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.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Faith and Habit

It is an important law of natural faith, that it acquires strength by repetition or habit. Of the existence of the law of habit, and of its extensive applications, probably no persons, who are acquainted with the operations of the human mind, will have any doubt: and in accordance with this law, every new exercise of confidence or faith in any one of our fellow men, tends to increase the confidence or faith already existing. Religious as well as natural faith may be increased by the same law and in the same manner.

In other words, every new exercise of faith in God and in his great precepts and promises, which is the true idea of religious faith, increases the strength of the principle of faith. This is, practically, a very important view; and especially to those who are desirous of living a truly holy life. I am aware that the increase of religious faith, as well as its origin in the first instance, is the gift of God. But God very properly requires us to observe the laws of our mental nature, and to do what it is our privilege to do.

Accordingly the blessing of God, manifested in the increase of religious faith, seems to me, as a general thing, to conform to this view; and that those and those only who, in observance of the natural law, diligently exercise the faith they already have, can reasonably expect to have more, either by natural increase or by special grace. And, indeed, the doctrine which has now been advanced will apply to all the Christian graces, since God no where gives encouragement, so far as we can perceive, that he will add to the possessions of him who misimproves even his one talent. “For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance; but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.” Matthew 13:12.

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

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