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, August 31, 2015


Oh, let the fires of trouble burn;
Seek not too soon to quench the flame;
In peaceful Resignation learn,
The better way their wrath to tame.

Resistance, which thy fears inspire,
Doth not protect, doth not restore;
'Tis rather fuel for the fire,
And makes it blaze and burn the more.

But when thy troubled soul accepts
The furnace of its wasting grief;
A power unseen thy life protects;
'Tis Christ himself that brings relief.

Oh yes, 'tis Jesus with thee stands;
The heated fires grow weak and dim;
He shields thee with His outstretch'd hands;

Christ in the Soul (1872) XXXVIII.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

The Living Fountain

I hear the tinkling camel's bell
Beneath the shade of Ebal's mount,
And man and beast, at Jacob's well,
Bow down to taste the sacred fount.

Samaria's daughter too doth share
The draught that earthly thirst can quell;
But who is this that meets her there?
What voice is this at Jacob's well?

Ho! ask of me and I will give.
From my own life, thy life's supply;
I am the fount! drink, drink, and live;
No more to thirst, no more to die!

Strange mystic words, but words of heaven;
And they who drink today as then,
To them shall inward life be given;
Their souls shall never thirst again!

Christ in the Soul (1872) XXXVII.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Support in Affliction

"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.  Therefore will not we fear,  though  the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea." Ps. xlvi. 1, 2.

When, Father, thou dost send the chastening rod,
Oh, what am I, that I should dare reply,
Thy love arraign, thy righteousness deny,
And set the creature in array with God?
Far be it from my soul to question Thee,
For I am nought. Be this my only prayer,
That I may have due strength the rod to bear,
And bless the hand that doth environ me.
So that, what time the outward man doth perish,
Smitten with many stripes, inflicted deep,
The inward man renewed hopes may cherish,
And high above the storms in glory sweep.
We sink in the deep waters; but thy hand
Shall hold us in the waves, and bring us safe to land.

American Cottage Life (1850) XV.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Help in the Wilderness

"Thus saith the Lord, The people which were left of the sword, found grace in the wilderness; even Israel when I went to cause  him  to rest."  Jer. xxxi. 2.
"Who is this that cometh up from the wilderness, leaning upon her beloved?"  Cant. viii. 5.

Alas! We travel in the desert now,
Obscure our way, perplexed the paths we tread;
With thorns and briars the vales are overspread,
The mountains fright us with their angry brow.
But who is this that hears us in distress,
And when we fear we ne'er shall travel through,
Doth sudden burst upon our raptured view,
And goes before us in the wilderness?
The Savior comes! We lean upon his arm,
And resting there, find strength amid our woe;
The tempests cease, that filled us with alarm,
And o'er the burning plains the fountains flow.
No more the storms assail, the thunders roll,
But angels' songs are heard, and pleasures fill the soul.

American Cottage Life (1850) XIV.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Objections to the Idea of Inward Crucifixion

When a person has gone through the process of inward crucifixion in its entire length and breadth, the great spiritual result is the complete extinction of all selfishness and of all self-will: a result brought about by means of an entire and unchangeable consecration, attended by the inwardly operating and searching influences of the Holy Spirit; a result, which in the end is so minutely explorative, so thoroughly destructive of those inward influences which obstruct the presence of God in the soul, and withal so painful oftentimes, that it may well be termed the BAPTISM OF FIRE. It is by means of such a process of inward crucifixion, that the natural life dies; and the way is thus prepared for the true resurrection and life of Christ in the soul.

(1.) Some will say perhaps, that this doctrine, if true, is discouraging; that they have not gone through this process of inward crucifixion, and therefore are not Christians. But we answer, such an inference would be a hasty one. But I think we may say this also. If such persons are really Christians, they are now going through this process. The little leaven is at work, which will ultimately affect the whole lump. God is showing them their idols and slaying them one after another, in order that he himself may enter and occupy their place. We must not think to go to heaven, and at the same time carry the natural life with us. It must be slain, and wholly slain, sooner or later.

(2.) In some persons, though not in many, the natural man, in the comparative sense of the terms, dies easily. These persons, these chosen ones of the Lord, seem to have an intuitive appreciation of what God justly and necessarily requires. They see with the clearness of light, that it is impossible at the same time to serve God and Mammon. Accordingly they submit themselves to the leadings and the power of God without resistance. They yield readily and willingly, like the lamb that is led to the slaughter; and the result is, that the inward crucifixion though not less deep and thorough, is personally less afflictive. The Holy Spirit proceeds gently but constantly in his operations; unbinding every tie of nature; cutting loose every ligament which fastens the soul to the earth, until, in its freedom from the slavery of the world, it expands and rejoices in the liberty of God.

