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.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Spiritual Guidance and the Human Mind

The Holy Spirit is very various in his operations upon men; but it will be conceded, I suppose, as a correct principle, that He generally conforms himself in his operations, whatever they may be, to the structure and laws of the human mind. Accordingly in those operations, the object of which is to guide or direct men, it will be found, that He always acts in connection with the powers which are appropriate to such a result; and particularly in connection with the perceptive and judging powers.
We desire it to be kept in mind, that we are speaking here of his directing or guiding operations; in other words, those, which have a special connection with human conduct. These are the operations, which most intimately concern us; and in regard to which it is most important to establish correct principles.

We proceed to say, therefore, it is very obvious from man's mental structure, although he is sometimes the subject of a purely instinctive movement, that God designed, that the perceptive and judging powers, which He has given us, should ordinarily furnish the fundamental condition or basis of human action. And if in his spiritual providences it should be found to be his practice to guide men in any way not in accordance with this design, he would be inconsistent with himself. The first principle, therefore, which we lay down is this, that the Holy Spirit guides men, by operating in connection with the perceptive and judging powers.

And we may properly remark here, that this view, which is so important, as to be deserving of the reflection of the most judicious persons, seems to be in accordance with the sentiments of the pious and learned John Howe.

"We cannot" says this esteemed writer, "so much as apprehend clearly and with distinction the things which are needful for us to apprehend, without the light of the spirit of wisdom. It is necessary, (viz. the light which the Spirit of wisdom gives,) in order to the act of distinguishing or discerning, between things, what is to be done, and what is not to be done. There is a continual need through the whole course of our spiritual life, for the using of such a discretive judgment between things and things. And in reference hereto, there needs a continual emanation of the Holy Ghost, for otherwise we put good for evil and evil for good; light for darkness and darkness for light. We need the Spirit's help, to shine with vigorous and powerful light into our minds, so as to bring our judgments to a right determination."

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

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