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.

Friday, October 3, 2014

True Spiritual Joy Brings Tranquility of Mind

Natural joy, especially when it is strong, to perplex the action of the perceptive and discriminating or judging powers. This is true of the natural emotions generally, when they are in an excited state. Any considerable agitation in that portion of our sensitive nature which is termed the Emotions, is commonly understood to be unfavorable to correct perception and judgment. A man, for instance, who is agitated with emotions of displeasure, of jealousy, or of fear, will find it difficult, while remaining, in such state of agitation, to go through successfully with an intricate train of mathematical or other reasoning. And the result will be the same, if he is considerably agitated with emotions of natural pleasure or joy. But true spiritual joy, when undisturbed by unfavorable influences from the physical system and unmixed with natural joy, leaves the mind tranquil, and the perceptive and discriminating faculties clear and effective in the highest degree. And these views seem to be confirmed by a consideration of the state of holy beings. All holy beings, there can be no doubt, experience true joy of heart; but in our reflections on their mental character and operations, it is certain, that we never conceive of them as having their minds clouded and their perceptive powers blunted by excessive emotion. The natural feelings, which are regulated with difficulty, continually run into excess; but this is never the case with those truly religious or gracious feelings, which are really inspired by the Holy Ghost. And, therefore, when it said of the disciples on a certain occasion, (Luke 24: 41,) that they "believed not for JOY," it is probable, that they experienced an excitement and confusion of mind, resulting from a mixture of natural joy with emotions of an holy kind.

The Interior or Hidden Life (1844) Part 1, Chapter 15.

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