(3.) Other persons, and we may add, the great majority of persons, are not brought to this state of freedom from the world and of union with God, without passing through exceeding afflictions, both external and internal. And this happens partly through ignorance, and partly and more generally through SELF-WILL. They are slow to learn what is to be done; and equally reluctant to submit to its being done. God desires and intends, that they shall be his; but the hour of their inward redemption not being fully come, they still love the world. They attach their affections first to one object, and then to another. They would perhaps be pleased to have God for their portion; but they must have something besides God. In other words, they vainly imagine that they would like to have God and their idols at the same time. And there they remain for a time, fixed, obstinate, inflexible. But God loves them. Therefore, as they will not learn by kindness, they must learn by terror. The sword of Providence and the Spirit is applied successively to every tie, that binds them to the world. Their property, their health, their friends all fall before it. The inward fabric of hopes and joys, where self-love was nourished and pride had its nest, is leveled to the dust. They are smitten within and without; burnt with fire; overwhelmed with the waters; peeled and scathed and blasted to the very extremity of endurance; till they learn, in this dreadful Baptism, the inconsistency of the attempted worship and love of God and Mammon at the same time; and are led to see that God is and ought to be, the true and only sovereign.

(4.) Some will say perhaps, we are thus left alone; we are stripped of every thing which once gave us pleasure; we are reduced to a state of mere desolation and nothingness. And we may add, if such be really the result, that nothing could be more desirable. But it is necessary to make distinctions here. We are not reduced to an absolute nothingness; a nothingness of existence, of identity, and of personal capability; but to a nothingness of SELF and of the corrupt life of nature. The natural life is taken away; and it is true also, that every idol is taken away, to which the life of nature clung for its support. But there is this consolation, that whatever of true value, external to the soul itself, is taken away in accomplishing the death of nature, is abundantly restored again, and is deprived too of all hurtful power, in the subsequent experience of the reviving life of God. We find that all, which is necessary, is given back  to us in the day of our inward restoration; and for the most part increased an hundred fold. We now love our friends, and families, and whatever else is proper to be loved; but we do it in a different manner. We have been taught a lesson, which it is impossible to forget. We have ceased to be idolaters. We henceforth love the gifts of God, which we had laid upon the divine altar as no longer our own, in their source more than in their termination, and not so much for ourselves, as for the sake of the GIVER.

(5.) And this brings us to our concluding remark, that from the death of nature springs a new life, altogether different from that which is crucified and dead; a life born of the Spirit of God, and bearing the image of the Savior. Just so far, then, as the old nature has experienced a crucifixion, and a new nature has taken its place, we are the subjects of a spiritual resurrection in Christ. We are dead, and we are alive again; dead to the world and alive to God. "If ye then be risen with Christ," says the Apostle, Colos. 3; 1-3, "seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affections on things above, and not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God."

And now in the experience of the divinely renovated life, the soul, that is the subject of it, goes forth, not with the marks of external observation, but attended with the Holy Ghost and with power. Such an one has nothing in himself. Self is taken away. But he has all things in God. At this point commences the true Apostolic life. Such an one is a true messenger, set apart to labor for God and to win souls; not by human eloquence and not by the display of worldly pomp; but by the simplicity of holy living and by the word of power uttered in faith.

If thou, Oh God, wilt make my spirit free,
Then will that darkened soul be free indeed;
I cannot break my bonds apart from thee;
Without thy help I bow and serve and bleed.
Arise, oh Lord, and in thy matchless strength,
Asunder rend the links my heart that bind,
And liberate and raise and save, at length,
My long enthralled and subjugated mind.

— edited from The Interior or Hidden Life (1844) Part 2, Chapter 10.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Leave Your Eternal Destiny in the Hands of God

If we would reach the highest results in religion, we must be willing, not only to suffer a separation from all present possessions and pleasures both of body and mind, in subordination to the will of God, but must be willing to leave our eternal interests entirely and quietly in his hands. It is true, God does not require and does not expect us to be willing, in the absolute and unconditional sense, to be cast off. Nevertheless, in point of fact, if God should see fit to do it, we ought willingly to submit to it, and to glorify his name in it. Because he could not do it without doing what is right; and to wish or expect him to do otherwise than right, would be to expect and desire him to tarnish his own character, to stain deeply and irretrievably his own spotless nature. This no one can possibly do, who loves God with a perfect heart. The language of such an one is, 'Let me rather perish a thousand times and God be holy, than saved a thousand times and God be unholy!' Indeed he knows no salvation, and no possibility of salvation, but in the love of God's holiness. It  is that which occupies his thought; it is that, which fills and dilates his soul with the elements, and perhaps we may add, with the only elements of substantial bliss.

