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, April 7, 2016

Ceasing from Natural Activity to Find the Guidance of the Spirit

There is another condition necessary to be realized, in order to have the guiding influences of the Holy Spirit always with us. Namely, we must cease from our natural activity. We do not mean to say that we must be inactive; that we must be wholly and absolutely without mental movement; but merely and precisely that we must cease from the activity of nature. In other words, ceasing from self and from its turbulent and deceitful elements, and as a consequence of this, ceasing to place ourselves and our personal interests foremost, we must keep our own plans, purposes, and aims in entire subjection. For instance, when we ask God to guide us, we must not at the same time cherish in our hearts a secret determination and hope to guide ourselves; just as some persons foolishly and almost wickedly ask the advice of their neighbors, when they have already fully decided in their own minds upon their future course of action. If we would have our desires of being continually guided by the Holy Spirit fully realized, we must not only give up our personal and self-interested plans and purposes, submitting every thing into God's hands with entire childlike simplicity, but it is important also not to give way to uneasy, agitated, and excited feelings. The  existence  of undue eagerness and excitement of  spirit, is an evidence that we are, in some degree, afraid to  trust God; and that we are still too much under the influence of the life of nature. So that to cease from the activity of nature, when properly understood, seems to be nothing more nor less, than to cease from the spirit of self wisdom, self seeking, and self guidance, and thus to remain in submissive and peaceful simplicity and disengagement of spirit, in order that God may enter in and may guide us by the wisdom of his own divine inspiration.

It may be proper to add here, that, the view, which has now been expressed, is entirely consistent with the exercise of our powers of perception and reflection. A cessation from our natural activity, in the sense which has been explained, is not only consistent with, but it is evidently favorable to a just exercise of these powers. They will be found at such times to be free from erroneous and disturbing influences, and to possess a clearer insight into the truth.

— edited from The Interior or Hidden Life (2nd edition, 1844) Part 3, Chapter 3. 

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