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PART III. ON THE RELATION OF FAITH TO THE DIVINE GUIDANCE, OR THE OPERATION OF THE HOLY GHOST IN THE SOUL.

RELIGIOUS MAXIMS,


HAVING A CONNECTION WITH THE DOCTRINE AND PRACTICE OF HOLINESS.



I.
Let the time of temptation be the time of silence. Words react upon feelings; and if Satan, in the time of our trials, can induce us to utter a hasty or unadvised word, he will add, by so doing, to the power of his previous assaults, and increase the probability of his getting the victory.



II.
It is one of the surest signs that the natural life still exists and flourishes in us, if we have what may be called an
outward eye; and, instead of looking inwardly upon our own failings, are prone closely to watch and to judge others. “Judge not that ye be not judged.” One of the first inquiries arising in the mind of a truly humbled and sanctified person, when he sees another in transgression, is, “Who maketh me to differ?” And one of the first supplications which he offers is, “Lord, have compassion upon my offending brother!”



III.
He whose life is hid with Christ in God, may suffer injustice from the conduct or words of another, but he can
never suffer loss. He sees the hand of God in every thing. He knows that every thing which takes place has either a direct or indirect relation to his present state, and is designed for his benefit. “All things work together for his good.”



IV.
He that standeth in God in such a manner as to have no will but the divine will, accounts every thing which takes place as a manifestation of God. If God is not the thing itself, God is nevertheless manifested in the thing. And thus it is with God, that he first communicates through the medium of the thing in which he manifests himself. And consequently, as God is the first object which presents itself, he imputes nothing to the subordinate creatures, neither condemning nor approving, neither sorrowing nor rejoicing, without first referring whatever takes place to God, and viewing it in the clearness and truth of the divine light,



V.
It is not safe to dwell upon the failings and weaknesses of the church, without at the same time dwelling upon the resources and goodness of God. In the exercise of a humble faith we must connect the greatness of the remedy with the virulence of the disease. Otherwise we shall promote the plans of our great enemy by falling into a repining and censorious spirit; a state of mind which is equally injurious to ourselves and offensive to our heavenly Father.



VI.
It is a sign that our wills are not wholly lost in the will of God, when we are much in the habit of using words which imply election or choice; such as, I want this, or I want that; I hope it will be so and so, or I hope it will be otherwise. When our wills are lost in the will of God, all our specific choices and preferences are merged in God’s preference and choice. The soul truly loves the arrangements of God, whatever they may be. In regard to whatever is now, and whatever shall be hereafter, its language is, “Thy will be done.”



VII.
A holy person often does the same things which are done by an unholy person, and yet the things done in the two cases, though the same in themselves, are infinitely different in their character. The one performs them in the will of God, the other in the will of the creature.



VIII.
The desires and affections should all converge and meet in the same centre, viz., in the love of God’s will and glory. When this is the case, we experience true
simplicity or singleness of heart. The opposite of this, viz., a mixed motive, partly from God and partly from the world, is what is described in the Scriptures as a double mind. The double minded man, or the man who is not in true simplicity of heart, walks in darkness and is unstable in all his ways. “If thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.”



IX.
Confession of sin is an important duty; but there is no true confession of sin where there is not at the same time a turning away from it.



X.
When Satan cannot prevent our good deeds, he will sometimes effect his evil objects by inducing us to take an undue and selfish satisfaction in them. So that it is necessary, if we would not convert them into destructive poisons, to be crucified and dead even to our virtues.



XI.
No person can be considered as praying in sincerity for a specified object, who does not employ all the appropriate natural means which he can to secure the object.



XII.
The rays of the sun shine upon the dust and mud, but they are not soiled by them. So a holy soul, while it remains holy, may mingle with the vileness of the world, and yet be pure in itself.



XIII.
The decisions of the conscience are always based upon perceptions and acts of the judgment; consequently he who acts from mere desire, without any intervention and helps of the judgment, necessarily acts without the approbation of conscience; and may be said, therefore, in the moral sense of the terms, to act without God.



XIV.
God is perfectly tranquil. He is never subject to agitation in any case whatever. And unlikeness to him in this respect, except in what is instinctive and physically unavoidable, indicates the existing state of the mind to be in some respects wrong.



XV.
Two things, in particular, are to be guarded against in all the variety of their forms, viz., CREATURE LOVE and SELF WILL; in other words, dependence upon self, and dependence upon our fellow men.



XVI.
Some portions of the Bible are addressed to the intellect, and some to the heart. The parts addressed exclusively to the intellect, are always understood, where there are corresponding powers and exercises of intellect. The parts addressed to the heart, and which involve truths having relation to the religious affections, can be fully understood only where there are corresponding exercises of the heart. And on this principle, the higher experimental truths of the Bible, such as relate to a full inward salvation, are not likely to be understood and appreciated, except in connection with the experience of such salvation.



XVII.
One of those things which particularly characterizes the holy mind, in distinction from the unholy or natural mind, and also in distinction from the partially sanctified mind, is, that in the allotment which falls to it in life,
it chooses to be, and loves to be where it is; and has no disposition and no desire to be any where else, till the providence of God clearly indicates that the time has come for a removal.



XVIII.
Whenever we propose to change our situation in life, by establishing some new relations, or by entering into some new business, it becomes, first of all, a most important religious duty, to lay all our thoughts and plans before our Heavenly Father for his approbation. Otherwise it is possible, and even probable, that we shall be found running the immense risk of moving in our own wisdom and out of God’s wisdom, in our own order and out of God’s order, for our own ends and out of God’s ends.



XIX.
It is good to take up and to bear the cross, whatever it may be, which God sees fit to impose. But it is not good and not safe to make crosses of our own; and, by an act of our own choice, to impose upon ourselves burdens which God does not require, and does not authorize. Such a course always implies either a faith too weak or a will too strong; either a fear to trust God’s way, or a desire to have our own way.



XX.
The more we are disunited from the unnecessary and tangling alliances of this life, the more fully and freely will our minds be directed to the life which is to come. The more we are separated from that which is temporal, the more closely shall we be allied to that which is eternal; the more we are disunited from the creatures, the more we shall be united to the Creator.



XXI.
Adversity, in the state of things in the present life, has far less danger for us than prosperity. Both, when received in the proper spirit, may tend to our spiritual advancement. But the tendency of adversity, in itself considered, is to show us our weakness, and to lead us to God; while the natural tendency of prosperity, separate from the correctives and the directions of divine grace, is to inspire us with self-confidence, and to turn us away from God.



XXII.
The goods of this world, those things which are suited to our convenience and comfort, are not necessarily unholy. Unholiness attaches to the manner; that is to say, to the spirit or temper, considered in relation to God, in which we receive and hold and employ them. If we receive and hold them as God’s gifts, and in subordination to his will, they are good. But if we hold and employ them as our own possessions, and irrespective of God’s will, they are evil.