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, October 31, 2017

Assurance and Appropriating Faith

The experience of assurance of faith involves the experience of appropriating faith. Appropriation may exist without assurance; but, such is the relation of ideas and doctrines in the two cases, that assurance cannot exist without appropriation. The person who exercises appropriating faith, believes in Christ, not only as the sacrifice for men generally, and believes in the promises of God not merely as promises available to men generally, but unites the object of faith with the subject of faith; and believes in Christ as a Savior applicable and savingly available in his own case, and in the promises, as belonging to himself. Assurance of faith, without being the same thing as appropriation of faith, includes all this; but it includes also or rather it implies something more. In other words, assurance of faith differs from appropriation of faith, which may be more or less decided and strong according to the circumstances of the case, chiefly in the particular of carrying the act of belief or faith to the highest degree. He, who is in the state of assurance of faith, does not believe in his acceptance with God feebly and inefficiently. The faith, which he exercises, is a strong faith; so much so, as the term assurance itself obviously indicates, as altogether to exclude the feeling of uncertainty.

We think it cannot well be doubted, that there have been individuals, both anciently and in modern times, who have been the subjects of this high religious state. And we see no reason, why, instead of being so unfrequent as it is, it should not be the common experience, the common state of Christians. There are some persons, it is true, of minds of so little capacity, that they seem almost incapable of fully understanding the grounds of a perfected Christian life. Others appear to combine, with an adequate understanding, a want of decision, a weakness of purpose, which vitiates and annuls what their reason approves and instigates. And others, again, in consequence of a disordered state of the nervous system, or for some other cause, may be described as constitutionally subject to a sort of conceptive and apparitional experience, or what is hardly more favorable, are under the influence of strong and variable emotional impulses, which throw them off from the true track. But with some exceptions of this kind, in which charity, prompted by the acknowledged existence of unusual human infirmity, is disposed, without making any unwarrantable allowances, to diminish, nevertheless, its favorable anticipations, every Christian is very reasonably and justly expected, not only to have faith, but to become assured in faith; to be not only the servant, but the child of God; and to walk with God, and to live with God in the most intimate, affectionate, and sacred communion.

— edited from The Life of Faith (1852) Part 1, Chapter 16.

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