto Deep

A man may be said to be hidden in God when he is spiritually conscious of the presence of God. When a man is spiritually conscious of the presence of God it secludes and separates him from every other presence. Can we understand that? You go into a room full of people, and the noise of tongues is all about you. You are bewildered and distracted. In the ordinary language of society which sometimes hits the truth of its own condition rightly, you "feel lost." You lose yourself in the presence of so many people. They all seem to take hold of you, and claim some part of you, whether they speak to you or not. You are lost in the crowd. You are merely part of the noise. But by-and-by you meet your best friend there; somebody whose life is your life; somebody whom you sincerely love and trust; somebody who thoroughly satisfies you, and, by the contact of his nature, makes your taste and brain and heart and conscience work at their very best. As you draw near to him it seems as if you drew away from all the other people. As he takes hold of you, he seems to claim you, and they let you go. The worry and vexation of the crowd sink away as he begins to talk with you, and you understand one another. By-and-by you have forgotten that all those other men are talking around you. You have escaped from the strife of tongues. You are absorbed in him. He has hidden you in the secret of his presence.

The child of God has always a refuge from the trivial objections and fault-findings, the ridicule and misunderstanding of his fellows. There is One who understands him, and who does not laugh at him. There is One whom, if he pleases and satisfies, the rest may go their way. Across his life may blow the most cruel winds of slander, and they cannot touch him. His Friend has hidden him in the secret of His unseen presence, and there he grows up into fearlessness and conscientiousness and peace.

When winds are raging o'er the upper ocean,

And billows wild contend with angry roar,

'Tis said, far down beneath the wild commotion,

That peaceful stillness reigneth evermore.

So to the soul that knows Thy love, O Purest!

There is a temple, sacred evermore!

And all the babble of life's angry voices

Dies in hushed stillness at its peaceful door.

Far, far away, the noise of passion dieth,

And loving thoughts rise ever peacefully,

And no rude storm, how fierce soe'er it flieth.

Disturbs that deeper rest, O Lord, in Thee.

Harriet Beecher Stowe.

There is one manner of God's hiding of a man which the humble and the contrite spirits have known---the hiding of a man in the very holiness of God, the hiding of a forgiven soul in the very light of God's pure and infinite Presence. The Psalmist of old had learned that there is no safe hiding-place for a man but in the midst of the presence of the Holy One of Israel. 'For whither,' he said, 'shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold thou art there; if I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me. even the night shall be light about me. yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night are both alike to thee.' 'Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.' So cried the Psalmist of old; and it is true now as always that the only safe and everlasting hiding of a man must be in the light, in the very heart of the flame of the Eternal Holiness. It is the old prophetic truth that needs to be preached with new power to a sinful and adulterous generation---Who of us shall dwell with the everlasting flame? And the answer shall ever be the same---the true men, the right character, shall dwell unconsumed in the pure flame. For our God is a consuming fire.

'Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? Who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?' That question does not mean---as it is often taken to mean---What mortal can endure the punishments of a future life? but, Who can venture to be God's quests? and it is equivalent to the other interrogation, 'Who shall ascend to the hill of the Lord, or who shall stand in His holy place?' The answer is, If you go to Him for refuge, knowing your danger, feeling your impurity, you may walk amidst all that light softened into lambent beauty, as those Hebrew children did in the furnace of fire, being at ease there, and feeling it well with themselves, and having nothing consumed about them except the bonds that bound them.

In Christ, timothy.