— 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.
Wednesday, December 9, 2015
Liberty from Higher Desires
The person, who is in the enjoyment of true spiritual liberty, is no longer enthralled by certain desires of a higher character than the appetites; such as the desire of society, the desire of knowledge, the desire of the world's esteem and the like. These principles, which, in order to distinguish them from the appetites, may conveniently be designated as the propensities or propensive principles, operate in the man of true inward liberty as they were designed to operate, but never with the power to enslave. He desires, for instance, to go into society, and, in compliance with the suggestions of the social principle, to spend a portion of time in social intercourse; but he finds it entirely easy, although the desire, in itself considered, may be somewhat marked and strong, to keep it in strict subordination to his great purpose of doing every thing for the glory of God. Or perhaps, under the influence of another propensive tendency, that of the principle of curiosity, he desires to read a book of much interest, which some individual has placed before him; but he finds it entirely within his power, as in the other case, to check his desire, and to keep it in its proper place. In neither of these instances, nor in others like them, is he borne down, as we often perceive to be the case, by an almost uncontrollable tendency of mind. The desire, as soon as it begins to exist, is at once brought to the true test. The question at once arises, Is the desire of spending my time in this way conformable to the will of God? And if it is found or suspected to be at variance with the divine will, it is dismissed at once. The mind is conscious of an inward strength, which enables it to set at defiance all enslaving tendencies of this nature.