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, March 11, 2014

Moral Freedom is the Gift of God

Let it be remembered, ... as a first truth in the doctrines of religious experience, that in all things God is the giver. Among the gifts which thus flow from God, is that high and invaluable one of moral freedom. In the exercise of that moral power, which is involved in the possession of moral freedom, men sometimes speak of it as their own possession, their own power but they cannot, with any propriety, speak of it as a power which is not given. The gift of freedom involves the possibility of walking in the wrong way, but it does not alter the straightness and oneness of the true way. The laws of holy living, although they are and can be fulfilled only by those who are morally free, are, nevertheless, unalterable. Founded in infinite wisdom, they necessarily have theIr permanent principles; and God himself, without a deviation from such wisdom, cannot change them. In the exercise of their moral choice, it is undoubtedly true, that men may endeavor to live in some other way, and to walk in some other path, than that which God has pointed out; but it does not follow from this that there is, or can be, more than one true way. God, in imparting to men the gift of moral freedom, has said to them, Life and death are before you; but he has not said, Ye can find life out of myself. He tells them, emphatically, there is but one Fountain; but having given them the freedom of choice, he announces to them, also, that they may either rest confidingly on his own bosom, and draw nourishment from that eternal fountain of life which is in himself, or may seek, in the exercise of their moral freedom, the nourishment of their spiritual existence from any other supposed source of life, with all the terrible hazards attending it.

A Treatise on Divine Union (1851) Part 1, Chapter 5.

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