It  will be noticed, that this is said hypothetically or by way of supposition. But we ought to add, that, in point of fact, it is impossible for a soul, that is lost to itself, to be lost to happiness. Its extinction to self is necessarily a resurrection to holiness. The death of self is the life of God. Now it is of the nature of a self-evident truth, that holiness cannot be indifferent to holiness, where ever and in whomsoever it may be found. And hence it is impossible for a holy God to cast off or to treat with unkindness any being that is holy. To be holy is necessarily to be saved. The holy are by their very nature one with God; they are bound to him by an adamantine chain; and it is no more possible for a holy person to be lost, than it is for God to be lost. And yet when the matter is hypothetically presented to the mind by the Holy Spirit, as it seems not unfrequently to be in the later and higher periods of christian experience, we must be willing to resign all promptly and cheerfully into God's hands, whatever it may be. We would add here, that, when a person has gone through the process of inward crucifixion in its entire length and breadth, the great spiritual result is the complete extinction of all selfishness and of all self-will: a result brought about by means of an entire and unchangeable consecration, attended by the inwardly operating and searching influences of the Holy Spirit; a result, which in the end is so minutely explorative, so thoroughly destructive of those inward influences which obstruct the presence of God in the soul, and withal so painful oftentimes, that it may well be termed the BAPTISM OF FIRE. It is by means of such a process of inward crucifixion, that the natural life dies; and the way is thus prepared for the true resurrection and life of Christ in the soul.

— edited from The Interior of Hidden Life (1844) Part 2, Chapter 10.

Monday, August 24, 2015

The Crucifixion of Natural Desires, Purposes, and Aims

If we would be what the Lord would have us to be, we must be willing, in the spirit of inward crucifixion, to renounce and reject all other natural desires, and all our own purposes and aims. We do not mean to imply in this remark, that we must be so far lost to feeling and action as to be absolutely without all desires, purposes, and aims whatever; but that there must be a crucifixion and excision of all desires and purposes, which spring from the life of nature, and not from the Spirit of God. In other words, it is our duty, as those who would glorify God in all things, to check every natural desire and to delay every contemplated plan of action, until we can learn the will of God, and put ourselves under a divine guidance. Every desire must so far lose its natural character as to become spiritually baptized and sanctified, before it can be acceptable to God; and every plan of action also must, in like manner, have a divine origin.

This principle in the doctrines of holy living... goes very far, and strikes deep. The desire of knowledge, for instance, is generally considered a very innocent one. But whenever it becomes so strong as to disquiet the inward nature, and thus to perplex our intercourse with God, it is obviously wrong. It ought always, therefore, to be subject to a divine teaching; and to be merged and lost, as it were, like all the other natural desires, in the supreme desire for God's glory; a desire, which evidently is not the product of nature, but which can come from the inspiration of the Holy Ghost alone.

It  is a very proper remark to be made also in this connection, that our most intimate friendships, which involve more or less of desire and generally strong desire, must be crucified. We are not at liberty to make an idol of our friends, however excellent their characters or however closely united by natural ties. Such inordinate friendships stand between the soul and God, and hinder it from reaching its true center; and we do not see, how they can be regarded in the divine sight as better than any other forms of idolatry. Even if those friends are eminent Christians, so much so as to bear the very image and likeness of the Savior himself, we cannot let our affections center upon them so as to make them the place of the soul's rest, without causing injury and offense to God.

To sum up all, which is to be said here, in a few words, we may probably assert correctly, that we are not to desire anything whatever out of the will of God. In other words, if we find a preference or choice in ourselves, in such a manner as to lead us to desire one thing rather than another irrespective of the will of God, we may justly conclude, that the state of mind, of which we are then the subjects, is a selfish and natural state, and not a truly religious and divine state.  It is, therefore, to be rejected, and the mind is to remain without desire, until the will of God can be revealed and take effect in us.

— edited from The Interior or Hidden Life (1844) Part 2, Chapter 10.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Crucifying the Desire for Inward Consolations

In order to the full attainment of what is designed for the Christian, that, in the continuance of this process of excision and crucifixion, he should cut off and crucify the desire of internal consolations and comforts.

We do not mean to imply in this remark, that the advanced and fully established Christian is in a situation, which either directly or indirectly is inconsistent with a full share of pleasurable and happy experience. On the contrary, his consolations, especially when he has found his true center and has fully united his once wandering heart to the heart of God, are tranquil, enduring, and substantial. But to think of such consolations much, to desire them much, and especially to aim at them as an ultimate object, is the precise way to miss them. I think it is very obvious, that he, who is seeking comfort as an ultimate object, is not seeking God but seeking himself. He is not seeking religion, in the proper sense of the term; but he is seeking just what he professes to seek, viz. comfort. Such seeking is in vain. There is but one ultimate object, at which, as those who wish to know the heights and depths of religion, we can safely aim, viz. God himself; or what may be considered as essentially the same thing, a sympathy of our whole being with the holy will of God.

It will be understood here, that we have not reference in these remarks to temporal or worldly consolations, so much as to those which are internal and spiritual. Nor do we mean to say, that to desire spiritual consolations and comforts is, in all cases, wrong. But what we mean to assert is, that we cannot desire them and seek them, out of the will of God and as ultimate objects, without some degree of spiritual injury, and without falling short of the highest attainments in the divine life. To seek them in the way they are commonly sought is evidently to nourish the natural life or the life of self, which it is the object of true religion to destroy.

