A portion of a letter written by Henry Scougal (1650-1678). Scougal was a Scottish Puritan, professor of divinity at King’s College, Aberdeen. He authored a book, The Life of God in the Soul of Man, that was instrumental in the salvation of many, including George Whitefield. This letter was written to someone who inquired of him after reading his book. No date is given for the letter.
I cannot speak of religion but I must lament that, among so many pretenders to it, so few understand what it means. Some place it in the understanding, in orthodox notions and opinions… Others place their religion into externals for the outward man, expressed by public duties and claim to have a model of performances… Others again, put all their investment in religion into their emotions, with rapturous and ecstatic devotion… Such are frequently assumed to be the whole content of Christianity.
But true religion is quite another thing, and those who have experienced it will entertain very different thoughts about it. For they know by personal experience that true religion is a union of the soul with God, a real participation of the divine nature, in the apostle’s phrase, it is Christ formed within us. Briefly, I do not know how one can put it more succinctly that to simply call it divine life given to us…
Letters of Faith Through the Seasons, edited by James M. Houston, Honor Books, vol. 1, 2006, pp. 179-180.