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Monday, December 26, 2005

The Christian's Secret of a Happy Life, pt. 15

I continue a series of excerpts from The Christian's Secret of a Happy Life by Hannah Whitall Smith. The book, which is public domain, is available on-line in its entirety here. This version is somewhat different from the paperback I have in my physical possession. (New York: Ballentine Books, 1986) For an article on Smith, in Christian History, go here. This Chapter is entitled "The Joy of Obedience." The material below is quoted exactly, from the text at the first link in this post.

There are many relations in life which require from the different parties only very moderate degrees of devotion. We may have really pleasant friendships with one another, and yet spend a large part of our lives in separate interests, and widely differing pursuits. When together, we may greatly enjoy one another's society, and find many congenial points; but separation is not any especial distress to us, and other and more intimate friendships do not interfere. There is not enough love between us, to give us either the right or the desire to enter into and share one another's most private affairs. A certain degree of reserve and distance is the suitable thing, we feel. But there are other relations in life where all this is changed. The friendship becomes love. The two hearts give themselves to one another, to be no longer two but one. A union of souls takes place, which makes all that belongs to one the property of the other. Separate interests and separate paths in life are no longer possible. Things which were lawful before become unlawful now, because of the nearness of the tie that binds. The reserve and distance suitable to mere friendship becomes fatal in love. Love gives all, and must have all in return. The wishes of one become binding obligations to the other, and the deepest desire of each heart is, that it may know every secret wish or longing of the other, in order that it may fly on the wings of the wind to gratify it.

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