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, November 25, 2016

Energy and Faith

Religious faith, in perfect analogy to that which is natural, brings personal and mighty energy to its possessor; and places in his hand, in the sharp contest with sin and Satan, the shield of victory. It does this, among other things, and on the same principle that natural faith does, by giving exceeding power to his religious volitions or determinations.

The man, who has no faith, is necessarily powerless. He is smitten by the irreversible law of nature, as well as by the present and special frown of God. He lies prostrate upon the ground, a mere imbecile, useless and impracticable alike to good and evil; but he, who has faith, acts, and acts vigorously. Faith diffuses a calm but effective energy through the whole man: especially is this true of religious faith. Natural faith gives power in the subjection of natural enemies; religious faith gives power and victory over enemies that are spiritual.

Natural faith is patient, persevering, and successful in ascertaining natural truths, and in extending the boundaries of natural knowledge. Religious faith sits patiently at the fountains of religious instruction; and holding inward intercourse, and being powerful with God, it obtains knowledge of those higher things of a moral and religious nature, which even the angels desire to look into. Natural faith passes over natural barriers, over barren wastes and tangled forests, over valleys and mountains, over rivers and oceans; but religious faith, coming in conflict with religious or spiritual obstacles, resists and conquers all hindrances, whatever they be, which stand between the soul and the possession of the true spiritual kingdom; contending against sin original and sin practical, against temptations from within and temptations from without, against Satan invisible and Satan embodied in human agency, and crying with the victorious voice of the one in the wilderness, “make straight the way of the Lord.” Natural faith unites together families, stretches abroad the connecting links of neighborhoods, constitutes corporations, and in the greatest extent of its power lays the foundation of states and nations. Religious faith, distrustful of its own power of vision, looks at things with God’s eye; and viewing them in the higher and divine light, expands the limits of social connection and identifies them with the limits of the universe. It places God at the head. It unites in the sweep of its broad view not only individuals and families, not only neighborhoods and nations, but the inhabitants of distant worlds, and all higher orders and classes of beings into one, binding all to the great center, and constituting universal harmony.

— edited from The Life of Faith (1852) Part 1, Chapter 3.

No comments:

Post a Comment