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.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Guard Against the Habits of Unbelief

Those, who are in assurance of faith, or who are aiming at and approximating that state, should guard against the influence of former habits of unbelief. The fact, that they have given themselves wholly to God, and that he has promised to accept them, and that he does now accept them, while it furnishes ample basis of the assured belief of their acceptance with God, is not inconsistent with strong temptations to unbelief. Against the influence of these temptations they would do well carefully to guard. They should resist them, not only by prayers to God, but by fixed resolutions, by strong purposes; remembering that the doubts, which are thus suggested, and which they are thus called upon to resist, do not spring from real evidence adverse to their acceptance with God, but chiefly from the influence of a species of infirmity and vacillation of mind resulting from former habits of unbelief.

The state of assurance, exalted as it obviously is, is not an unchangeable state. Persons, who are in this state, are not only subject to strong temptations, but they sometimes fall into sin. And Satan will be likely to suggest to them under such circumstances, not only that the transgression of those, who have been so highly favored, is peculiarly aggravated, as it certainly is; but particularly that there no longer remains any hope for them, or but very little hope, in the divine mercy. We remark again, therefore, that no place should be given to such an unworthy suggestion as this. There is the same fountain of redemption opened for souls in the most advanced state of grace, when they fall into sin, as for the errors and sins of those, who have made the least progress. If, therefore, in any moment of imperfect inward recollection, or of sudden temptation, the soul is removed from its Center, and is led into any form of transgression, it should at once look to God with confidence, however deeply unworthy it may be; and repenting in the very moment of the perception of its wrong-doing, should believe, and be forgiven.

Persons, who are in the state of assurance of faith, possess, as a natural result of their assurance, all other Christian graces in a high degree; perhaps we may say, in the highest degree, especially love. Faith, if it exists in the degree in which it ought to exist, is the root, the fountain, from which all other Christian graces will certainly flow, both on their appropriate occasions and in their appropriate strength.

— edited from The Life of Faith (1852) Part 1, Chapter 16.

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