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, January 24, 2017

Love Requires Faith as Its Basis

Love not only requires faith as its basis, but it is equally obvious and equally certain, that our love will rise and fall, just in proportion to our faith. If, for instance, our hearts are full of love to God at the present moment, and we should the next moment cease to believe in him as a God of truth, goodness, and justice, our love would necessarily terminate at once. Or if our faith should not cease entirely, but should merely become perplexed and weakened for some reasons, our love would become perplexed and weakened just in the same degree. Such is the great law of our intellectual and moral being; and such is the doctrine of the Scriptures.

These principles help us to understand what is meant by the faith of the heart; a form of expression which we frequently hear. Properly speaking, or perhaps we should say, speaking psychologically or mentally, faith seems to be an attribute of the intellect, rather than of the heart; an act or state of the understanding rather than of the sensibilities. And yet it must be admitted, that, in the order of mental sequence, it is a state of mind, which, in consequence of being subsequent to perceptions, lays nearer the heart, is in much closer proximity with it, than some other intellectual states or acts. But this is not the only or the most important particular to be considered here. The important fact, and the only one which can give a satisfactory explanation of what is denominated the faith of the heart, is the law of mental relation and action just now stated, viz.: that religious affection is consequent on religious faith, and that they correspond to each other in degree. A faith of the heart, then, is a faith, which affects the heart. A faith of the heart is a faith, which works by love. “In Jesus Christ,” says the Apostle, “neither circumcision availeth any thing nor uncircumcision, but faith which worketh by love.” Galatians 5:6.

— from The Life of Faith (1852) Part 1, Chapter 6.

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