The question was once put to a pious person, 'whether she enjoyed herself.' Her answer was to  this effect, that she could not speak positively and promptly in regard to herself because she  endeavored to forget self, but she ENJOYED GOD. The reply evidently involved a great principle in religion. No one can enter into the true rest of the soul, in whom the principle of self-love exists in any degree, inconsistent with loving God with the whole heart. "Oh, my God," says the pious Lady Maxwell, "hear the cries of one on whom Thou hast had mercy, and prepare my heart to receive whatever Christ has purchased for me. Allow me not to rest short of it. Put a thorn is every enjoyment, a worm in every gourd, that would either prevent my being wholly thine, or in any measure retard my progress in the divine life."

— edited from The Interior or Hidden Life (1844) Part 2, Chapter 10.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Crucifying Reliance on Religious Feelings

We must separate ourselves altogether from any reliance upon religious feelings of any kind, considered as a ground of hope and salvation. We know well, that there can be no religion without religious feelings. No man is, or, can be, a Christian without them. They are indispensable. But what we think it necessary to object to and to condemn, is a disposition, which sometimes exists, to trust in our feelings, and to make a sort of idol of them, instead of trusting in Christ. A man, for instance, has experienced at a particular time great sorrow for sin, or high emotions of gratitude, or is sunk in depths of humility. If, at some time after, his mind reverts to those feelings and dwells much upon them; and in such a manner that he begins to place a degree of trust and confidence in them, instead of placing his trust in the Savior, it must necessarily be to his great injury. It is not our feelings, but  CHRIST, that  saves us. If we look to our feelings for salvation, instead of looking to Christ, we necessarily miss our object. And in accordance with this view, we sometimes find persons, who are continually examining and reexamining and poring over their past experience; but who are generally in much darkness of mind. Probably, without being fully aware of it, they are secretly looking for something in the history of their past feelings which they can place their trust in, instead of turning away from themselves, which would be much better, and looking directly upward to a sufficient and present Redeemer.

This distinction is a real one, viz. between trusting in our feelings and trusting in the Savior, though not very obvious at first, and is highly important in its connection with the religious life. It seems to me, that religious feelings are valuable, and can be valuable, only as they tend, in their ultimate result, to unite us more and more closely to the Divine Mind. If, therefore, we are so unwise as to stop and to rest in our feelings as the ground of our hope, and especially if we take a degree of complacency in them, in themselves considered, or because they may properly be regarded as our own feelings, we not only stop short of God, to whom they should lead us; but pervert them, valuable as they are in their proper exercise and relations, to our own exceeding detriment.

We come to the conclusion, therefore, and repeat again, that we should not place any reliance upon our feelings, in themselves considered, as a ground of acceptance with God; and also that we should not, in any point of view, take any unduly interested and selfish complacency in them. We must banish and crucify this form of idolatry also, which is none the less dangerous for being so interior and secret. If, in the exercise of naked faith, we will turn our eyes to God and to his glory rather than to ourselves, we shall soon experience a divine reaction in the soul itself. And shall find, that God, who is faithful to his promise, will abundantly take care of us both without and within. We shall then have both the right degree and the right kind of feelings. We shall have no idols, but we shall have God; and we shall have no feelings that are appropriate to idols, but shall have the feelings which are appropriate to God. And in accordance with this view, and in point of fact, it will be found that of two Christians, the one, who is the most penitent, the most humble, the most grateful, the most devoted in his love, will think the least of those particular exercises. His mind will be, as it were out of himself. You will see him living religion, and not merely talking or thinking about religion. Such a person will hardly be conscious of his feelings, considered as objects of distinct contemplation and thought: and will know them chiefly in the blessed result of increased oneness with his heavenly Father. He is not destitute of feeling; but his feeling is, if we may so express it, not so much to dwell upon feeling and to trouble himself about feeling, as to lose himself in the will of God. Another mind, viz. "the mind of Christ," may be said to have taken inward possession; and so close is the union, which has now been formed between himself and God, that he finds himself perplexed and at a loss to discover the nature and operations of what he was formerly wont to call his own mind. His state corresponds in a great degree, and perhaps precisely, to what is implied, in the expressions of the Apostle, when he says, Gal. 2:20, "I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live; YET NOT I, BUT CHRIST LIVETH IN ME.

— edited from The Interior or Hidden Life (1844) Part 2, Chapter 10.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Crucifying Reliance on Special Signs

It is necessary to cut off and crucify the inward desire, which so generally prevails, for the experience of special signs and testimonies of acceptance with God. There is hardly any Christian, who has not, at some period of his religious history, experienced some perplexity in this respect.

