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, September 30, 2014

Entire Consecration

If men of earth, for earth's renown,
Are willing long to wait or toil,
Nor shrink to lay existence down
Upon the war-field's bloody soil;­

If there is nought they'll not endure,
If there is nought they will not dare,
To make their hopes, their purpose sure,
Their wealth to gain, their wreath to wear;-

Oh, say, shall we, who bear a name
That intimates our heavenly birth,
Behold our efforts put to shame,
When placed beside the zeal of earth?

'Tis Jesus calls. For his dear sake,
If they their all for earth have given,
Oh, let us haste his cross to take,
And give our hearts, our all for heaven.

American Cottage Life (1850).

Monday, September 29, 2014

A Delightful Attraction Toward the Divine Mind

I could speak of many remarkable deliverances and supports in time of mental trial. God has ever been with me, in time of trouble, a faithful God. But these and many other things which have called forth the deep gratitude of my heart, I am compelled to omit.

I cannot refrain from saying, however, that almost from the very moment of my obtaining the victory over those selfish feelings which have been spoken of; I was distinctly conscious of a new but powerful and delightful attraction towards the Divine mind. This, I believe, is a common form of interior experience among those who have enjoyed the blessing of sanctification. I perceived and felt very distinctly that there was a central existence, full of all glory, towards which the Spirit was tending. I could realize the meaning of the Psalmist, "As the hart panteth after the water-brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God." I felt like an imprisoned bird, when the string is cut that bound it to the earth, and which soars upwards and spreads its wings to the skies. So conscious have I been that inordinate self-love has been the great cause of the separation between my soul and God, that the very idea of self as distinct from God is almost painful to me. When self is destroyed, the divine union, which sanctified hearts only know, takes place. If I know any thing, I know most certainly that the true resting place of my soul is and must be in the infinite mind; that it is not and cannot be any where else. Perhaps no part of the Scriptures, during the more recent periods of my experience, has more affected me, than the prayer of the Saviour for his disciples, "That they all may be one, as thou, Father, art in me, and I in Thee, that they also may be ONE IN US." It is difficult for me to conceive of any heaven but God's presence; of any hell but his absence. I realize that the cup of my happiness is full, whatever may be my personal trials and sorrows, whenever and wherever my heavenly Father is glorified in me. Accordingly it is my earnest and constant prayer, that my will may be wholly and for ever lost in the will of God, and that I may never know self any more, except as the instrument of divine glory.

— from Phoebe W. Palmer (editor), Pioneer Experiences or The Gift of Power Received by Faith Illustrated and Confirmed by the Testimony of Eighty Living Ministers of Various Denominations (1872).

Saturday, September 27, 2014

An Experience of the Holy Spirit

I have continually what seems to me to be the WITNESS of the Holy Spirit; that is to say, I have a firm and. abiding conviction that I am wholly the Lord's; which does not seem to be introduced into the mind by reasoning, nor by any methods whatever of forced and self-made reflection, and which I can ascribe only to the Spirit of God. It is a sort of interior voice, which speaks silently but effectively to the soul, and bids me be of good cheer.

At times, especially on the 14th of February, 1840, I experienced some remarkable operations on my mind, which made a profound and lasting impression. Language would be but a feeble instrument in detailing them, and I will not attempt it. Indeed I do not know but I must say with the Apostle, "whether in the body or out of the body, I cannot tell." But in view of what I then experienced and have experienced at other times, I cannot help saying with the Apostle, "God hath also sealed us, and given us the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts."


— from Phoebe W. Palmer (editor), Pioneer Experiences or The Gift of Power Received by Faith Illustrated and Confirmed by the Testimony of Eighty Living Ministers of Various Denominations (1872).

Friday, September 26, 2014

Prayers for Sanctification Answered

On Sabbath evening, the 2d of February, I was greatly afflicted in mind; tossed to and fro as in a, tempest; and it, seemed to me that I could not easily stand where I was, but must either advance or retreat. But God's grace was sufficient. My faith remained unshaken; and, on Monday morning, I thought I could say with great calmness and assurance, Thou hast given me the victory. I was never able before that time to say with sincerity and confidence, that I loved my heavenly Father with all my soul and with all my strength. But, aided by divine grace, I have been enabled to use this language, which involves, as I understand it, the true idea of Christian perfection or holiness, both then and ever since. There was no intellectual excitement, no very marked joy, when I reached this great rock of practical salvation. The soul seemed to have gathered strength from the storm which I had passed through on the previous night; and, aided by a power from on high, it leaped forward, as it were by a bound, to the great and decisive mark. I was distinctly conscious when I reached it. The selfish exercises which had recently, and, as it were, by a concentrated and spasmodic effort, troubled me so much, seemed to be at once removed; and I believed, and had reason to believe, that my heart, presumptuous as it may appear to some to say it, was now purified by the Holy Spirit, and made right with God. I was thus, if I was not mistaken in my feelings, no longer an offering to the world, but SANCTIFIED UNTO THE LORD; given to Him to be His, and no longer my own; redeemed by a mighty power, and filled with the blessing of "perfect love."

