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, March 6, 2017

Consenting to Receive What God Bestows

The regenerated soul does not, by any physical union with God, cease to exist as a soul; nor do its acts cease to exist as the soul’s acts; but it differs from the unregenerated and the unsanctified soul in this respect, that it exists and acts in harmonious cooperation with divine grace imparted; consenting to receive what God chooses to bestow; consenting to be nothing, that God may be all. But we ought to add, (a circumstance which will perhaps meet a difficulty existing in the minds of some,) that this consent is not very explicit, not very formal. It is an act of the soul, so quiet, so remote from general notice, so comparatively indistinct in our consciousness, that it might almost be said to exist by implication merely. In truth, however, the act is something more than implied; it has a positive existence, whether we have a distinct perception of it or not. And it is comparatively lost to our notice, and ceases in a great degree to occupy our attention, only because our attention is taken up with the divine visitant who has entered.

The doctrine, which is proposed in these remarks, is not a new one. It is hardly necessary to say, that it is the ancient, and to the holy soul the cherished doctrine of antecedent or “preventing” grace. A doctrine, there is some reason to fear, better understood formerly than at present; and always, it is to be lamented, more distinctly recognized in theological speculation, than thoroughly applied in Christian practice. It cannot be too often brought to notice, that the great business of man, as it is of all moral beings, is, not a cessation of action; and still less is it an independent action; but is an action in cooperation with God. And this may be said, (so great is the condescension of our heavenly Father,) to make the work of man with God a sort of partnership. But still it should ever be remembered, that it is a species of partnership, existing on the condition, (the only condition which God can ever recognize,) that it shall be God’s part to give, and man’s part to receive.

— edited from The Life of Faith Part 1, Chapter 9.

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