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, October 26, 2016

Illustrations of Natural Faith

Taking it for granted, in view of what has been said, that every person has exercised more or less of belief, and that consequently every person, as a matter of inward consciousness, knows something of its nature, we will proceed to give a few simple illustrations.

The child, that sets out with his parents upon a long and untried journey, without a doubt that his parents will supply his wants and guide him in the right way and will bring him home again in safety, (if, indeed, he feels that he can have a home but in the arms and presence of those parents,) knows what it is to believe. The young man, who for the first time enters upon business for himself, and in the prosecution of the plans and labors which now devolve upon him, finds it necessary to implicate himself with his fellow-men, and to enter into arrangements and contracts, which imply the discharge of duties and the fulfillment of promises on the part of others, knows what it is to believe. The man of more mature years, who is called by his countrymen to the high office of sustaining and administering the laws, but who is obviously unable to do it, without confidence in himself, without confidence in his subordinate agents and in the community at large, knows what it is to believe. So complicated are the relations of society, and so dependent is man on his fellow-man, that it is difficult to see, if man had not faith in others, how he could exist in the world for any length of time. But it seems to us unnecessary to dwell upon this point.

It is sufficient to add here, that this state of mind, of which it is so difficult to give a definition, but which may be supposed to be so well known and understood in each one’s consciousness, arises on a multitude of occasions; on the testimony of our senses in relation to the outward world; on the declarations of consciousness in relation to the facts and modifications of inward feeling; on the statements which are made by our fellow-men in the ordinary affairs of life; in view of that sort of circumstantial evidence, which is furnished by a continuous course of conduct in others; and in connection with the suggestions of the simplest forms of judgment and with the numerous and complicated deductions of reasoning.

— edited from The Life of Faith (1852) Part 1, Chapter 1.

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