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, May 20, 2014

The Misery of Hell

In the opposite of pure love, that is to say, in selfishness, as it develops itself in a future life, we find the great principle of moral discord, and also that, which constitutes the essential basis of the misery of hell. The misery of hell is not an accident; but just to the extent it is experienced at all, it is a permanent and necessary truth. Like every thing else it has its philosophy. Its leading element is love, terminating in self as the supreme object; in other words, it is supreme selfishness. This principle, wherever it exists and wherever it is transferred, necessarily carries with it the grand element of the world of woe. A being, who is supremely selfish, is necessarily miserable. The result does not depend upon choice or volition, but upon the nature of things. Instead of the principle of unity, which tends to oneness of purpose with other beings, and naturally leads to happiness, he has within him the principle of exclusion and of eternal separation. In its ultimate operation, if it is permitted permanently to exist, it necessarily drives him from every thing else, and wedges him closer and closer in the compressed circumference of his own personality. So that he is not only at variance with God and with all holy beings; but he is not at unity even with the devils themselves. The principle of love, terminating in self as the supreme object and exclusive of other objects, in other words, supreme selfishness makes him at war with all other beings; and it is impossible for him to be happy but in their destruction, which is also an impossibility. This is the true hell and everlasting fire.

— adapted from The Interior of Hidden Life (1844) Part 1, Chapter 12.

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