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.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Renunciation of the World or of the Self?

It  may sometimes be practically important  to make a distinction between a renunciation of the world and a renunciation of ourselves. A man may, in a certain sense and to a certain extent, renounce the world, and. yet may find himself greatly disappointed in his anticipations of spiritual improvement and benefit. He has indeed renounced the world as it presents itself to us in its externalities; he has renounced its outward attractions; its perverted and idle shows. He may have carried his renouncement so far as to seclude himself entirely from society, and to spend his days in some solitary desert. But it avails nothing or almost nothing, because there is not at the same time an internal renunciation; a crucifixion and renunciation of self. A mere crucifixion of the outward world may still leave a vitality and luxuriance of the selfish principle; but a crucifixion of self necessarily involves the crucifixion, in the Scripture sense, of everything else.

Religious Maxims (1846) XXII.

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