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The Theeefold Nature of Man.

The Theeefold Nature of Man.

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Published by glennpease
BY REV. CHARLES JOHN ELLICOTT, D.D.



I Thessalonians v. 23.

And the very God of peace sanctify yoit ivJiolly : and I pray God
your whole spirit and soid and body be preserved blameless unto
the coining of our Lord Jesus Christ,
BY REV. CHARLES JOHN ELLICOTT, D.D.



I Thessalonians v. 23.

And the very God of peace sanctify yoit ivJiolly : and I pray God
your whole spirit and soid and body be preserved blameless unto
the coining of our Lord Jesus Christ,

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Published by: glennpease on Apr 19, 2014
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THE THEEEFOLD ATURE OF MA. BY REV. CHARLES JOH ELLICOTT, D.D. I Thessalonians v. 23. And the very God of peace sanctify yoit ivJiolly : and I pray God your whole spirit and soid and body be preserved blameless unto the coining of our Lord Jesus Christ, THE words, brethren, which I have just read, have a grave claim on our attention. From the days of Irenseus^ down to our own, this text has been con- fidently appealed to as an emphatic statement of the elements and constituents of the nature of man. Though amidst much diversity of interpretation, and much variety of exegetical detail, it has still ever been regarded by thoughtful men as a distinct and almost formal exposition of the mysterious economy of our being : it has been deemed a clear and authori- tative statement of the triplicity in unity of human nature, and a witness that may not be gainsaid of the existence and association of three elements in man, body, soul, and spirit. * See note A. 10-4 THREEFOLD ATURE OF MA. [sERM. On texts such as these it is at times wise to medi- tate. It is well for us, especially in the graver hours of a penitential season like that in which we now have entered, to seek out the more retired sources of Scripture truth, to court the keener but more bracing airs of doctrinal investigations, and, in the reverential contemplation of the higher mysteries of our faith, to
 
forget for a while the wearisome subjectivities of that undemonstrative theology, which is alike the charac- teristic and the bane of our age. I make no apology for introducing this peculiar subject to your notice ; for though, at first sight, it may seem of a purely speculative nature, it will still be found, on a nearer survey, to be truly and essentially practical ; it will often be found to throw a strangely and fearfully illustrative light on the more common forms of temptation which try our souls ; it will often give us some blessed glimpses of the operations of the eternal Spirit of God within us; it will often add a deeper significance to the varying, and only too commonly unnoted phases of our inner life. I cannot, indeed, hope to dwell upon these power- ful applications, for I fear that the mere discussion of the text will occupy nearly all our time, but I shall still rejoice in the feeling that, in bringing such question before you, I am not asking you to meditate upon a mere sterile thesis, but on a subject whose seed is in itself, — a subject which cannot fail to make us more conscious of the infinite mysteries of our being, and more sensitively alive to the tidings of that v.] THREEFOLD ATURE OF MA. 105 sore strife, that fell and utter conflict of the Flesh and the Spirit/ of which the soul of every one of us in this church is the theatre and the battle-ground. ay more, such a subject as the present has a pressing claim upon us, not only from its own im- portance, but from its vital connexion with some of those doctrines which, in our own day, we have seen brought into prominence, and which, full surely, another generation will recognise as its questions of most serious import, the doctrine of the Last things,
 
 — eschatology, as it has been termed, — and the doctrine of the Atonement. AVith these our present subject has the most intimate connexion ; and it w^ould not be too much to say, that nine-tenths of the hasty assertions which we have seen put forth upon these doctrines would have been completely avoided, if a little more attention had been paid to the fundamental constitution of our common nature, and the true nature and interdependence of its three mysterious components. Body, Soul, and Spirit. The ignorance of the scriptural aspects of this question, and the complete disregard w^hich the whole subject of biblical psychology has experienced, is no less startling than demonstrable. In but few of our recent commentaries, or theological treatises, is there any attempt to distinguish between the characteristics of our psychic and spiritual natures. Scriptural terms of such usually distinct significance as ' heart, soul, ^ Gal. V. 1 7 ; see notes in he. 106 THREEFOLD ATURE OF MA. [sERM. mind^ understanding, inner man/ meet with the most varying interpretations; nay, the only epithet which a common and popular assent has associated with one part of our common nature, ^immortal' soul, is either insufficient or of doubtful application ;  — insufficient, if the term soul be used as including our whole saveable nature ; ^ — of doubtful application if it be used in its more precise and restricted signi- ficance.^ But it is time that we approached the text itself. The words which I have chosen for our consideration

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