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spirit has made and perpetuates, be cleansed and restored so that His life may again find a way for itself through the body. To this end we who are Christians must bewail these errors and factions which keep us apart. We must confess the sin of them, and implore God by his Spirit to raise up this broken and wounded body called by His Name out of its low estate, and to fill it again with His life-giving presence. Interchange of kindly feeling is commendable, so far as it goes. God grant that there may be more of it. But it is only a means to the end. That end is such an organic union as shall testify to the world that the church is the Body of Christ, animated by His life, pervaded by His Spirit, authorized to speak and work for Him, and freighted with the bounties of His healing and salvation for all the world. Until such union is realized we shall look in vain for the world's conversion.
Without doubt the apostles regarded the risen Jesus, and presented Him to their hearers, as the source of a new life-power to men, a regenerating, healing power, reaching not only to the springs of spiritual but of physical life. We are accustomed to regard the physical effects of salvation, as seen in the healing of the impotent man, as merely the signs or proofs of a supernatural spiritual healing. But they are more than simply signs; they are also effects. Such a view as this gives a far truer idea of our necessity as needing salvation, and of how fully our need has been met. We say a man needs to be saved. What does this mean? Is it merely that he is in danger of future punishment, or that his moral condition is such as to unfit him for future happiness? It means this indeed, but more also. It means that the very sources of life in the man have been impaired and defiled. Hence its development has been away from God and out of harmony with His eternal laws. "All sin is lawlessness," writes St. James. And hence there is disorder and excess and irritation, and sometimes frenzy, among our life-forces. There are spiritual vices, such as pride and selfishness and envy. And there are disordered physical cravings, carnal lusts that war against both soul and body. So that diseases and bad tempers and derangements in the body are just as truly the fruit of sin as vices of the mind. They are alike the result of a disordered life. Something is wrong in the vital constitution of man, in his original life-endowment. And therefore no remedy can reach the case short of a new endowment. When the apostles spoke to men of Jesus as the Prince of life, whom God had raised from the dead, they meant to declare that God had now opened a new fountain of life and healing for mankind; one that was to affect us not only by spiritual impressions upon the mind, but as a new stream of life, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb, through the whole region of our lives. Hence it was inevitable that this new life-power should demonstrate its energy in the region of the body also. Such bodily healing as that of this impotent man was a more powerful result than that ordinarily witnessed. And yet it differed in degree and not in kind from the blessings in which all believers shared.
All this is more apparent when we consider further that bodily disorders are uniformly viewed in the New Testament as manifestations of "the power of the enemy." We are but little aware how deep and widespread is that malign power which God, for the wise ends of our training for the dignities of an eternal life, has suffered Satan to usurp in this created system. And hence we know little of the far-reaching range of that conflict in which we are now engaged with the ruler of this world's darkness. The lines of this warfare reach down to the foundations of our physical as well as our moral nature. And therefore the salvation which meets the case is constantly spoken of as a work of "new creation."
The practical end of this discussion is to urge upon the attention of Christians an aspect of Christ's saving work which is often overlooked. We seem to think that God's "saving health" is for the region of the soul, but that He can or will do nothing for us in the region of the body. But we are bold to say that any salvation which does not make itself felt in the region of the body, as well as of the spirit, can never meet our case. The fetters that bind men to sin are no less physical than moral. The law of sin which is in our members is in the members of the body. I look over any Christian congregation and ask myself, What are the hindrances to the spiritual life in these persons? I may be told that some are absorbed in money-making, others in the pleasures of life, and, in general terms, that they are too much taken up with the things of the world. All true, so far as it goes. But the story is not all told. I find that some are the slaves of bodily appetite, and others are clogged and weighed down with some form of physical infirmity. With some, dyspepsia or a torpid liver beclouds their sky and keeps them spiritless and gloomy. Others have disorder of nerves. Some are vexed with an irascible temper. A large proportion of soldiers in the Christian army are thus in hospital, or otherwise hors du combat, disabled for warfare or work by some kind of infirmity; it may be one that is constitutional or hereditary. But, because the maladies which disable them are physical, they regard themselves as excused. They deem it inevitable that they must succumb. They are thus defeated by the enemy, and know not that he has overcome them, because he has assailed them along the channels of the body, and with physical weapons. They never imagine that he can have anything to do with the liver or the nerves.
And yet the fact is that it is through these very avenues of the body he finds entrance. In these very ways he entangles and imprisons and impoverishes the spiritual life. Sin, be it remembered, is the disorder of the life. It disorganizes and degrades life in all its functions. Its effects, therefore, are as truly apparent in the body as in the mind. And new life from the Spirit of God must give energy and buoyancy through the whole region of man's life. How, otherwise, can we present our bodies unto God as living sacrifices, and our members as instruments of righteousness to bring forth fruit unto Him? The truth is, unless the Holy Spirit bless me with His healing, invigorating power in this region, as well as in spirit, then my case is only half met. It is among the life-forces of which my body is the home and the organ that sin has bred anarchy, and they must be subdued to His sway, if I am to be of use in His service. In the case of an inebriate, for example, his shattered and debased lifepowers must be subdued and tranquillized and reorganized around a new centre.
Now, this is precisely the salvation given us in Christ. He is the new Lord of life. We get a new spirit of life from Him, a new life endowment, stronger than the old life of sin, and able to subdue all the faculties and functions of our being to itself. "He forgiveth all our sins and healeth all our diseases."
We are to recognize, indeed, that the complete redemption of the body will be effected only through its resurrection from the dead. Its final triumph over infirmities and disease will come only through its final triumph over death. And yet we have now the first fruits and earnest of that triumph. This miracle of healing was such an earnest. And so, also, was the increased buoyancy and gladness which characterized the first converts to Christianity, and of which there are many illustrations in our own times. In the Corinthian church, where there were many who were weak and sickly, this state of things is spoken of as a mark of God's disfavor, a chastisement for their sins at the Lord's table. This implies that weakness and sickliness are evils which it was expected that the presence of the Holy Spirit in a man would overcome. I do not say prevent or always remove, but overcome. Paul seems to