— edited from The Interior or Hidden Life (1844) Part 2, Chapter 14.
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.
Thursday, December 10, 2015
Liberty from Domestic and Patriotic Affections
A man, who is in the enjoyment of true religious liberty, will not be enthralled by inordinate domestic or patriotic affections, however ennobling they may be thought to be; such as the love of parents and children, the love of friends and country. It is true that spiritual liberty does not exclude the exercise of these affections, which are in many respects generous and elevated, any more than it condemns and excludes the existence and exercise of the lower appetites and propensities. It pronounces its condemnation and exclusion upon a certain degree of them, or a certain intensity of power. When they are so strong as to become perplexities and entanglements in the path of duty, then they are evidently inconsistent with the existence of true spiritual freedom; and in that shape and in that degree necessarily come under condemnation. I have, for instance, a very near and dear friend, who is exceedingly worthy of my affections; but if my love to him leads me, perhaps almost involuntarily, to seek his company, when my duty to my God and my fellow-men calls me in another direction; and if I find it difficult to subdue and regulate this disposition of mind, it is evident that I am not in the purest and highest state of internal liberty. I have wrongly given to a creature something which belongs to God alone.