Life and Eternal Life; Real Communication of Life

Matthew 19:3-9; John 1:4; John 5:26; John 6:57; John 14:19; Colossians 3:3
I do not take up -'s objection to your tract, not from any slight of him, but because I have discussed the subject with him heretofore, and I think him the opposite, to say the least, to being clear on the subject. On that point I do not listen to him. But I am not quite satisfied with your tract: the mediatorial character of Christ on the subject of life disappears too much, and the life of God becomes too much the God of life or life in God. I agree with your tract in the main, though it does seek to make mentally clear what can be only spiritually clear, as it seems to me. I do not believe that "the life of God" is merely character of life. It involves, as indeed it always does, a true life which bears that character.
But in John 5:2626For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; (John 5:26) I have what makes me hesitate. It is not i said life in Him, as in the Father Himself—" hath," and " given to have," at once makes a vital difference. You could not say any one gave God to have life in Himself, and that, because He has it in Himself. It is not a question with me of Christ's true eternal Deity—it is none, but of ἐκένωσε (Phil. 2:77But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: (Philippians 2:7)), and taking on Him the form of a servant, and so being dependent and obedient, a place He carefully and perfectly continued in. `That life,' you say, 'which is proper to God, dwells as fully in the incarnate Son as in the Godhead itself.' I do not say anything of 'as fully,' but in the same way is not true, for the Father has given to the Son (incarnate) to have life in Himself. This is not true of Godhead. You could not say that God lives διά any being. Christ says I live διὰ τὸν πατέρα (not τοῦ πατρός) John 6:5757As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. (John 6:57). And the subject here is just this descent of life, and our living by Christ; and the flesh of Christ is distinctly brought in and His death. In John's gospel this reception from the Father is most carefully everywhere retained, while His own proper Deity shines all through most strikingly. Hence your phrase, 'is none other than the life of God—the life which is proper to God, and which at the incarnation took up its abode, in all its divine fullness, in the Person of the Lord Jesus,' has hardly a clear sense. It never took up its abode in God, and it is never so said in scripture, but that the Father gave to the Son (incarnate) to have life in Himself. This leads me to add here, that "That which was from the beginning," in 1 John 1 is not for me eternal, but the incarnate Word down here, as chapter 2 clearly shows. Further, remark that in John 1, where we have abstractedly what Christ was—"in him was life," and, I doubt not, divinely and eternally—as such it is light, which is not received at all.
I do not agree with your interpretation of "gave power to become sons";* for we are sons υἱοί by faith in Him—quickening power was needed to receive Him.
(* ' Christ, or the Last Adam, a quickening Spirit, gives power to as many as receive Him to become children (τέκνα) of God, by their being born of God.'[ Eternal Life,' p. 33.])
I admit the life is never 'detached from its source'; "because I live, ye shall live also": but 'enjoyed in common**—this tends to destroy its mediatorial character at the other end, for 'in common' is as if we had both received it alike from some common source: Heb. 2:1111For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren, (Hebrews 2:11) goes the farthest. And you go so far as to say, 'in common with God its fountain.' (p. 34.) Now scripture goes very far in this direction, though not so speaking of life: we dwell in God and God in us. But here again mediator-ship is left out. True it is that Christ and God are identified in John's epistle: still, in chapter 4:9, we get the mediatorial character. I have no difficulty as to divine nature. Christ is our life, and he who has the Son of God has life; and he has the life of Jesus, which if shown out is there to be shown out. All this I should insist on, and have long and largely so done, and as I fully admit and thank God for it—never detached: but 'in common with God its fountain' you will not find. Christ is our life: but Paul connects this with another truth you have not touched. We are raised with Christ, He having become, as to life down here, a dead Man; and in Colossians we are raised with Him; in Ephesians quickened with Him and raised, Jew or Gentile, and seated in heavenly places. But here He is looked at, not as a source of life, but as raised by God's power.
(** This... the believer has, not as a gift which on its bestowal becomes detached from its source or spring, but in inseparable connection with Himself, where it is enjoyed in common or in communion with Him.' (Page 20.))
I could not say that life was not communicated, for surely if a man is born, life is communicated, only I admit not life in us as a separate thing. "He that hath the Son hath life": God's "seed remaineth in him." In speaking of vegetable and animal life as you do, conscious, voluntary action in mind or body, and important and reflectively only in man, is left out; and, to say the least, it greatly characterizes life itself, if not a definition.
Growing up to Him who is the Head, has scarcely its place in your account of holiness. Christ is eternal life: we have Him as life; and it will be complete when like Him in glory, and we "are changed into the same image from glory to glory." So He has sanctified Himself that we might be sanctified through the truth. The nature which grows is holy, I admit, in itself. Your account of sealing (p. 39) I doubt the exactness of. When examined in detail, I find it based on faith in the blood and its efficacy in remission; so in the type of the leper. I do not think τέκνα and υἱοί quite so distinct as you make them (p. 40), though I admit the difference: Gal. 3 is υἱός; John uses τέκνα; but Rom. 8:14-1714For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. 15For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 16The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: 17And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. (Romans 8:14‑17) shows it is not merely characteristic style.
—-sent me 'New Creation.' I think nature's relationships are too much lost in it. God holds to all He created in the first creation. "From the beginning it was not so." "God made them male and female." "What therefore God hath joined together": this holds good as long as man, in the body and natural life, is there. I do not know what you mean by the new creation being complete and perfect in Christ.
I have not quoted Christ's breathing on His disciples in connection with life, as it may be disputed; but we have Him "come that they might have life, and have it more abundantly." I rejoice with all my heart, both for your own sake and the Lord's goodness in the blessing He has given you. In general there is much thirst for the word now, so that brethren are a good deal encouraged in faithful service.
Dublin, May, 1880.