The enemy might now be said to be cast out of the interior of the castle. Nevertheless, he has never ceased his hostility; He has laid his snares and presented his temptations. It would be presumption to assert positively that I had never in any case, nor for any length of time, yielded to his power. But I can testify abundantly to the goodness of God's grace, that he has heard the voice of my prayer, and in a wonderful manner preserved me. Certain it is that my spiritual life has been a new life. There is calm sunshine upon the soul. The praise of God is continually upon my lips.


— from Phoebe W. Palmer (editor), Pioneer Experiences or The Gift of Power Received by Faith Illustrated and Confirmed by the Testimony of Eighty Living Ministers of Various Denominations (1872).

Thursday, September 25, 2014

A Struggle With Selfishness

Under the influence of the feelings which I have just described, I consecrated myself anew to God in a more specific and solemn manner. I now made a written record of my consecration, which I had not done before. But while it seemed to me that I sincerely endeavored to give up all, I was unable as yet, in consequence probably of some lingering remains of unbelief, or because God, in his wise sovereignty, was pleased to try a little longer the faith which he had given me, to speak confidently of my SANCTIFICATION.

I would take the liberty to say here, that I do not consider CONSECRATION and SANCTIFICATION the same thing. Consecration is the incipient, the prerequisite act. It is the laying of ourselves upon the altar; but it is not till God has accepted the sacrifice, and wrought upon us by the consuming and restoring work of the Holy Spirit, that we can be said to be sanctified. It is true that the one may immediately and almost simultaneously follow the other; and that will be the case where faith in God is perfect. But this was not the case with me. But I was now, however, by the grace of God, in a position where I had new strength, and could plead the promises with much greater confidence than formerly. God had given me great blessings, such as a new sense of forgiveness, increased love, a clear evidence of adoption and sonship, closer and deeper communion with himself, but I felt there was something remaining to be experienced.

In this state of mind, not having fully attained the object of my expectations and wishes, but still greatly in advance of my former Christian experience, and with a fixed determination to persevere, I left the city of New York about the middle of January, 1840. Immediately after my arrival at my residence in the State of Maine, I united with some Methodist brethren in establishing a meeting similar to those which had benefited me so much in New York, for the purpose of promoting personal godliness, and which was designed to be open to persons of all denominations of Christians. This meeting was very encouraging to me and others.

Nevertheless, I was not able for about two weeks to profess the personal experience and realization of the great blessing of holiness as it seemed to be experienced and realized in others. The principal difficulty; as I daily examined my heart to see how the case stood between my soul and God, seemed to be a consciousness, while other evils were greatly or entirely removed, of the remains of SELFISHNESS. Indeed, at this particular time, the selfish principle, or rather the principle of self-love, in its inordinate and unholy exercise, seemed to be stimulated to unwonted activity. The remains of every form of internal opposition to God appeared to be centered in one point and to be prosecuted in one aspect. I do not know that I was ever more troubled, during so short a space of time, with feelings of this nature.

I do not mean to say that I was more selfish at this time than ever before; by no means. But the existence and horrible nature of this state of' mind were more fully brought to view. I took this encouragement, however, that God was perhaps now showing me, as he often does when he is about to bless with entire holiness of heart, the very root of evil. And I was sincerely desirous to see it and to know it, that it might be slain in his presence. The good hand of the Lord was pleased to sustain my faith in this sharp contest. My continual prayer to God was that He would enable me to love him with all my heart. I knew not fully what the nature of perfect love was; but my prayer was that this love, whatever might be its nature and its inward manifestations, might in God's time and way be realized within me. And in the answer to this prayer, whenever it should be given, I confidently foresaw the termination of this internal conflict. For selfishness can never exist in union with perfect love.


— from Phoebe W. Palmer (editor), Pioneer Experiences or The Gift of Power Received by Faith Illustrated and Confirmed by the Testimony of Eighty Living Ministers of Various Denominations (1872).