One of the most difficult lessons which we are called to learn, one however which is indispensable, if we would know the heights and depths of the religious life, is that of living by simple faith. God expects us, and has a right to expect us to leave ourselves and all our interests in his hands, in the full confidence, that he will do every thing which is right. And it is obviously the duty of every Christian, to correspond to this claim on the part of God, and to yield himself up, body and spirit, in the bonds of an everlasting covenant; fully believing that God will not desert him, neither in duty nor in temptation; and whether he is led in light or in darkness, with sensible manifestations and testimonies or without them, that all things will be well in the end, and will work together for his own good and for the divine glory. But too often this duty is not regarded. To live by faith, to lean upon the mere word of God without the supports of sight, is a very humbling way of living; and it is hard for the natural man and even for the partially sanctified man to receive it. Nature, so far as it exists in the heart, chooses another method, one more suited to itself, but less glorious to God. Some good Christians have exceedingly perplexed and injured themselves, for a considerable length of time, by attempting to maintain the inward life on the erroneous system of special signs, tokens, and testimonies, such as an audible voice, the application of some unknown passage of Scripture, the occurrence of some remarkable temporal event, the possession of a preconceived and specified state of joyous feeling, or something of the kind, which, in their ignorance or under the influence of remaining self-will, are earnestly sought from God, as the pledges and evidences of their acceptance. Such a system of living has scarcely any affinity, and perhaps none at all, with the true life of God in the soul. The Christian life, we repeat, is emphatically a LIFE OF FAITH; but to endeavor to live in the way, which has just been referred to, is evidently a deviation from the way of faith, and tends directly to strengthen the unspeakable evil of distrust in God.

From every thing of this kind, therefore, we must separate ourselves without hesitation, however painful the process may be. In the spirit of self-crucifixion, we must learn the great lesson of relying by simple belief on the mere declaration of God. And in doing this we need not fear. What need has the principle of inward faith of any sign or testimony additional to itself? Faith, whenever it is strong enough to be a true light within, will always bear its evidence in its own nature.  It no more asks or requires exterior illumination, than the sun in the heavens asks for a taper to learn its own illuminated position. "He, that believeth on the Son of God, hath the witness in himself."

— edited from The Interior or Hidden Life (1844) Part 2, Chapter 10.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Crucifying Reliance on Our Own Works

In the fulfillment of our personal consecration and in the further process of renunciation and excision, there must be a separation, a cutting loose from all reliance, as a ground of merit or of self-gratulation in any shape, on our own works. It is undoubtedly trying to unsubdued and selfish nature, to attach no value, considered as its own works, to what it fondly calls its good deeds; such as its outward morality, its attendance upon the institutions of worship, its study of the Scriptures, its visits to the sick, its charities to the poor, and other things of a similar nature. These things, it is true, are all good and desirable. We would not, by any means, speak lightly of them. It is perhaps difficult to value them too highly, if we ascribe them, as we ought to do, to the mere favor and grace of God. But by excluding the influence of the grace of God, and ascribing them to his own merit, it is easy to see that a man may make an idol of his good works, whatever may be their nature; and that he may, in the perversity of his spirit, fall down and worship them. We must be willing, therefore, to account our good deeds as nothing; and to regard ourselves, when me have done all in our power, as unprofitable servants; in order that Christ may be to us all in all.

— edited from the Interior or Hidden Life (1844) Part 2, Chapter 10.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Crucifying Confidence in Humanity

In the process of entire separation from any and every reliance out of God, we must cease to place undue confidence in men generally. It is a matter of common remark, that the natural man, afraid to put his trust in God alone, generally seeks advice and assistance from his fellow-men; especially from those, who are in some degree conspicuous for information and influence.

Those also, who have known something of the truth and power of religion, but are as yet beginners in the Christian life, have not unfrequently erred in the same way. Many times, instead of looking to God for help, they have sought assistance from near Christian friends; they have unduly relied perhaps upon their public religious teachers, or have sought, in the spirit of distrust towards God, some other exterior source of consolation and support. It is important to observe, however, that the error does not so much consist in seeking the advice and support of men, which under certain circumstances we acknowledge to be very proper, as in seeking it in an undue degree  and to the exclusion of God. Such is the nature of God, and such are our relations to him, that he cannot possibly admit of a rival in our affections. It is reasonable, therefore, that he should expect us in our troubles to make the first applications to himself; and to lay our trials and wants before him with that readiness and confidence, which we notice in little children, who naturally seek the advice and assistance of their parents, before looking to other sources of support. And we shall always find this course safest for ourselves, as well as most pleasing and honorable to God.

From all forms, therefore, and from all degrees of trust in men, except so far as they are kept in perfect subordination to a higher and ultimate trust in God, there must be a separation. We must learn the great lesson of making God our helper; and not on particular occasions merely, but always. In the beautiful language of the Psalmist, "My soul, wait thou only upon God, for my expectation is from him!"

