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.

Sunday, February 4, 2024

Liberty of Spirit

That devout condition of mind, which is expressed by the term holiness, requires, that we should do the will of God in all things; or what amounts to the same thing, that we should do right in all things. But it is obvious, that partialities, inordinate attachments, loving one more than another without any reasonable grounds for making a distinction, perplex both our perceptions of right and our ability to do what is right. It is important, therefore, to keep our minds in that desirable state, so often mentioned by spiritual writers, which is denominated liberty of spirit; a state of mind, in which there are no disturbing influences, originating either from inordinate hatred or inordinate love, and in which the soul, acting under a divine guidance, may be moved with the greatest possible ease in any direction.

 When, in the exercise of our naturally kind feelings, we strive to do good to our fellow-men, by soothing their sorrows, by healing their dissentions, or in any other way, if we do it without a humble and serious eye to God’s providences, we shall always find on a careful examination, that we do it in a considerable degree, if not entirely, without a believing regard to God himself. And accordingly, in attempting to do good in this way, viz., from the mere impulse of nature, without a regard to God and his providences, it will not be surprising, if, in many cases, we fail of our object, and do evil rather than good. God is present in time, as well as in events. There is always the right time, as well as the right thing; the right time, as well as the right action. The man of true faith feels it to be necessary to act at the right time, to act in God’s time, even in doing those things, which are clearly of a benevolent nature. God holds the remedy of the evils, which exist in the world, in his own hands. His people are the instruments, which he employs, in applying this remedy. But the application is never made beneficially either to the subject or the agent, except when it is made under his own superintendence, in his own time and manner.

— from The Life of Faith, Part 2, Chapter 7.

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