— The Interior or Hidden Life (1844) Part 2, Chapter 5.
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.
Wednesday, April 22, 2015
The Life of Nature
The life of nature is no other than the life of the soul, deformed, perverted, and poisoned in all its extent, in its fountain and its streams, in its root and its branches, by an influence disseminated from the inordinate action of the principle of self-love. And it is easy to see, as implied in this statement, that the love of God, which is the true corrective of this contracted and pernicious influence, is banished and shut out from the mind that is under its unholy power. It is not possible that the love of God should dwell in a heart where self-love is supreme. So that the life of nature is not only the life of self; but it is a life, which, in being filled with self, is necessarily destitute of God; and which, in seeking nothing but its own ends, overlooks all other claims, and despises that true happiness and true glory, which are found in God alone. With a life originating in a root so evil, and bearing fruits so baleful, a life which deliberately chooses human weakness and error for its basis, instead of the divine strength and wisdom, it is certain that a holy soul can have no kindred spirit of feeling and no union of effort. On the contrary, it is the part of holiness, as an active and indwelling principle in the heart, to meet it, to search it out, contend with it, destroy it. This is the great practical warfare. Having been freely justified and forgiven in the blood of Christ, Christians can do no less than clothe themselves for this battle, and contend step by step, and with divine assistance slay to its very root a life so polluted in its origin and its results, in order that they may receive, enjoy, and perfect the life of God.