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, October 13, 2014

What is Perfect Love?

If the doctrine, which is variously termed sanctification, evangelical holiness, and evangelical or christian perfection, be true, or if the related and equivalent doctrine, which is denominated assurance of faith, be true, then it will follow, that it is our duty and privilege, even in the present life, to realize in our own souls the fulfillment of that great command, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart," In other words, it is our duty and privilege to possess what may properly be called "perfect love." Accordingly it becomes a very important and interesting inquiry, When can our love properly be said to be perfect?

Perfection of love implies the removal or extinction of all selfishness. In other words, perfect love is always PURE love. We may probably conceive of love, which is pure in its nature; but is deficient, and therefore not perfect in its degree or intensity. But we cannot conceive of love which is acceptable to God, and is perfect in degree, which has any intermixture of selfishness.

Perfection of love is necessarily relative to the capacity of the subject of it. In other words, what would be perfection of love in one would not be in another, whose capacity of loving is greater. That precise amount or degree of love in man, which would be characterized as perfect in consequence of being all his capacity could render, would be imperfect in an angel or other being of greater capacity.

— edited from The Interior or Hidden Life (1844) Part 1, Chapter 17.

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