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 20, 2016

Extinction of the Unsanctified Love of Created Things

The state of inward annihilation is characterized, in the first place, by the extinction of all unregulated or unsanctified love of created things, or "love of the creatures," as it is sometimes expressed. Accordingly, we cannot say that a person is interiorly lost or annihilated, who is in any degree the slave of his appetites. The action of the appetites, when directed to their original objects, and when subjected to the regulation of a purified conscience, is undoubtedly consistent with this state: that is to say, when they are exercised, not from a view to the mere pleasure which they afford, but in accordance with their primitive constitution, and consequently in accordance with the will of God. But he, who takes delight in the pleasures of the senses, and indulges the lower appetites of our nature, that the attendant pleasures, rather than the original objects of the senses may be realized, has not so crucified and slain himself, that he can be said to be inwardly annihilated. There is still within himself the germination and the growth of that form of selfish gratification, which may properly be called a "love of the creatures."

A similar statement may be made in regard to those principles, which are understood to be higher in rank than the Appetites; and which, in order to distinguish them from the lower or appetitive part of our nature, may properly be denominated the Propensities and the Affections; such as the social propensity, the desire of knowledge, the desire of esteem, the filial affection, the parental affection, friendship, and the love of country. If  these propensive principles and affections, whatever comparative rank they may sustain, are not perfectly subordinated to the principle of supreme love to God, if they exist in such a degree as to be in conflict with what the law of God requires, then it is very clear that the state of mind does not exist, which, in the language of religious experience, is denominated "interior annihilation." There is still a vigorous portion of the life of the "old man," which has not been slain. And hence it is, that we lay down the extinction of the love of created things or "love of the creatures," with the explanation and illustration of the meaning of the terms just given, as one of the characteristics of the state of mind under consideration. Of a person, who is thus interiorly annihilated, it can be truly said, "he is crucified to the world, and the world is crucified to him."

— edited from The Interior or Hidden Life (2nd edition, 1844) Part3, Chapter 12.

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