The life of those who dwell in the secret place of the Most High may be called a Hidden Life, because the animating principle, the vital or operative element, is not so much in itself as in another. It is a life grafted into another life. It is the life of the soul, incorporated into the life of Christ; and in such a way, that, while it has a distinct vitality, it has so very much in the sense, in which the branch of a tree may be said to have a distinct vitality from the root.

Friday, March 25, 2016

The Spiritual Mind and the Providential World

I have sometimes thought, that there is a similitude or analogy between the natural mind and the spiritual mind, in relation to the subject now under consideration. The natural mind, (that is to say, the perceptive and reflective ability, which is naturally given us,) is adapted in its operations and results to the natural world around us. The ability, which we possess of realizing in ourselves the various auditory, visual, and tactual sensations and perceptions would be of no avail, would be practically useless, without the corresponding sounds, colors, and forms of the external world. The mind, therefore, in some of its important operations, and the external world, are precisely and admirably fitted to go together. They are practically the mutual correspondences and counterparts of each other. And it seems to be essentially the same with the spiritual mind, that is to say, with the mind enlightened and guided by the influences of the Holy Spirit. The mind is divinely inspired, in the first instance, with thoughts and views, which may be considered as conditionally instructive and binding upon us; but which can be drawn out of this state of conditionality, and be made positively clear and binding, only in connection with those various outward events, which the divine providence is continually developing. As instruments of music will not give utterance to their beautiful sounds, till they are touched and swept by an outward hand, so the inward inspiration of the Holy Ghost is, to some extent latent, in the mind, and is not susceptible of being distinctly analyzed and heard in its responses to the spiritual ear, until it receives its interpretation from the outward application  of providential events. In other words, as the natural mind and the natural or outward world are mutually and reciprocally adapted, so also the spiritual mind and the  providential world are mutually correspondences  and counterparts of each other.

Accordingly although a person may be fully conscious of the presence of the Holy Spirit operating upon and guiding his mind; still it remains a great truth, that it is a guidance, which in some important sense may be regarded as dependent on those prospective developments, which still remain in God's mysterious keeping. Hence as the interpretation of the inward suggestions of the Holy Spirit exists, in so great a degree, in the correspondent facts and aspects of outward providences, it becomes every one, as has already been intimated, and especially every one, who is seeking to live a truly devoted and holy life, to keep an eye humbly but conscientiously watchful, upon all providential events! As in the expressions which have already been quoted, he should "nourish himself with the daily  providences of God."

— edited from The Interior or Hidden Life (2nd edition, 1844) Part 3, Chapter 2.

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