— edited from The Interior or Hidden Life (1844) Part 2, Chapter 8.
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, June 24, 2015
It is almost impossible to speak much, without saying that which is positively injurious, as well as unprofitable. It would be unreasonable to expect to indulge freely in conversation with others, in the manner in which men commonly do, without conforming, in part at least, to their own views and terms of social intercourse. In other words, we seem to be under the necessity of sympathizing, to some extent, with their trains of thought and experience; and are not at liberty wholly to reject subjects, which are pleasing to them. And who does not know, that, acting on this view, we are often introduced to various topics, which, both in their nature and tendency, are exceedingly remote from a religious and edifying character. How large a portion, for instance, of the conversation of the great mass of mankind is taken up with censorious and unfavorable comments on the conduct of their neighbors. How much there is of expressed or hinted suspicion! How much of back-biting and slander! Now, if we would not be accessory to sins of this kind, we must learn the difficult art of controlling the tongue, and of forming habits of conscientious silence.