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.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Danger of Seeking Signs Before Faith

The views, which have been taken of the life of faith, will aid us in forming a proper estimate of a tendency, which is often noted among the followers of Christ, to seek for signs, tokens, and manifestations, as the basis, in part at least, of their full reconciliation with God, and of a holy life. We are aware, that this tendency arises, in some cases from ignorance; but there can be no doubt, that it has its origin chiefly in that dreadful malady of our nature, the sin of UNBELIEF. But considered in any point of view, and as originating in any cause whatever, we cannot regard it as otherwise than wrong in principle, and as exceedingly injurious in its consequences. 

The life of specific signs, testimonies, and manifestations, is not only evil by being a deviation from the way of faith; but is evil also by keeping alive and cherishing the selfish principle, instead of destroying it. He, who seeks to live in this manner, instead of living by simple faith and who thus shows a secret preference of specific experiences, modeled after his own imaginations of things, to that pearl of great price, which is found in leaving all things with God, necessarily seeks to have things in his own way. The way of faith is the way of self-renunciation; the humbling and despised way of our personal nothingness. The way of signs, testimonies, and manifestations, is the way of one's own will; and, therefore, naturally tends to keep alive and nourish the destructive principle of selfishness. The lives of those who attempt to live in this way, with some variations in particular cases, may be regarded as an evidence of the general correctness of these remarks. They seem like children brought up in an unwisely indulgent manner; not unfrequently full of themselves, when they are gratified in the possession of their particular object, and full of discouragement, peevishness, and even of hostility, which are the natural results of the workings of self, when they are disappointed.

— edited from The Interior of Hidden Life (1844) Part 1, Chapter 11.

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