The life of those who dwell in the secret place of the Most High may be called a Hidden Life, because the animating principle, the vital or operative element, is not so much in itself as in another. It is a life grafted into another life. It is the life of the soul, incorporated into the life of Christ; and in such a way, that, while it has a distinct vitality, it has so very much in the sense, in which the branch of a tree may be said to have a distinct vitality from the root.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Holiness in This Life

The Gospel evidently contemplates, in the case of every individual, a progress from the incipient condition of mere forgiveness and acceptance, immensely important as it is, to the higher state of interior renovation and sanctification throughout. The Apostle appears to have reference to this onward progress of the soul in the expressions he employs in the commencement of the sixth chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews. “Therefore, leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith towards God; of the doctrine of baptism and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this will we do, if God permit.” What direction, then, shall we take? What course shall we pursue, that we may rise above the merely initiatory principles and feelings of the gospel life, and enjoy the delightful privilege of walking in close and uninterrupted communion with God? In answer to this general inquiry we remark, that the first and indispensable prerequisite is HOLINESS OF HEART. It is generally supposed, that God may exhibit pity and pardon to those in whom there still exist some relics and stains of inward corruption; in other words, that those, may be forgiven or pardoned, who are not entirely sanctified. But those, who would walk acceptably with their Maker, who would receive from him his secret communications and enjoy the hidden embraces of his love, must see to it, first of all, that they are pure in heart; that they have a present, as well as a prospective salvation; in other words, that they are holy.

We are aware, that, in the view of some, this condition of realizing the full life of God in the soul is an impracticable one. They regard holiness in this life, as a thing unattainable; or, what seems to me to be practically the same view, as a thing never attained. The persons, to whom we now allude, seem to look upon holiness as a sort of intangible abstraction, as something placed high and remotely in the distance, as designed to be realized by angels and by the just made perfect in heaven, but situated far beyond mere human acquisition. Hence it is, that followed and scourged by an inward condemnation, they remain in the condition of servants, and do not cheerfully and boldly take that of sons. They wander about, oftentimes led captive by Satan, in the low grounds of the gospel life, amid marshes and tangled forests; and do not ascend into the pleasant hills and that emblematical land of Beulah, where are spicy breezes and perpetual sunshine.

— from The Interior or Hidden Life (1844), Chapter 2.


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