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Meeting the Methodists

In December of this year, 1839, I visited the city of New York on business, which brought me into communication with certain persons who belonged to the Methodist denomination. I was providentially led to form an acquaintance with other pious Methodists, and was exceedingly happy in attending a number of meetings which had exclusive reference to the doctrine of holiness and to personal holy experience. In these meetings I took the liberty; although comparatively a stranger, to profess myself a believer in the doctrine of holiness and a seeker after it. And I found myself greatly encouraged and aided by the judicious remarks, the prayers and the sympathies of a number of beloved Christian friends.

As I now perceive, the great difficulty at this time in the way of my victorious progress was my ignorance of the important principle, that SANCTIFICATION, as well as justification, is by FAITH. By consecrating myself to God, I had put myself into a favorable condition to exercise faith; but I had never understood and felt the imperative necessity of this exercise, viz., of FAITH as a sanctifying instrumentality. My Methodist friends, to whom this view was familiar, gave me, in the spirit of Christian kindness, much instruction and assistance here, for which I desire to be grateful to them.

I found that I must give up the system, already too long cherished, of walking by signs, and manifestations, and sensible experiences, and must commit every thing, in light and in darkness, in joy and in sorrow, into the hands of God. Realizing, accordingly, that I must have greater faith in God as the fulfiller of his promises, and as the pledged and everlasting portion of those who put their trust in him, and aided by the kindness and supplications of Christian friends, I in some degree (and perhaps I may say in a very considerable degree) gained the victory.

I shall ever recollect the time. It was early on Friday morning, the 27th of December. The evening previous had been spent in deeply interesting conversation and in prayer on the subject of holiness, and with particular reference to myself. Soon after I awoke in the morning, I found that my mind, without having experienced any very remarkable manifestations or ecstasies, had, nevertheless, undergone a great moral revolution. I was removed from the condition of a SERVANT, and adopted into that of a SON. I believed and felt, in a sense which I had never experienced before, that my sins were all blotted out, were wholly forgiven; and that Christ was not only the Savior of mankind in general, but my Christ my Savior in particular, and that God was my Father. As I have observed, I had no ecstasy, but great and abiding peace and consolation.


— from Phoebe W. Palmer (editor), Pioneer Experiences or The Gift of Power Received by Faith Illustrated and Confirmed by the Testimony of Eighty Living Ministers of Various Denominations (1872).

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

A Private Prayer of Consecration

As soon as I had become established in the belief of present holiness, I felt a great increase of obligation to be holy. Many secret excuses for sin, which had formerly paralyzed my efforts, now lost their power. The logic in the case was very simple. God requires me to be holy now, and as he can require nothing unreasonable, I am under obligation to be holy now. I could not turn to the right hand nor to the left. I knew instinctively and most certainly that God did not and could not require impossibilities. I considered his command as involving an implied promise to help me to fulfill it.

I felt, moreover, that every moment's delay was adding transgression to transgression, and was exceedingly offensive in the sight of God. Accordingly, within a very few days after rejecting the common doctrine, that sanctification is fully attainable only in the article of death, and receiving the doctrine of the possibility and duty of present holiness, I consecrated my self to God, body and spirit, deliberately, voluntarily, and for ever.

I had communicated my purpose to no human being. There was nothing said; nothing written. It was a simple volition; a calm and unchangeable resolution of mind; a purpose silently but irrevocably made, and such as any Christian is capable of making. But simple as it was, I regard it as a crisis in my moral being which has, perhaps, affected my eternal destiny; I acknowledge that I took this important step in comparative darkness; that is to say; clouds were round about me, and I went by faith rather than by sight; but I had an unwavering confidence in God, that he would in his own time and way carry me through and give me the victory.

This important decision was made in the summer of 1839, and about the middle of July. Two almost immediate and marked results followed this act of consecration. The one was an immediate removal of that sense of condemnation which had followed me for many years, and had filled my mind with sorrow. The other result, which also almost immediately followed, was a great increased value and love of the Bible. It required no great effort of reasoning to perceive that, in doing the whole will of God, which had become the fixed purpose of my life, I must take the Bible for my guide. As I opened and read its pages from day to day; its great truths disclosed themselves to my mind with an impressiveness and beauty unknown before. And this result, independently of the aid implied in the biblical promise that those who do the will of God shall understand his communication, was what might have naturally and reasonably been expected. Before this time, reading every where my own condemnation, I had insensibly but voluntarily closed my eyes to the doctrine of present holiness, which shines forth so brightly and continually from the sacred pages. But now I found holiness every where, and I felt that I began to love it.


— from Phoebe W. Palmer (editor), Pioneer Experiences or The Gift of Power Received by Faith Illustrated and Confirmed by the Testimony of Eighty Living Ministers of Various Denominations (1872).

