Great Quotes

Therefore we may conceive of the origin of religion in a more inward and spiritual manner still. It is not so much given of God as itself is something of God in the soul; as the soul is not so properly said to give live, as to be the life of man. As the conjunction of the soul with the body is the life of the body, so verily the life of the soul stands in its conjunction with God by a spiritual union of will and affections. God doth not enlighten men’s minds as the sun enlightens the world, by shining unto them and round about them, but by shining into them; by enlightening the faculty, as I said before, yea, which seems to be somewhat more, by shining in their hearts, as the apostle phrases it (II Cor 4:6). He sets up a candle, which is his own light within the soul; so that the soul sees God in his own light, and loves him with the love that he has shed abroad in it; and religion is no other than a reflection of that divine image, life, and light, and love, which from God are stamped and imprinted upon the souls of true Christians. God is said to enlighten the soul, but it is not as the sun enlightens, that you see; so he draws the soul too, but not from without only, as one man draws another with a cord; but, as the sun draws up earthly vapors by infusing its virtue and power into them; or, as the loadstone draws the iron, so he draws the soul by the powerful insinuations of his grace.

God does not so much communicate himself to the soul by way of discovery, as by way impression; and indeed not so much by impression neither, as by a mystical and wonderful way of implantation. Religion is not so much something from God, as something of God in the minds of good men, for so the Scripture allows us to speak; it is therefore called his image (Col 3:10), and good men are said to “love according to God in the spirit” (I Peter 4:6); but, as if that were no high enough, it is not only called his image, but even a participation of his divine nature (II Peter 1:4); something of Christ in the soul, and infant Christ as one calls it, alluding to the apostle (Galatians 4:19) where the saving knowledge of Christ is called Christ himself, “until Christ be formed in you.” True religion is, as it were, God dwelling in the soul and Christ dwelling in the soul, as the apostles John and Peter express it: yea, God Himself is pleased thus to express his relation to the godly soul in Isaiah 57:15; “I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a humble spirit;” and again in II Corinthians 6:16, “As God has said, I will dwell in them and walk in them.”

Pure religion is a beam of the Father of lights; it is a crop of that eternal fountain of goodness and holiness, the breath of the power of God, a pure influence flowing from the glory of the Almighty, the brightness of the everlasting light, the unspoiled mirror of the power of God, and the image of his goodness, more beautiful than the sun, and above all the orders of stars. What is spoken of the eternal Son of God (Heb 1:3), may, in a sense, be truly affirmed of religion in the abstract, that “offspring or branch of heaven,” that it is, “the effulgency or beaming forth of divine glory;” for there is more of the divine glory and beauty shining forth in one godly soul than in all things in the world beside. The glorious light of the sun is but a dark shadow of the divine light, not to be compared with the beauty of holiness.

An immortal soul does more resemble the divine nature than any other created being; but religion in the soul is a thousand times more divine than the soul itself. The material world is indeed a darker representation of divine wisdom, power, and goodness; it is as it were the footsteps of God; the immaterial world of angels and spirits represent him more clearly, as the face of God; but holiness in the soul does most nearly resemble him of all created things; one may call it the beauty and glory of his face. Every creature partakes of God indeed; he had no copy but himself and his own essence to frame the world by; so that all these must needs carry some resemblance of their Maker. But no creature is capable of such communications of God as a rational, immortal, spirit is; and the highest that angel or spirit, or any created nature, can be made capable of, is to be holy as God in holy.

Samuel Shaw, Immanuel; or True Religion A Living Principle in the Minds of Men

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