— edited from The Interior or Hidden Life (1844) Part 2, Chapter 10.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Crucifying the Affections

We are required... to reduce to a subordinated action and in this sense to crucify the propensive principles; and also the natural affections, interesting and important as such affections are, so far as they are not purified in divine love and made one with the divine will. The natural affections, even in their more amiable and lovely forms, often gain an ascendency in the mind, and exercise a tyranny over it, which is inconsistent with the restoration of unity with God. How many persons make idols of their children, of their parents, or of other near relatives! It  is very obvious that such strong attachments, though they may be dear as the right hand or the right eye, must be crucified and cut off. "He, that loveth father or mother," says the Savior, "more than me, is not worthy of me. And he, that loveth son, or daughter more than me, is not worthy of me. He, that findeth his life, shall lose it; and he, that loseth his life for my sake, shall find it."

— edited from The Interior or Hidden Life (1844) Part 2, Chapter 10.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Rejecting Inordinate Indulgence of the Appetities

God will require of us, in the fulfillment of our act of consecration, that we shall separate ourselves from all inordinate indulgence of the appetites. Undoubtedly there is a degree of natural pleasure, connected with the exercise of the appetites, which is lawful. But it is very obvious, that self in the natural man, which is always seeking for pleasure without regarding either its nature or its lawfulness, has polluted every thing here. It is in connection with the appetites in their unsanctified state, that we find one of the strong ties, which bind man to his idols, and which subject his proud spirit. This strong bond must be sundered. No one can be acceptable to God, who does not crucify and reject every form of attraction and pleasure from this source, which is not in accordance with the intentions of nature, and does not receive the divine approbation and sanction.

— edited from The Interior or Hidden Life (1844) Part 2, Chapter 10.

Friday, August 14, 2015

A Cutting Off

"And if thy right eye offend thee, PLUCK IT OUT,  and cast it from thee; for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. And if thy right hand offend thee, CUT IT OFF, and cast it from thee; for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell." — Matt. 5: 29, 30.

The natural life... has a close connection with the natural desires. Just so far as such desires are inordinate in their action, they are the result of unsanctified nature, and not of the Spirit of God. The root, however, the original and fruitful source of that state of things in the natural heart, which is conveniently denominated the Natural Life, is the inordinate action of the principle of SELF-LOVE; denominated, in a single term, selfishness. The pernicious influence from this source, with the exception of what has become sanctified by the Spirit of God, reaches and corrupts every thing. Hence the importance of the process of excision. It is not only important, but indispensably necessary, that this evil influence should be met and destroyed wherever it exists. A process often exceedingly painful; but inevitable to him, who would be relieved from his false position, and put in harmony with God. There must be a CUTTING OFF, and a renewed and repeated CUTTING OFF, till the tree of Self, despoiled of its branches and foliage, and thus deprived of the nourishment of the rain, the sun, and the atmosphere, dies down to its very root; giving place, in its destruction, to the sweet bloom of the tree of life.

A life of practical holiness depends essentially upon two things: FIRST, upon an entire consecration of ourselves, body and spirit, to the Lord; and SECOND, upon a belief that this consecration is accepted. We must, in the first place, offer up our whole being as a sacrifice to the Lord, laying all upon his altar. But we should remember, it is laid there, in order that the natural life may be consumed, and that there may be a resurrection of the true spiritual life from its ashes. He, therefore, who has consecrated himself to God, must expect that the truth of the consecration will be tested by the severity of an interior crucifixion, which is the death of nature, but in the end present and everlasting life. It is not till the flame has come upon us, and we have passed through the fire of the inward crucifixion, which consumes the rottenness and the hay and stubble of the old life of nature, that we can speak, in a higher sense, of the new life; and say, CHRIST LIVETH IN ME.

— edited from The Interior or Hidden Life (1844) Part 2, Chapter 10.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Don't Make Crosses of Your Own

It  is good to take up and to bear the cross, whatever it may be, which God sees fit to impose. But it is not good and not safe to make crosses of our own; and, by an act of our own choice, to impose upon ourselves burdens which God does not require, and does not authorize. Such a course always implies either a faith too weak or a will too strong; either a fear to trust God's way, or a desire to have our own way.

Religious Maxims (1846) CXXXV.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Praise or Blame

It is one of the marks of a soul wholly given to God, when we find that we are able, viewing all things in God and God in all things, to receive both praise and blame with a quiet and equal spirit; neither unduly depressed on the one hand, nor elated on the other.

Religious Maxims (1846) CXXXIV.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Laying Our Thoughts and Plans Before God

Whenever we propose to change our situation in life, by establishing some new relations, or by entering into some new business, it becomes, first of all, a most important religious duty, to lay all our thoughts and plans before our Heavenly Father for his approbation. Otherwise it is possible, and even probable, that we shall be found running the immense risk of moving in our own wisdom and out of God's wisdom, in our own order and out of God's order, for our own ends and out of God's ends.

Religious Maxims (1846) CXXXIII.

Monday, August 10, 2015

No Separation

Oh, can I leave Thee! Can I go
Back  to the world that once was nigh?
And so debase me, as to know
The joys that only bloom to die?

