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, October 13, 2017

Consecration is the Condition of Advancement in Faith

The human ability must correspond without reserve, and to its utmost extent, to the divine light, whether it be more or less. Knowledge to the extent, in which we are able to conform to what we know, furnishes the basis of obligation. It is a principle of moral philosophy, which is well understood and is considered as very obvious, that our obligations can never be less than our ability and our knowledge. “He, who knoweth his master’s will, and doeth it not, shall be beaten with many stripes.” In other words, the person, who does not correspond to God in accordance with the obligation which God imposes, will not be likely to have the disposition, and certainly will not have the right, to plead the divine promises, and is clearly the subject of God’s marked disapprobation. But to correspond, in the utmost extent of our ability, to all that we actually know and to all that we are now able to know of our duty, is essentially the same thing, perhaps we may say, is precisely the same thing, as to consecrate ourselves entirely to God.

Consecration therefore, as it seems to us, consecration without reserve either as to time or object, is the indispensable condition of inward religious advancement.

Whether, therefore, you have much religion, or little religion, or none at all, follow the divine light; whether it be the light of nature, which only shows us our state of condemnation; or the light of restoring and redeeming grace, which leads us to the Cross, that we may be pardoned there; or the light of that grace, which sanctifies the heart, by exploring its secret recesses and by bringing all into subjection; be it each or all, be it more or less, correspond with all your powers to all that is given, and God will give more. This, if we rightly understand it, is the law of increase in spiritual things, the law of light added to light, of grace, added to grace, of glory brightening in the front of glory.

We find here an answer to the question, often proposed with intense interest, why is it that there are so few cases of assured faith and hope? why is it that there are so few persons, who, under the influences of sanctifying grace, have reached the state of assured or perfected love, and of constant communion with God? The answer is, it is because by not corresponding to the light and grace which they had, they lost that, which they might have had. They would not take the cup of consecration, which they knew to be bitter to the natural taste, and therefore they did not, and could not receive the inward healing, which, in connection with God’s plan of operation, it might have imparted. It is impossible in the nature of things, that a person can have strong faith in God as a father and friend, or that he can love him with unmixed love, when he is conscious that by not consecrating himself he is violating a religious duty. Belief will always sink, and consequently love, which has its foundation in belief, will always sink in proportion to the weakness or defect of the consecrating act.

The Life of Faith (1852) Part 1, Chapter 15.

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