Monday, September 22, 2014

Early Christian Experience

In the Spring of 1815, in connection with a remarkable revival, which took place in Dartmouth College, I suppose that I experienced religion. About three years afterwards, I made a profession of religion in the Congregational Church. Accordingly, I have been a public professor of religion ever since that time. During the greater part of that long period, I believe that I have striven earnestly for high religious attainments. For various reasons, however, and particularly the discouraging influence of the prevalent doctrine that personal sanctification cannot fully take place till death, I did not permanently attain the object of my desires. Sometimes, it is true, I advanced much, and then again was thrown back — living what may be called the common Christian life of sinning and repenting, of alternate walking with God and devotedness to the world. This method of living was highly unsatisfactory to me, as it has often been to others. It seemed exceedingly dangerous to risk my soul in eternity in such a state as this. In this state of mind I was led, early in the summer of 1839, by a series of special providences, which it is here unnecessary to detail, to examine the subject of personal holiness as a matter of personal realization. I examined the subject, as I thought, prayerfully, candidly, and faithfully — looking at the various objections as well as the multiplied evidences — and came, ultimately, to the undoubting conclusion that God required me to be holy, that he had made provision for it, and that it was both my duty and my privilege to be so. The establishment of my belief in this great doctrine was followed by a number of pleasing and important results.


— from Phoebe W. Palmer (editor), Pioneer Experiences or The Gift of Power Received by Faith Illustrated and Confirmed by the Testimony of Eighty Living Ministers of Various Denominations (1872).

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Vanity of Earthly Expectations

The autumn leaves, descending fast,
Are rent and scattered by the blast;
But not more sure they press the earth
Than fall the hopes of human birth.

See earthly pleasures pass away,
See health and loveliness decay,
And friendship's pledge, so warmly spoken,
No sooner made, than coldly broken.

Oh, place no expectations here,
To find them crush'd, however dear;
If thou canst trust the morning dew,
Then hope to find earth's promise true.

But live and look for that far clime,
Beyond the spheres of earth and time,
Where hopes that bloom shall perish never,
But bright to-day, are bright forever.

American Cottage Life (1850).

Friday, September 19, 2014

When First I Started on My Way

When first I started on my way,
I thought my love would ne'er decline.
My Savior often heard me say,
"I live for Thee." "I'm wholly thine."

But sudden, in the strife and press
Of cares around my path that came,
I found affection growing less;
Alive, but with a weaker flame.

Starting I wept, but heard at length,
A voice within which seemed to say,
In Him thou lovest there is strength
For those whose feet have gone astray.

Dear Savior! Turn me from the chase
Of worldly aims, of worldly bliss;
And let me see once more the face,
Which once made all my happiness.

American Cottage Life (1850).

Thursday, September 18, 2014

If There E'er Was a Time

If  there e' er was a time of rejoicing, 'twas then
When we first broke asunder the shackles that bound us,
And walked in a freedom more blest than of men,
For the smiles of the Savior were scattered around us.

Drawn forth from the shades of our prison, we deemed
All nature resplendent with light and with beauty;
And oft, in the glow of our feelings, it seemed
We ne'er could be wanting in love and in duty.

And shall it be said, that our souls cease to love?
And shall we forget so transcendent a blessing?
Dear Savior, look down from thy mansions above,
And from moment to moment bestow thy refreshing,

'Tis in Thee that we live; Thou didst give us our life,
'Tis in Thee that we hope; let thy banner be o' er us.
Unless Thou dost aid us, we fail in the strife,
But with Thee every foe shall be driven before us.

American Cottage Life (1850).

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Binding Ourselves to the Will of God Binds Us to the Whole of God

Man's perceptive powers are limited. They do not correspond, in extent, with those of God; and consequently we can unite with God, in the matter of knowledge, only in a limited degree. The union with [God], in this respect, may be  perfect  as far as it goes; but it is restricted in extent. And it will be found to be the same in relation to love. We may harmonize perfectly with the divine love, in all cases where objects of love are presented to us. But the sphere of our knowledge, through which objects are presented to us, being limited, the sphere of our love also is limited. Practically, our love cannot, in its extent, be carried beyond the limit of known objects of love.

But, in the acts of the will, the Godhead, if we may be allowed the expression, so simplifies itself, that the harmony between the created and the uncreated, the human and the divine, may be perfect in extent as well as degree. God's will (we mean here, by the term, the act of his will in any given case) is a unity, combining together, as it were, and representing the whole of his knowledge, the whole of his love, the whole of his nature. As all objects may be, and are, present to it in a single glance, and compressed as it were into the eternal NOW, a single act of the will, embracing and adjusting all previous knowledge and all previous feeling, decides upon all, enacts all, establishes all. It is this act of the will, — an act extending to and consolidating everything else,— with which we are required to be united. Based upon infinite variety, in itself it is but one thing; and we are to unite with it as one. But as it  is the unity of the Godhead, embracing the infinite variety of the Godhead, we cannot unite with God in the simplicity and unity of the will, without being virtually united with him in the infinite multiplicity of his knowledge and affection.

