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, November 24, 2015

The Life of Christ vs. The Life of Nature

The life of Christ, or rather the religious life as manifested in Christ, is entirely different in its character from the life of nature. In the life of nature, which is unprotected and unrestrained by the conservative principle of supreme love to God, every thing runs to excess. That, which is good in itself, becomes vitiated in its inordinate action. Sympathy assumes the shape of querulous weakness. Friendships are stimulated by a secret selfish influence, till they become idolatry. The love of knowledge distorts itself into obstinacy of opinion and pride of intellect. An allowable and holy displeasure degenerates into the violence of natural anger and revenge. Even a desire to do good is often perverted, through a selfish impetuosity, by an injurious and fatal disregard to the proprieties of time, person, and place.

In those who are but partially sanctified, as well as in those who are wholly dead in their sins, the natural life, in itself considered and just so far as it has an existence at all, is always weak, selfish, inconsistent, passionate, changeable.

The life of Christ in the soul, or what is the same thing, the life of the soul modeled after the image of Christ, is entirely different. Its sympathy is restrained and regulated by the suggestions of reason. Its personal friendships are rendered pure by the exclusion of all idolatrous regard. Its love is unstained by selfishness; and its indignation is hallowed by love. In the natural life, every thing is vitiated either by excess or defect. In the life of Christ, every thing is correspondent to the truth of reason and the commandment of God.

— edited from The Interior or Hidden Life (1844) Part 2, Chapter 13.

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