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, May 3, 2016

Being Like God Means Not Being Impusive

We are continually taught by good men and in the Bible, that we ought to be like our Heavenly Father, to be holy as he is holy, to be perfect as he is perfect. And I suppose it is the general design and aim of Christians, who are striving after high attainments in holiness, to bear this blessed image. But probably we do not any of us conceive of God as acting impulsively and without reflection; as regulating his conduct by the stupid instinct of impressions, without the clear light of perceptive rationality. We should be deeply afflicted and affrighted, in being obliged to ascribe to our Heavenly Father such a character as this.

Similar views will apply to the Savior. He himself says, John 5: 30, "I can of mine own self do nothing. As I hear, I judge; [that is to say, the communications of the Holy Spirit call my judgment into exercise,] and my judgment is just, because, [implying in the remark that he was uninfluenced by any suggestions and impressions from self,] I seek not my own will, but the will of the Father, which hath sent me." Are we not safe, then, if God desires and requires us to be like himself, and to be like him also, whom in the likeness of man He has set before us as our example, in saying, that a judgment, enlightened by the Holy Spirit, is the true guide of our actions, rather than blind impulses and impressions?

It will be recollected, that we do not absolutely deny the occasional existence of impulses and impressions, resulting from the operations of the Spirit of God. But we cannot well avoid the conclusion, that they are entitled to no influence, and are not designed to have any, except in connection with the subsequent action of an awakened and sanctified judgment. And it is this view only, which can rescue them from the imputation of blindness and irrationality, even when they come from a good and right source. When, therefore, we speak of them as blind and irrational, we wish to be understood as speaking of them, as they are in themselves, and without being enlightened by the subsequent action of a sanctified intellect. The subsequent action of the mind, which may always be expected to follow when they come from the Holy Spirit, cannot fail to impart to them a new and interesting character.

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

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