If these views are correct, which, in binding us to the will of God, bind us to the whole of God, we not only see how much is involved in an union with the divine will, but how fearfully hazardous it is to indulge in the slightest deviation from that will when it is once ascertained. No direction is more important than that which requires us to labor and pray for harmony with God in this respect. The other unions which have been mentioned, important and indispensable as they are, may be regarded as preparatory to this. The union of the human and divine wills is the consummation of those which have gone before. It is not surprising, therefore, that the Saviour so frequently refers to this form of union. " My meat," he says, "is to do the will of him that sent me." [John 4:34; 6:38.] And again he says, "I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me." 'He that doeth the will of God," says the apostle John, "abideth forever." [First Epis. of John 2:17.]

A Treatise on Divine Union (1851) Part 5, Chapter 1.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

A Quiet and Subdued Manner

We  must not only do the right things, but do them in the right manner. The manner of a holy person is generally characterized, as compared with that of others, by a great degree of meekness and quietude, particularly in the ordinary intercourse of life. And this for three reasons 1. A religious one, viz., that his whole soul rests calmly in the will of God; and  therefore,  ordinarily, he sees no occasion either for inward or outward perturbation. 2. A philosophical one, viz., an outward perturbation or excitement of manner reacts upon the mind, and sometimes stimulates the inward emotions and passions so much as partially to take them out of our own  control, which is injurious. 3. A practical one, viz., a quiet and subdued manner, when flowing from deep religious principle, has an exceedingly impressive and happy effect upon the mass of mankind, especially upon persons of intelligence and cultivation. Still there are some occasions, perhaps not very frequent, when an energy and even violence of manner is not inconsistent with holiness.

Religious Maxims (1846) LXXXIX.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Injury and Reproof

If at any time we are injured by others, and find feelings of anger arising in ourselves, we should ever be careful, before attempting to reprove and amend them, to obtain a victory over our own hearts. Otherwise our reproofs, though fully deserved, and although it may be our duty to give them, will be likely to be in vain.

Religious Maxims (1846) LXXXVIII.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

The Danger in Reproving Others

It is undoubtedly a duty to reprove, on suitable occasions, those who are not perfect before God. But it is sometimes the case that the reproof of others, especially when sharply and frequently uttered, is an evidence of our own imperfection. It too sadly shows, that we have not that spirit of entire self-sacrifice and heart felt charity which, in the language of the Apostle, "thinketh no evil, but beareth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things."

Religious Maxims (1846). LXXXVII.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Enmity of the Heart

If there is sunshine in the face,
And joy upon the brow,
Do not suppose, that there's a trace
Of answering joy below,

And what avails the outward light,
Upon the face the smile,
If all within is dark as night,
If all is dead the while?

Deep in the heart the evil lies,
Which nought on earth can cure,
Aversion to the only Wise,
To God, the only Pure.

Oh Thou, who giv'st the heart renewed,
Withhold it not from me,
That, all my enmity subdued,
I may rejoice in Thee.

American Cottage Life (1850)

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Love Goes Before, Joy Comes After

The love of God, as it exists in the minds of those who are his devoted followers, always inquires after his will. It does not ask after ease, pleasure, reward; nor, on the other hand, does it ask after trial, suffering, and contempt; it merely asks after the Father's will. Its language is that of the Savior, when he says, "Lo, I come to do thy will, O God." And as in common life we think much of a person that is beloved, and desire his favor and approbation; so in regard to God, if we truly love him, he will be very much in our thoughts, and his approbation and favor will be to us of great price. If he is the highest object of our love, we shall desire no higher happiness than that of constant communion with him, and of being always united to him by oneness of will. Thus we may be said to be in him, and he in us; and that eternal rest of the soul, which constitutes the true heaven, will be commenced here. Then we shall have the true joy, calm, deep, unchangeable. Love goes before; joy comes after. Love is the principle of action; joy is the reward. In the spiritual tree of life, love is the nutritive sap, the permeating and invigorating power, that flows through the body and the soul of man; joy is one of its beautiful fruits and flowers. If, therefore, love is strong, joy will never fail us. But, on the other hand, if love is wanting, there can be no joy, except that joy of the world, which worketh death.

