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, April 27, 2016

The Holy Spirit Does Not Guide us Into the Irrational or Absurd

The Holy Spirit does not, either by his gentle influences or by those which are more sudden and powerful, so operate upon a person as to guide him into any course, which is truly irrational and absurd. Now we know in many cases, if we should yield to the direction of mere impressions and impulses, especially those which are of a powerful kind, we should be led to do those things, which, to whatever test or measurement they might be subjected, could not escape the denomination of irrationality or absurdity. Of such impulses the Holy Spirit can never be the author, because nothing which is really absurd and irrational, (we speak not of the mere appearance, but of the reality of absurdity,) can come from that source.

I recollect once to have read the account of a person published by himself, in which he gives the reader to understand, that on a certain occasion he was suddenly and violently seized by the power of God as he expresses it; an expression undoubtedly synonymous in the view of the writer with the power of the Holy Ghost; that he was raised up by this divine impulse from the chest on which he was sitting, and was "whirled swiftly round, like a top for the space of two hours, without the least pain or inconvenience." We do not see on what grounds such an extraordinary result as this, so unmeaning, so unprofitable, and absurd can properly be ascribed to the power of God or the power of the Holy Ghost; especially if it be susceptible of explanation, as we think it can be in a considerable degree at least, on any natural principles. We know that the Savior was full of the Holy Ghost; but we do not read of his being subjected to any operation of this kind. We know also, that the Apostles, although they were plentifully endowed with the Divine Spirit, and under his teachings wrought various wonderful works, yet were never at any time made the subjects of such irrationalities. We have here, therefore, a mark of distinction, viz. that various irrational and absurd results may flow from natural impressions and impulses; but can never flow from the true operations of the Holy Spirit.

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

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