If God in his supremacy is first in time and first in power, if the true and only source of existence of power to all other beings resides in himself as necessarily involved in his own infinite nature; in other words, if God is God, then all other beings and all other things, sin only excepted, are from him and by him. It becomes, then, a great problem, in what way this supremacy, without which God cannot be God, shall exist and operate in God’s moral creatures, giving them life and power, and sustaining the life and power which it gives, and yet without a violation of their moral responsibility. In other words, the question or problem is, in what way shall men, consistently with their moral identity and responsibility, enter, (as all Christians who experience the highest results of religion do enter,) into the state of entire moral union or oneness with God.
Men may be said to have a life in themselves. And it may be said further, with great truth undoubtedly, that they may not only have a life in themselves, but that they may be free in it, and that they may be responsible for it. But if this life in themselves is a life self-originated, if it be a life out of God and independent of God, as the terms seem to imply, then the stream is severed from its fountain, the bond of spiritual filiation is broken, and there is, and can be no real, no essential union. Such a life is not what the pious Scougal calls the “life of God in the soul of man.” And we cannot hesitate to say, that all moral life, wherever it may exist, is no better and no other, than moral and spiritual death, which is not drawn, moment by moment, from a divine source.
But if there is a life, which is no better than spiritual death, there is also another life of higher and divine origin. This life, which is God’s power, God’s wisdom, and God’s heart of love, existing and operating in the very nature, and amid, if we may so express it, the very responsibilities of the human soul, exists and operates by faith. If, renouncing our own strength and wisdom, we give ourselves to God, believing that he will be our strength, our wisdom, and our righteousness, according to the promise he has given, we may be assured that the result in our inward experience will correspond to the faith we exercise. But a soul, which combines righteousness or entire uprightness and purity of feeling with a divinely enlightened wisdom and a strength of purpose that aims unceasingly to do what the inward divine teaching imposes, is a soul that is stamped with the divine image, and has entered into true unity with God.
Therefore, that we assert the proposition that faith is the true bond of union between God and man.
— edited from The Life of Faith (1852) Part 1, Chapter 7.