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, April 18, 2015

People Should Seek Their Own Highest Good

It is generally conceded both by theologians and mental philosophers, that a principle of self-love or a desire of personal happiness is implanted in man. As an implanted or connatural principle, it cannot, in its subordinated and legitimate exercise, be otherwise than right. In other words, when, in the pursuit of our own happiness, we have a suitable regard to the claims of all other beings, especially the Supreme Being, we cannot be otherwise than approved and guiltless in the view of conscience and of our Maker.

The command, that we should love our neighbor as ourselves, evidently implies, that the love of ourselves, in the sense of seeking our own happiness so far as is consistent with the happiness and rights of others, is admissible. Hence men are properly directed and encouraged to seek their own happiness. It is proper even to direct and encourage them to seek religion for the sake, (not for the exclusive sake, but still for the sake,) of their own happiness. In seeking religion, in other words, in seeking the restoration of the mind to God, there can be no doubt, that one legitimate motive may be the desire of our own highest good. It is certain that this is one of the motives, calculated ultimately to lead men in a religious course, which is not unfrequently addressed to them in the Holy Scriptures. "There is not," says Dr. Wardlaw, "any part of the Divine Word, by which we are required, in any circumstances, to divest ourselves of this essential principle in our constitution. That Word, on the contrary, is full of appeals to it, under every diversity of form. Such are all its threatenings, all its promises, all its invitations."

— edited from The Interior or Hidden Life (1844) Part 2, Chapter 5.

1 comment:

  1. The reference to Dr. Wardlaw is a reference to Dr. Ralph Wardlaw who wrote a book on Christian Ethics published in 1835.