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.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Faith is the Foremost Religious Principle

It would be a natural view of the subject, independently of any thing said in the Scriptures, that some principles of the religious life have greater influence, and are more fundamental in their character, than others. Such a view would be natural, because we find this relation of comparative priority and influence existing in all other cases. In the external world, for instance, in the forms and operations of outward things, the great principles, which originate and sustain  the life of nature, have their relations of time, place, and influence in the economy of the human mind also, it is easy to see, that its principles exist and operate in gradations of subordination and ascendency; and that those, which are subsequent in origin and inferior in position, will depend for their action upon those, which are first in time, or first in efficacy.

It is thus in religion. It will be found to be true, as we have already alleged, that some principles of the religious life have greater influence, and are more fundamental in their character than others. And of this important class of religious principles, it is equally true, that some one will be found to take the precedence, in place and in influence, of all the rest; not only belonging to what may be denominated the first series or class; but, as compared with all the others, being the first in it. And this principle is Faith. It is faith, which stands foremost in place, and foremost in influence; a principle upon which all other principles rest, as upon their true, natural, and strong foundation.

— edited from The Life of Faith (1852) Part 1, Chapter 5.

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