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.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

The Sense of Inward Degradation

The appetites are good in their appropriate place; but when they are not properly regulated, by being restricted to their appropriate occasions and objects, they are the source of great evil. I believe it is generally admitted, that the undue indulgence of the appetites, the "lower passions," as they are sometimes denominated, is the true source of inward impurity; a state of mind, which it is to be feared most persons know by melancholy experience, better than it can be illustrated by any description. Men speak of the appetites in terms, which obviously indicate their convictions on this subject; they speak of them, whenever they operate out of their appropriate sphere and degree, as low, degrading, and polluting, and compare those, who thus indulge in them, to the swine that wallow in the mire.

There is also something in one's consciousness, which supports this view. When the appetites are entirely subdued and kept in their place, the subject of them, at least so far as the appetites are concerned, feels that he is pure in heart. But when it is otherwise, there is a sense not only of guilt, but of degradation; there is an inward consciousness of what may be termed metaphorically a stain or blot upon the mind. The soul feels itself, in the experience of its own state, to be very different from what it is at other times. The holy soul may be likened to a mirror, into which God may look, and behold the features of his own character reflected. But when it yields itself to the undue influence of the appetites, the mirror becomes stained and darkened, and God is no longer seen in it.

The Interior or Hidden Life (1844) Part 2, Chapter 3.

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