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, January 7, 2016

Consecration, Faith, and Living by the Moment

No man can experience the highest results of religion, and become a truly holy man, unless he has thus consecrated himself to God.

We do not suppose, however, that this, although it is indispensable in the growth of religion in the soul, is ordinarily the first thing that takes place. Before a man can consecrate himself to God, he must be led to see that he is alienated from God. Conviction of sin, therefore, would naturally be the first thing. He could hardly be expected to return, until he had first been made sensible of his departure. But when this has been done, when he has been made in some degree to see and feel his situation, and to apply to Christ for relief, he may reasonably be expected, in his new position and in the exercise of a new faith, to lay himself, as it is sometimes expressed, upon the "altar of sacrifice." And in doing this, he alters his whole position. Dissatisfied with his past experience, he now ceases to look to himself, and to repose confidence in himself. In his blindness, of which he now for the first time has a proper conception, although he knew something of it before, he looks to another and higher source for light. In his weakness, which he finds after a greater or less experience to be universal and total, he looks somewhere else for strength. And this disposition to renounce himself, and to place himself entirely in the hands of God for strength and wisdom and whatever else is necessary for him, is what is generally understood to be meant by consecration.

But consecration, even when realized in the highest sense, is not enough. And, indeed, standing alone, and without the aid of other principles and feelings, it seems to be wholly unavailable.

And, accordingly, another principle, involved in the full or perfect return of the soul to God, is the necessity of appropriating faith; —  that is to say, faith, that he who exercises it, is himself received of God, and that God will do in him and for him all that he has promised to do. To give ourselves to God, in order that we may receive him as our life, and at the same time not to believe in him as actually becoming our life in accordance with his promise, is virtually to annul our consecration, because it is impossible for us sincerely to consecrate ourselves to a being, in whom we have not perfect confidence that he will do what he has promised to do. So that faith, as we have now explained the term, is as necessary as consecration.

When we have thus fully consecrated ourselves to God, and have faith in him, that he does now receive us, then the true life, which before was greatly obstructed in consequence of the consecration being imperfect or partial, flows from God into the soul with greatly increased freeness. The divine fountain is not only opened, but the obstructions, which had previously existed in the recipient, are removed; so that the elements of life are not only offered but received; and they gradually extend, and perhaps very soon, to every part of the soul. We now live with a true life; but it remains to be said, that we live and can live only by the moment

— edited from A Treatise on Divine Union (1851) Part 7, Chapter 10.

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