If we are truly sanctified to the Lord, in other words, if we love God with all our hearts, our course as Christians will be a consistent and stable one. Our rule of action will be the will of God; our principle of action will be the love of God. And as the will of God is fixed, and is made known to us in various ways, especially in his holy Word, we shall endeavor to fulfill it at all times humbly and faithfully, without regard to those temporary and changing feelings which too often perplex the religious life.

In the state of mind which has been spoken of, we shall not fail of any consolation which is needful for us. It belongs to the very nature of desire, that, when the desire is gratified, we are more or less happy. Accordingly in exercising love to God, the leading element of which is desire, and in doing and suffering his holy will, in accordance with such desire, we cannot be otherwise than happy in a considerable degree. If we seek joy or happiness as an ultimate object, we cannot fail, on religious principles, to miss of it. If, under the promptings of love, we seek merely to do and suffer the will of God, we shall certainly, except in those cases, where God, by a special act of sovereignty, withdraws consolation in order to try our faith, possess all that consolation, which will be needful. And in the case which has just been mentioned, if our faith, still trusting in the beloved object, sustains the terrible shock of apparent desertion, (as when our Savior exclaimed, "My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?") we shall soon find abundant consolation returning.

— edited from The Interior or Hidden Life (1844) Part 1, Chapter 14.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Difference Between Love and Joy

Some persons, who are truly seeking the sanctifying power of assured faith and perfected love, and who suppose that they are seeking it in the right way, have nevertheless committed the dangerous error of confounding joy with love; and are in fact, without being fully aware of it, seeking after a state of highly joyful and rapturous excitement, instead of true love.  It  is to some mistake of this kind that the pious Lady Maxwell probably has reference, when she says, "The Lord has taught me, that it is by faith, and not JOY I must live." It seems to me, therefore, important, in order to understand the true foundation of the christian life, to draw the distinction between joy and love.

The distinction is very properly made in philosophical writers between Emotions and Desires; and that joy is to be regarded as an emotion, rather than a desire. Regarded as an emotive state of the mind, joy, like the emotions generally, naturally terminates in itself. That is to say, a person may be the subject of highly raised joyful emotions, and at the same time may remain inactive.  He may be wholly occupied with the ecstatic movement of his own feelings, and be destitute of thought, feeling, and action for others.— But the leading characteristic of love, that in particular which distinguishes it from mere joy, is the element of desire. It is the nature of love, as it is the nature of every thing else of which desire is the prominent element, not to stop or terminate in itself: but to lead to something else. And, furthermore, love, like other benevolent affections, is not only active in relation to others; but is active for the good of others. We have here, therefore, an important ground of distinction. If Christians were filled with joyful feelings merely, they might, being destitute of other principles of action, remain slothful at their own firesides, and see the world perish in their sins. But love, on the contrary, is sweetly and powerfully impulsive; and constrains us, especially if it be strong, to do good in every possible way to our fellow men. And hence the expression of the Apostle, "the love of Christ CONSTRAINETH us."

— edited from The Interior or Hidden Life (1844) Part 1, Chapter 14.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

We Love Our Enemies Because God Loves Them

On the principles which have been laid down, we see how we may fulfill the command of our Savior to love our enemies, to bless them that curse us, and to do good to them that hate and persecute us. Instead of being a very difficult thing, as is commonly supposed, and as it would undoubtedly be on natural principles, it becomes easy, because, in the language of Francis De Sales, "We cannot love God as we ought, without adopting his sentiments and LOVING WHAT HE LOVES." Now we know  that God loves those who do not love Him. He loved us, even when we were his enemies.  He so loved a rebellious and disobedient world, as to give his Son to die for it. And if we are in the same spirit, loving only what He loves and hating what He hates, we shall find no difficulty in loving our enemies, and in praying for those who "despitefully entreat us." No matter how unlovely they may be in themselves, no matter how cruel and unjust their treatment be to us, the consideration, that our heavenly Father loves them and requires us to love them, lays all things even, and opens the full channels of the heart, as if there were no obstacles existing.

When we love our fellow-men in this way, we love with a perseverance and constancy, which could not be realized under other circumstances. Our love is not subject to those breaks and variations, which characterize it when it is based upon the uncertainties of the creature, instead of the immutability of the divine will. On the contrary, it continually flows on and flows on, whether it meets with any favorable return or not, partaking, in no small measure, of the unchangeableness of the divine nature.

