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.

Monday, March 10, 2014

To Pray Aright is to Receive

The exercises of a sanctified heart are not always the same; but will vary more or less with the occasions, which call them into exercise. The grace of patience is especially appropriate to one occasion; the grace of gratitude to another. And these and all other christian graces come from the same great fountain, viz. God himself; and they will come, with the exception perhaps of very extraordinary cases, all in the same way, and in connection with the same great principles.

If, for instance, I need especial wisdom and prudence, appropriate to a particular trying crisis, I must go to God and ask for it, just as I had done before in relation to the general object of sanctification: FIRST, in the spirit of entire consecration, and SECOND in the exercise of simple faith. And by faith here ... we mean a faith, which, fully believes that God will do, and that, if the present is in his view the appropriate time, he does even NOW accomplish that which he has promised.

I recollect to have heard a Congregational minister assert on some public occasion, that TO PRAY ARIGHT IS TO RECEIVE. This declaration obviously embodies the great principle now under consideration.

Many persons go to God and ask earnestly for the things they need, and which they know it is agreeable to his will to give; but they appear to have no faith that God will hear them, or that he does now hear them, unless they have a sign, a manifestation, a visible outward sight or an inward audible voice, or the definite experience of some preconceived feeling, or something, (it makes but little difference what it is,) which they expect to use and which they do use AS A PROP FOR THEIR FAITH TO REST UPON instead of letting it rest upon the sure and blessed Word of God.

O, the unutterable blindness of the human mind, when left to itself! To look at any thing but the simple declaration of God, and to require anything but that as a ground of belief, is to go directly out of the true path. It is, as it seems to us, deliberately and of choice to throw away those precious gifts which faith imparts. It is made known throughout the Scriptures, deliberately, repeatedly, and with the clearness of a sunbeam, that the life of God in the soul is, and must be, a LIFE OF SIMPLE FAITH. And in the exercise of this faith, accompanied with the indispensable condition of entire consecration, it may be regarded as certain, that, when we pray for those spiritual gifts and exercises which we know to be agreeable to the will of God, we shall not only have them, but if, in God's view the present time is really the appropriate time for them, WE DO HAVE THEM NOW.

We do not say, that the specific blessing for which we ask either comes now or will come hereafter, in precise accordance with our preconceived opinions; but that makes no difference as to the fact. If there is really and absolutely no failure in the consecration and faith, there will be no failure in the fact and promptness of the divine answer. The answer, God's answer and not ours, will certainly come, in accordance with the reality of God' s knowledge and goodness; however, it may fail to come in accordance with the fallibility of our own previous conceptions.

— edited from The Interior or Hidden Life (2nd. edition 1844) Part 1, Chapter 6.

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