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.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Impulses Inspired by the Holy Spirit

That the Holy Spirit does sometimes act directly upon the sensibilities by exciting in them a purely impulsive feeling, we may probably admit. Undoubtedly there are some facts, in the experience of pious men, which favor this view. But is it the object of the Holy Spirit in originating impulsive impressions, to excite men to immediate action without any reflection, or to excite them to action rationally, that is to say, in connection with suitable inquiry and consideration? This is the important question. And the decision of it involves great practical results.

It is certainly reasonable to suppose, that it is not the object of the Holy Spirit, when He makes a direct impulsive impression on the human mind, to lead men to act without perception and reflection; but rather to stop them in their thoughtless and unreflecting career, and to awaken within them the slumbering powers of thought and inquiry. It is reasonable to suppose this, because as a wise being, as a being acting in accordance with the laws of the human mind, as a being infinitely desirous of true holiness in men, we do not well perceive, how He can take any other course than this.

The true tendency, therefore, of those impressions or impulses, which come from the Spirit of God, is to awaken men to a sense of their thoughtlessness, and to quicken within them a state of humble and holy consideration. When such impressions and impulses are from the right source, we cannot doubt that the results will be of this character. That is to say; they will not of themselves lead men to direct action; but will lead them to that inquiry and reflection, which is preparatory to action. But when impressions or impulses come from Satan, as they sometimes do, their tendency is to lead men to action at once, without such intermediate consideration.

— edited from The Interior or Hidden Life (2nd edition 1844) Part 3, Chapter 4.

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