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Spiritual Life

Spiritual Life

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Published by glennpease

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Published by: glennpease on May 21, 2013
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SPIRITUAL LIFEBY REV. J. H. POTTS, A.M.,SPIRITUAL life ! what is it ? The expressionis very familiar ; we have all heard it fromchildhood up; is the experience equally common?Is it something gained in the order of naturalgrowth, of intellectual development, of socialprogress, or moral imiDrovement ? Is it, in somedegree, a heritage of every man's earthly exist-ence, cropping out somewhere and at some timeas a necessary part of his being? Or is it a dis-tinct element, introduced by other than naturalprocesses, and requiring in every individual thathas it free and intelligent acceptance of it at thehands of the great Giver of all life ? Verily, the lat-ter view is correct. Spiritual life is life begottenin the trusting heart by the Spirit of God. TheSpirit proceeds from Christ, who is our life. Heproduces spiritual life in the believer because he8 The Life.is the very breath of the living and glorifiedChrist. He takes of that which belongs to Jesus(John xvi, 15) and communicates it to us. "OurLord's holy life on the earth," says Prof. Godet," is the type which the Holy Spirit is commis-sioned to reproduce in us, the treasury fromwhich he draws the renewing of our life. Life,in Scripture, denotes a fully satisfied existence,in which all the faculties find their full exerciseand their true occupation. Man's spirit, becomethe abode and organ of the Divine Spirit, realizesthis life with a growing perfection to eternallife." In many passages of Scripture Christ isreferred to as dwelling in the believer. This canbe only a spiritual habitation. It is Christ in theperson of the Spirit that joins himself wdth thespirit and life of man, they twain constituting aspiritual life of the highest order known to cre-ated existence. Where the Spirit of Christ isthere he is also himself. Christ in us thus be-
comes our life of joy and our hope of glory. Hesatisfies us just in proportion as we awake in hislikeness. He uses us for good in the ratio of ourseparation from evil and consecration to his serv-ice. " And if Christ be in you, the body is deadbecause of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness." Rom. viii, 10. Spiritual life willSpiritual Life a ew Creation. 9not prevent the death of the body, but it will en-ergize the life of the soul, making it potent forgood, and in the end will quicken the mortalpart, and result in life eternal.Spiritual life, then, is no " spontaneous gen-eration " — an element springing into being of itself. It is not mere development of latent en-ergies or dormant forces ; it is not moral rec-titude, nor physical perfection, nor any thingthat comes within the range of purely humancapabilities. It is a life of God. It is a newcreation. It is being born from above, born of the Spirit, made a child of God, and adopted intohis family.And this beginning of spiritual life in man hasits striking analogy in nature. It is a wonderfulthing, but not more wonderful than the begin-ning of natural life. Scientists now concede thattliere is no such thing as life spontaneously gen-erated. Life can only come from pre-existinglife. The attempt, such as Bastian hastily made,and supposed successful, to get the living out of the dead has proved a disastrous failure. Huxleyis free to grant that the doctrine of life onlyfrom life is *' victorious along the whole line atthe present day." " The present state of knowl-edge," he says, "furnishes us with no link be-10 The Life.tween the living and the not living." * Tyndall
affirms that "no shred of trustworthy experi-mental testimony exists to prove that life in ourday has ever appeared independently of antece-dent life."t Life springs only at the touch of the great Lifegiver. This is nature's law, uni-versal and unchangeable.And so spiritual life is not the result of merelygood resolves, a reformation of character if it waspreviously bad, a gradually becoming better andbetter until, from wickedness and degeneracy,that quality of religious nature known as spirit-ual life is attained. " Spiritual life," says thatmasterly scholar. Professor Henry Drummond, " isthe gift of the Living Spirit. The spiritual manis no mere development of the natural man. Heis a new creation born from above. As well ex-pect a hay infusion to become gradually moreand more living until, in course of the process, itreached vitality, as expect a man, by becomingbetter and better, to attain the eternal life." Hesays again, " The door from the natural to thespiritual is shut, and no man can open it. Thisworld of natural men is staked off from the spir-itual world by barriers which have never yet been* " Encyclopaedia Britannica," (new ed.,) Art., *' Biology."t "ineteenth Century," 1878, p. 601.Tlie JSFeio Birth. IIcrossed from within. o organic change, no modi-fication of environment, no mental energy, no moraleffort, no evolution of character, no progress of civilization can endow any single human soulwith the attribute of spiritual life. The spiritualworld is guarded from the world next in orderbeneath it by a law of biogenesis, * Except aman be born again, . . . born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot see the kingdom of God.'The breath of God, blowing where it listeth,touches with its mystery of life the dead soulsof men, bears them across the bridgeless gulf be-tween the natural and the spiritual, between thespiritually inorganic and the spiritually organic,

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