— edited from The Interior or Hidden Life (1844) Part 1, Chapter 13.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Self Love Is Subordinate to Love for God

We love ourselves, only as we love God. In other words, if we love God with perfect love, the love of ourselves will be subordinated and restricted by the controlling desire, THAT GOD MAY BE GLORIFIED IN  US. We can seek nothing, desire nothing, love nothing for ourselves, but what is subordinate to and has a tendency to God's glory. So that the love of self, whatever it may be, is merged and purified in the encircling and absorbing love of God. The love of our neighbor is properly measured, on the principles of the Scriptures, by the love of ourselves. And as we can love ourselves only in subordination to God's will and glory; so we can love our neighbor only in the same manner and the same degree. In other words both the love of ourselves and of our neighbor are only rills and drops from the mighty waters of love to God. And on the supposition, that we are filled with the love of God, the love of our neighbor flows out from the great fountain of divine love, in the various channels and in the degree which God chooses, as easily and as naturally, as a stream flows from its lake in the mountains over the meadows and valleys below. There is no need of effort. Only let God in his providence furnish the occasion; and in a moment the heart will open, and the streams will gush out. Hence the remarks, which are found in various places of the writings of Augustine, Thauler, and Fenelon to this effect, (and some eminent theologians of this country appear decidedly to favor this view,) that the love of God is capable of animating and regulating all those affections, which we owe to his creatures, that the true manner of loving our neighbor, is to love him in and for God; and that we never love him so purely and so much, as when we love him in this way.

— edited from The Interior or Hidden Life (1844) Part 1, Chapter 13.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Self Love

Under the great law of supreme love to God, we may not only love, as we ought to, our friends, our relatives, and our fellow men universally; but, under the same law and in the same manner, we may love ourselves, and may love and seek our own happiness. God is willing that we should. He has made us so that we cannot do otherwise. He requires us to do it. But what is our happiness? It is to love God with all our heart, and to hold all other love in subordination; or what seems to be the same thing, to love God supremely, to exercise and measure all other love with a reference to that supreme and perfect standard of measurement. It is to feel the full power of that divine attraction, which silently draws us from the circumference to the center; it is to experience the restoration of the broken bond of union with the Divine Mind; to be lost, as it were, in the great ocean of the infinite fulness. In other words, our happiness is to renounce ourselves entirely, in order that God, in whom alone is all goodness, may resume that throne in the heart, from which He has been banished. And accordingly we love ourselves and our own happiness, even our frail bodies as well as our immortal souls, because God made us; because He takes care of us and desires our happiness, and recognizes the propriety of our exercising the same desire; because He has designed us, under the operations of his grace, to be mirrors of his own image and the temples of the Holy Ghost; and not because we have a desire, or could for a moment have a desire, a purpose, or a love adverse to, or even not coincident with his. So that all subordinate love of his creatures, whether it have relation to ourselves or others may truly and properly resolve itself into the love of God.

— edited from The Interior or Hidden Life (1844) Part 1, Chapter 13.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Love to our Neighbor and to All Beings

We proceed now to the consideration ... of love to our neighbor, and of created and inferior beings in general. And the first proposition, which we lay down is this. If our love to God be disinterested and pure, and at the same time exist in a degree suitable to the object, viz. in the highest degree, then all other love, and the love of all other creatures will be entirely subordinate to this, and will exist only in relation to it. If we possess pure and perfect love to God, we shall perfectly sympathize with Him in his love towards whatever He has made; and shall, according to our capacity, love just as He does. Our love will naturally, and perhaps we may say of necessity, flow in the same channel. And whatever things He takes an interest in, whether material or immaterial, whether of greater or less consequence, will possess precisely the same interest for us, so far as we possess an equal knowledge of their nature and an equal capacity of love. The devout recollection of the great Architect will impart a degree of sacredness and value to whatever is the work of his hands. In his woods, his rivers, his mountains, his burnished sky and his boundless ocean, we shall see the indistinct reflection of himself, and join to our perception of beauty in the object a still higher admiration of the wisdom and goodness of its Maker. We shall recognize in the birds of the air, in the cattle of the verdant hills, and even in the heedless insect that hums around our path, the agency of Him, who doeth all things well. And we shall feel here, as in other things, that we can never be indifferent to any thing, which our Heavenly Father has made and takes an interest in.

As we rise in the scale of beings to those, which have a rational and moral nature, to those, who are kindred in race and are perhaps kindred by the nearer relationship of family ties, we shall experience the exercise of love on the same principle. We do not deny, that we shall be susceptible of a natural love. We know that we shall be. But what we mean to say is, that our love, whether purely natural and founded on the relations we sustain to the object, or whether an acquired love and resting wholly upon the deliberate perception of its amiable qualities, will be perfectly subordinate to the love of God and will be regulated by it. It  would perhaps be a concise expression of the fact to say, whatever specific modifications our love may assume under the operation of natural causes, that we shall love all things IN AND FOR GOD. And if we are required in the first instance to love God with ALL our heart, it does not clearly appear when we fulfill the divine requisition, how we can love our neighbor or anything else in any other way than this.

