What Is Christianity? The Life of God in the Soul of Man

12. February 2014 18:29 by Edward L. Smith in   //  Tags:   //   Comments (0)

To whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Colossians 1:27
I learned about a man this evening by the name of Henry Scougal. Henry Scougal (1650-1678) was a Scottish Anglican theologian, minister and author. He was the second son of Patrick Scougal and Margaret Wemys. His father was Bishop of Aberdeen for more than 20 years. From his youth, Scougal spent his free hours in reading, meditation and prayer.
Scougal wrote a small booklet called, “The Life of God in the Soul of Man”. This book was originally written to a friend to seek to explain Christianity. This small thoughtful book on Christianity had to impact this friends’ life. So far as I can tell there is no record of the impact of how the friend was impacted but there is a record of this books impact on the great evangelist by the name of George Whitefield.
 Whitefield said, “I really wanted to know God and be assured of salvation, but even strict discipline didn't seem to help. God showed me (in Scougal’s writings) that I must be born again.” Scougal wrote that Christianity is not about external duties to perform, nor is it an emotion or feeling one has. He defines true religion as the union of the soul with God, a partaker of the divine nature, or in the apostle's words, “Christ in you, the hope of glory."
This small booklet has been really thought provoking. I have desired to highlight two sections from the book. Read:
But certainly religion is quite another thing, and they who are acquainted with it will entertain far different thoughts, and disdain all those shadows and false imitations of it. They know by experience that true religion is a union of the soul with God, a real participation of the divine nature, the very image of God drawn upon the soul, or, in the apostle’s phrase, “It is Christ formed within us.”—Briefly, I know not how the nature of religion can be more fully expressed, than by calling it a Divine Life: and under these terms I shall discourse of it, showing first, how it is called a life; and then, how it is termed divine.
Another instance of his love to God was his delight in conversing with him by prayer, which made him frequently retire himself from the world, and, with the greatest devotion and pleasure, spend whole nights in that heavenly exercise, though he had not sins to confess, and but few secular interests to pray for; which, alas! are almost the only things that are wont to drive us to our devotions. Nay, we may say his whole life was a kind of prayer; a constant course of communion with God: if the sacrifice was not always offering, yet was the fire still kept alive; nor was ever the blessed Jesus surprised with that dulness, or tepidity of spirit, which we must many times wrestle with before we can be fit for the exercise of devotion.
My question to you is, are you a Christian? If your reply is yes then I ask what you are basing your reasoning upon. Is it your union with Christ? Is there a clear outer conformity to Jesus Christ because of the work of God in your soul? Is there a fire inside of you drawing you to commune in prayer with God?
I pray that you will think deeply and meditate upon these thoughts from Henry Scougal about what it really means to be a Christian. Just like the title of his book, being a Christian can be summed up as “The Life of God in the Soul of Man”.
We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ. For this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me.
Colossians 1:28-29

About Edward L. Smith

My ministry philosophy would consist of these essentials—a High View of God, the absolute authority of Scripture, Expository Preaching, Sound Doctrine, Personal Holiness, and a Biblical view of spiritual authority. All ministries must be God-Honoring, Christ-Centered, & Gospel Saturated. (1 Corinthians 10:31)


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