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.

Friday, January 31, 2014

The Danger of Disbeliving in Holiness

No person, such is the relation between the will and belief, can put forth a volition to do a thing, which at the same time he believes impossible to be done. I do not believe, for instance, in the possibility of flying in the air; and I am unable to put forth a volition to do any such thing. I may exercise a desire to fly in the air; but while I have an utter disbelief in its possibility, I shall never put forth a volition to do it. So if I disbelieve in the possibility of being holy, I can never put forth a volition, that is to say, a fixed determination, to be so. I may put forth a volition to do many good things; I may put forth a volition to grow in grace; but to put forth a volition, a fixed, unalterable determination, with divine assistance, to resist and overcome every sin, to be wholly the Lord’s, to be holy, when I believe such a result to be unattainable, is what, on the principles of the philosophy of the mind, I am unable to do. I might as well put forth a volition to create a continent, or to remove the Rocky Mountains into the Pacific Ocean, or to do any thing else, which I know it to be impossible for me to do.


Who can expect to be holy now, and holy through his whole life, that does not feel the weight of obligation to be so? Still more, who can reasonably expect to be holy, that does not put forth a volition, a fixed, unalterable determination with divine assistance to be so? And if these, the obligation and the volition or fixed purpose of mind, depend on the antecedent belief, then evidently the first great preparatory step to a holy life, is, to be fully settled in the doctrine;—in other words, to believe fully in the attainableness of holiness at the present time. And this, as the matter presents itself to my own mind, is, practically, a very important conclusion. Upon the mind, that can appreciate the relation and the application of the principles which have just been laid down, the reception of the common doctrine of the impossibility of present sanctification presses with the weight of a millstone. A person in this position feels, that he cannot move; he is like a man that is shut up in prison and in irons, and in accordance with the saying, that “hope deferred maketh the heart sick,” he soon ceases to make effort, when there is nothing but defeat before him. We say, then, to every one, who feels the importance of this subject, and who is sincerely desirous to be holy in heart, go to the Bible. Go with a single eye. Go in the spirit of humble prayer. And see whether the Lord does not require you to be wholly his, in the exercise of assurance of faith and of perfect love; — and whether he has not, in the blood of his Son, made ample provision for this blessed result?

— edited from The Interior or Hidden Life (2nd edition, 1844) Part 1, Chapter 3.

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