— edited from The Interior or Hidden Life (1844) Part 1, Chapter 13.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Danger of Seeking Signs Before Faith

The views, which have been taken of the life of faith, will aid us in forming a proper estimate of a tendency, which is often noted among the followers of Christ, to seek for signs, tokens, and manifestations, as the basis, in part at least, of their full reconciliation with God, and of a holy life. We are aware, that this tendency arises, in some cases from ignorance; but there can be no doubt, that it has its origin chiefly in that dreadful malady of our nature, the sin of UNBELIEF. But considered in any point of view, and as originating in any cause whatever, we cannot regard it as otherwise than wrong in principle, and as exceedingly injurious in its consequences. 

The life of specific signs, testimonies, and manifestations, is not only evil by being a deviation from the way of faith; but is evil also by keeping alive and cherishing the selfish principle, instead of destroying it. He, who seeks to live in this manner, instead of living by simple faith and who thus shows a secret preference of specific experiences, modeled after his own imaginations of things, to that pearl of great price, which is found in leaving all things with God, necessarily seeks to have things in his own way. The way of faith is the way of self-renunciation; the humbling and despised way of our personal nothingness. The way of signs, testimonies, and manifestations, is the way of one's own will; and, therefore, naturally tends to keep alive and nourish the destructive principle of selfishness. The lives of those who attempt to live in this way, with some variations in particular cases, may be regarded as an evidence of the general correctness of these remarks. They seem like children brought up in an unwisely indulgent manner; not unfrequently full of themselves, when they are gratified in the possession of their particular object, and full of discouragement, peevishness, and even of hostility, which are the natural results of the workings of self, when they are disappointed.

— edited from The Interior of Hidden Life (1844) Part 1, Chapter 11.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Do Not Depend Upon Signs

God does not design, that men in the present life should live by means of specific signs, testimonies, or manifestations, but by simple faith alone. The great design of the Gospel, in its practical and final result on man, seems to be to restore and firmly establish the lost principle of faith, as the true and only available basis of the religious life. And there seems to be a necessity that it should be so. From the nature of the case there never can be any true reconciliation and harmony between God and his creatures, until they can so far have confidence in him as to receive his declarations, and to draw their life, as it were, from the words, which have proceeded out of his mouth. In any other way of living, whatever may be the nature of their inward or outward experiences, they live at variance with the order and the plans of God; out of the line of his precepts, and of course in the same degree out of the range of his blessings. And hence it is, that we find the remarkable expressions of the Savior to the doubting disciple. "Because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed. Blessed are they that have NOT seen, and yet have believed."

And we desire here, as a matter of some importance, to lay down a practical test or rule on this subject. It is this. Whenever we desire a specific experience, whether inward or outward, whether of the intellect or the affections, [prior] to the exercise of faith, we are necessarily in so doing seeking a sign, or testimony, or something, whatever we may choose to call it, additional to the mere declaration and word of God. There is obviously a lingering distrust in the mind, which jostles us out of the line of God's order; which is not satisfied with his way of bringing the world into reconciliation with himself; and under the influence of which we are looking round for some new and additional witness for our faith to rest upon. In other words, although we may not be fully conscious of it, we desire a sign. In the language of the experienced Mr. Fletcher of Madely, "we want to see our own faith," a state of mind, which, as it requires sight to see our faith with, in other words a basis of faith additional to that which God has already given, is necessarily inconsistent with and destructive of faith. This simple test will aid very much, in revealing to us the true state of our hearts.

The Interior of Hidden Life (1844) Part 1, Chapter 11.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Leave Things in the Hands of God

When in the instruction and admonition of others, we have faithfully done our duty, we shall be willing, if we are in a right state of heart, to leave the event, with entire calmness of mind, in the hands of God. We know not what shall profit, whether this or that; but we may be assured, to say the least, that God will do his part, as well as we have done ours, although perhaps in a different way from what we expected. "I have observed, says Bunyan, "that a word cast in by the bye, hath done more execution in a sermon, than all that was spoken besides. Sometimes also, when I have thought I did no good, then I did the most of all; and at other times, when I thought I should catch them, I have fished for nothing."

Religious Maxims (1846) LXXXVI.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Impurities Revealed

Often the water that is enclosed in a glass vessel appears to the unaided eye, clear and pure. But if a ray of bright light suddenly strikes the vessel and illuminates it, we at once discover various impurities which had before escaped our notice. So our sins have many hiding places, which conceal them from the natural conscience. And we should ask light from God, a clear, heavenly illumination, that we may find them out.

Religious Maxims (1846) LXXXV.