Oh, can I quit celestial good,
The growth of life's immortal tree,
And feed, instead of Angel's food,
On earth's poor dust and vanity?

I sought Thee, that my soul might stay
In  endless unity of mind;
And dare not, cannot rend away
The golden links my heart that bind.

If others blindly choose to roam,
And find the path of tears and gloom;
Be  MINE, in God's great heart, the home,
Where peace, and joy, and glory bloom.

Christ in the Soul (1872) XXXVI.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Dying and Rising With Chirst

Without mentioning other devout men, we may properly repeat here, as being in harmony with some of the views hitherto given, the expressions of the learned and venerable John Arndt, whose name is deservedly dear to the Christian world. "If thou believest,” he says, "that Christ was crucified for the sins of the world, thou must with him be crucified to the same. If thou refusest  to comply with this, thou canst not be a living member of Christ, nor be united with him by faith. If thou believest that Christ is risen from the dead, it is thy duty to rise spiritually with Him. In a word, the birth, cross, passion, death, resurrection and ascension of Christ, must, after a spiritual manner, be transacted in thee." And again he remarks in another place: — "Let us renounce wholly our own strength, our own wisdom, our own will and self-love, that, being thus resigned to God alone, we may suffer his power freely to work in us, so that nothing may, in the least, oppose the will and operations of the Lord."

I am aware that this is a hard doctrine to the natural heart. It strikes heavily upon that feeling of self-confidence, which is one of the evil fruits of our fallen condition. But, as it respects myself, if I may be allowed in humility of spirit to refer to my own feelings, it is a doctrine which is inexpressibly dear to me. I have been taught for many years, and by painful experience, that I can place no confidence in my own thoughts, feelings, or purposes. In none of these respects can I be my own keeper. On the contrary, I have seen, with the greatest clearness, that to be left to myself, either in these respects or in anything else, is always to be left in sin. And so great has been my anguish of spirit, in view of my entire inability to guide myself aright, that I could only pray that I might be struck out of existence and be annihilated, or that God would return and keep that which I could not keep myself.


If thou, O God, wilt make my spirit free,
Then will that darkened soul be free indeed;
I cannot break my bonds, apart from thee;
Without thy help I bow, and serve, and bleed.
Arise, O Lord, and in thy matchless strength,
Asunder rend the links my heart that bind,
And liberate, and raise, and save at length
My long enthralled and subjugated mind.
And then, with strength and beauty in her wings,
My quickened soul shall take an upward flight,
And in thy blissful presence, King of kings,
Rejoice  in liberty, and life, and light,
In renovated power and conscious truth,
In faith and cheerful hope, in love and endless youth.

— edited from A Treatise on Divine Union (1851) Part 7, Chapter 3.

Friday, August 7, 2015

The Divine and the Human Are Made to go Together

It is obvious that thought, desire and volition, are essential to man's nature, and are in fact embraced in the very idea of man. It is a matter of necessity that the human mind shall act by thinking and desiring, and in other ways, in the appropriate time of its action. All this is true. And it is equally true that all human action, when it is what it ought to be, is divine action. And this is always the case, (namely, human action is what it ought to be and becomes divine,) when the power of action, which exists in man's nature, is brought out in its appropriate issues, not by human preference, but by the decisions of Providence.

The divine and the human are made, if we may so express it, to go together. Nothing is gained either by the exclusion of God or by the extinction of humanity. Undoubtedly man must act when the time of action comes. Action is his nature. It cannot be otherwise. But if the action is decided, not by subjective or personal preferences, not by a regard to himself, but by a regard to the whole,  including himself, — in other words, by the divine intimations of an overruling Providence, — then it is true, that the action, which is his own, is also God’s; and that by his own choice, which is to have no choice out of God, the thing done, which would otherwise merely human, comes to bear the radiant stamp of divinity.

— edited from A Treatise on Divine Union (1851) Part 7, Chapter 3.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Choose God to Choose for You

Men have made a mistake in locating, if we may so express it, the action of man's free agency. The true action of man's moral agency is found, not in the choice of particulars, but in the choice of the universal; — not in deciding upon this particular thing or that particular thing, which he cannot do with certainty on account of his limited powers, but in committing his power of choice into God's hands, and choosing God to choose for him.

There are different degrees of union in the work of redemption, as there are different degrees of union in other things. But in the case of the man who fully unites with God in the work of his personal recovery, the choice which we have just mentioned is the choice which is actually made by him, — made for the present and made for the future, made now and made forever; — namely, the substitution, at the present time and in all time to come, of the divine choice for his own. His choice is to let God choose for him, — to cease to lead himself, that he may be led, not in some things merely, but in all things, by the Spirit of God. He alienates himself, that he may be possessed by another; and he does it, because he has in another that degree of confidence and hope, which he does not and cannot have in himself. He ceases from his own thoughts, that God may think in him and for him; — he ceases from his own desires, that God may inspire in him true and heavenly desires; — he relinquishes his own purposes, that he may fulfill the purposes of God and of God only. He is buried a dead Adam; and so renewed and beautified are the features of his nature, that he may be said, in a mitigated sense of the terms, to be raised again a living Christ.

