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, November 15, 2016

Faith Gives Power

To will to do a thing implies and requires, as an antecedent condition of its own existence, a belief in the possibility of doing it. In other words, we are so constituted, as is well understood I suppose, that it is not possible for us to put forth a volition, a determination, to do a thing, which at the same time we believe it impossible to do. And as a principle flowing out of this law, and making a part of it, we may add further, that, where our belief in the practicability of a thing is weak, our strength of purpose, our volition, will be proportionably weak. Such, at least, is the natural tendency; although it is possible for it to be counteracted by other mental efforts made with a view to counteract it. This, then, is the law of our mental constitution in relation to natural faith. A strong faith, other things being equal, makes a strong will. A weak faith, on the other hand, other things being equal, makes a weak will. And accordingly even among men, who have not experienced the grace and power of religion, the strong man, as compared with other men, who possess naturally the same traits of mind, is the man of strong faith.

But this is not all. Faith pours vigor into the affections, as well as into the will. It gives energy to the action of the heart. It is an enemy of debility; it makes those, who possess it, mighty in the power of love.

We continually see the evidence of the truth of this general position, in the efforts of men, in various situations in life. We can hardly turn to any art or calling, to any scientific, moral, or political movement, without seeing it. Every where we find it to be true, that faith gives power. The history, for instance, of mechanical inventions, and of scientific improvements generally, furnishes an illustration of the subject. The labors of many persons, labors to which we are indebted for many of the most astonishing results in the mechanic arts and in the sciences, have been perseveringly and successfully prosecuted under circumstances of want, of opposition, and of ridicule. Nothing seemed sufficient to stop their efforts. And the inquiry naturally arises here, what was the secret of this remarkable perseverance, of this great energy, under circumstances exceedingly trying? Whatever incidental influences may have existed, one thing is certain, that one great element of their energy and perseverance was FAITH. They had faith in the value of the object; they had faith in the possibility of its being ascertained and realized; they had faith also in their ability to accomplish what they had undertaken to do. This was the secret, (we do not say exclusively, but certainly in a very great degree,) of their indomitable strength. When, therefore, at distant periods, we find individuals, arising perhaps from the humblest walks of life, and accomplishing by their almost unaided efforts great results in science and the arts, the Franklins and Fultons of their generation, we may be assured, that the element of natural faith, if not of any other and higher kind of faith, has sustained and invigorated the conceptions and efforts of natural genius.

— edited from The Life of Faith (1853) Part 1, Chapter 2.

No comments:

Post a Comment