— edited from A Treatise on Divine Union (1851) Part 7, Chapter 3.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Spiritual Resurrection

It is a great mistake to suppose, that those, who go down into the tomb by the death of their earthly or sensual life, must remain there; — as if, because they are dead to sin, they must therefore be dead to humanity. We become dead to one system of life, which is wholly evil, that we may become alive to another, which is intrinsically and wholly good. And as we cooperate with God in our crucifixion, by submitting to all the pains he inflicts; so we cooperate with him in our spiritual resurrection by voluntarily accepting the terms by which he becomes in us a new life.  And the only terms which God does or can propose, are, that he shall be All in All to the soul; — becoming its life just as truly, though under different circumstances and in a different way, as he is the life of the material universe, — just as truly as he is the life or life-giving principle of plants and trees, and of the instincts of the lower animals. If plants and trees grow by their own law of growth, it is still true that God is in the law. If animals move by their own law of movement, it is still true that the central principle of the law of movement is a divine power. And if the holy man acts, it is still true that God acts in him. And the only difference between this case, and those which have just been mentioned, is this. God acts in the holy man in connection with, and perhaps we should say, in subordination to, his own choice.

— edited from A Treatise on Divine Union (1851) Part 7, Chapter 3.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Human Restoration

The great object of Christ’s coming is the restoration of man. And pursuing the subject of the union of man with God in this new aspect, namely, in the work of redemption, the question arises here, how can man be said to be united with God, in the work of his own restoration?

Man corresponds in his position, and may be said to be united with God in the work of his personal recovery, when he willingly and firmly yields his disfigured spirit to the restoring power of the hands of the great workman. In other words, he unites with God in his own restoration, when he lets the great Master of the mind work upon him.

There is an illustration of the subject to be found in the prophet Malachi: "Who may abide the day of his coming” says the prophet, "and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiners fire and like fuller’s soap. And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering of righteousness."

The great trouble with men is, even when they have some sense of religion, and begin to estimate its value, that they are unwilling to let the Spirit of God perform his appropriate work upon them. Sin has attached itself to the spirit's surface, like dross to the pure gold. Not more insinuating than it is adhesive, it intertwines itself with man's powers and mental exercises with indescribable strength; so much so that it is difficult to separate the good from the evil, to detach the pure from the impure. And it never can be done effectually and truly without the operations of that omniscient Spirit, which are "quick and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit."  [Heb. 4: 12.]

We cooperate, therefore, with God, in the work of personal redemption, when we submit to this divine operation without reluctance; — willing to be placed in the crucible, and to be subjected to the fiercest flames till everything evil is consumed and taken away. This is what some ancient experimental writers call death, that is to say, death to nature, or rather to the corruptions of nature. Occasionally varying the expressions they employ, they sometimes call it crucifixion or inward crucifixion. As Christ died in the body, say these writers, so we must die in the spirit; —  as Christ was crucified and laid in the tomb, so we, in the spiritual sense, must be crucified and be laid in the tomb with him. The expressions, though they may sound singularly to some, convey a great truth, which has a permanent foundation in the principles of morals and religion. We cannot be allied with God without freedom from sin. To be free from sin is obviously to die to sin. And it would not be easy to die to sin, without going through that process of inward crucifixion, which is the antecedent of death. 

— edited from A Treatise on Divine Union (1851) Part 7, Chapter 3.

Monday, August 3, 2015

The Restoration of the Earth

Of the restoration of the earth, Isaiah says:

"The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose. It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon." [Isa. 35:1, 2.] 

Of the animal creation, he says:

"The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion, and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them." [Isa. 11: 6.] 

It may undoubtedly be said of these, and other similar passages, that they are figurative. But it will be found, in the end, that the truth which they anticipate and predict will exceed the beauty of the picture, as it existed in the imagination of the prophetic poet. When the head of creation resumes his nature of holy love, the untamed and violent passions of the inferior members will become extinct. And the earth herself, as if conscious of the mighty change, will withdraw her thorns and crown herself with roses.

— edited from A Treatise on Divine Union (1851) Part 7, Chapter 3.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

The Joys of Pentitence

FAREWELL! Thine earthly strife is o'er;
Thine earthly sorrows past;
Jesus, thy friend, hath gone before;
And thou art free at last.

No more the solitude and pain;
No more the bitter tear;
A better land thy soul shall gain,
Than that, which held thee here.

Earth's children did not understand
The sorrows of thy heart;
But spirits of the heavenly land
Shall judge thee as thou art.

A soul that erred, a soul restored,
A soul that sinned, a soul forgiven;
Dear to the Christ, the loving Lord,
And safe, at last, in heaven.

Christ in the Soul (1872) XXXV.