Albert Leverett Gridley.

The divine life : its development and activities online

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Southern Branch
of the

University of California

Los Angeles

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This book is DUE on the last date stamped below.






Author of Organic Evolution, Suborganic Evolution, Jesus
Only, The First Chapter of Genesis as the Rock Foundation for
Science and Religion, Demonstration of Kepler's Third Law and
the Effect of Ellipticity of Planetary Orbits upon the operation of
that Law, etc., etc.

"Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious
promises that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature."
(II Peter 1 :4.)

"The question may arise if the Divine Life is as above, in what
does it differ from Christ's life? In this, there was no human pa-
ternity in Christ's life. The God life principle united directly
with the ovum in Mary's womb and developed the God man, God
in the flesh."


In the ovum of the female there is life, its own kind of life,
but with no power of development. When united with the male
life principle there may be power to develop along the lines of
human life. But this human life has no power to develop along
the lines of Godlike life. But when God unites his own life prin-
ciple to the human, as when He "breathed into Adam the breath
of life, and he became a living soul," then, and not until then, is
there power to develop Godward. The process of this union is
called regeneration, the resultant is the Divine Life, as the term
is generally used in the following pages.


All Rights Reserved

Bath, New York.


My loving, faithful wife




WHEN God breathed into Adam the breath of life" and
he became a living soul, he imparted to Adam of
his own life, eternal life. Adam then became pos-
sessed of the kind, the quality of the life of God.
Eternal, not simply as to duration, but the kind of
life that would produce Godlike activities. Adam possessed the
human, the immortal, life before; but after God imparted to him
of his own life, then he was a child of God in a new, a real and
true sense.

But God warned him concerning the forbidden fruit, "In the
day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die," he was speaking of
that principle of eternal life that he had just imparted to him.
When Adam disobeyed, that life went out, became extinct, as God
said that it would. That was death in the supreme sense. The
separation of the immortal part of man from the material, physi-
cal, part is called death by way of accommodation, as there is no
better term to apply. But there is no extinction of the real life

Adam knew nothing of a physical death. But when he dis-
obeyed God, life in the absolute, the supreme sense, became ex-
tinct. Thus as far as that absolute, supreme life was concerned,
Adam died as God said that he would. That constituted Adam's
fall. But no created being can impart to its offspring a kind of
life that itself does not possess. So after Adam lost that life he
could not impart it to his descendants. So his fall constitutes
'The Fall of Man."

No human being, then, could possess that life without a direct
irnpartation from God. Christ came to make provision for such
an irnpartation of the Divine Life to every one who would ac-
cept it by believing on Jesus and accepting him as Lord. That
was Christ's supreme mission to the earth. When men accept
Christ in this way they become the "Children of God." So that
"As in Adam all died, so in Christ shall all be made alive," or
may be made "alive" in the same sense as that in which Adam
"became a living soul."

The Argument

By receiving Christ we become partakers of the Godlife, the
Divine life that Adam lost by his transgression.

But that life is not imparted, at first, in all of its fullness.
It must be developed by the means, the agencies that God sup-
plies, as parents provide the means for the growth of their chil-
dren, so that they may become strong Godlike characters.

To promote this development, activity is necessary as in the
case of growing children.

But further, these activities must be the means of accom-
plishment. This achievement is reached in its highest measure,
when, as members of Christ's great, universal Church, we "are
members of his body, of his flesh and of his bones."

To reach this final conclusion a somewhat extended exam-
ination has been entered into concerning "The Second Coming"
of Christ, his resurrection body and our own.


Chapter Page

I Some minor purposes Christ accomplished

by His coming 11

77 The supreme purpose for which Christ

came into the world 18

77/ The mystery of Jiozv one life can be

united with another 23

IV An illustration of the fact 29

V The path of rectitude lies between extremes 33

VI Growth in Grace 43

VII The new motive in the Divine Life 54

VIII How this New Life is to be obtained 63

IX A means of developing that Life 72

X As an apparent exception of the rule that the

Decalogue is but the expression of princi-
ples, fundamental and eternal, one com-
mandment deserves special consideration 84

XI Some thoughts on the Second Coming of

Christ 94

XII The Second Coming — Continued 100

XIII The Resurrection 109

XIV The Church, the body of Christ 118





Some minor purposes Christ Accomplished by His


Lo, I come to do thy will, God." (Heb. 10:9.)

THERE is one great, infinitely great, event in the
world's history, one towards which all preced-
ing history points forward and from which all
subsequent events are dated — the coming of
Jesus Christ into the world. For what purpose did he
come ? There must have been a necessity great enough to
warrant, to require, such an event.

In answering this question we may first consider
some subsidiary, collateral, purpose which he did accom-

It is said that he came to teach. He was a teacher,
a Master teacher. "Never man spake like this man," was
the amazing reply of those who were sent to entangle him
in his talk. But one amazing fact is that he never uttered
one new truth. Not one truth did he ever speak that was
not the common property of mankind as recorded in the
Bible, the Old Testament Scriptures as we have them
now, and that they then had. But the surprising thing
was his mastery of those truths, and his speaking them as
if they were his own original utterances. In fact they
were. They were truths that he had caused to be record-
ed centuries before in their scriptures. It is true that he
said, "A new commandment I give unto you." But it was
only the example of love that he was giving that was
new. Observe, he says, "As I have loved you." They
were familiar with the law of love. When a certain law-
yer stood up and tempted him. saying, "Master, what
shall I do to inherit eternal life?" Jesus asked him what

12 The Divine Life: Its Development and Activities

was written in the law. The lawyer answered by quoting
from the book of Deuteronomy, "Thou shalt love the
Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul and
with all thy strength and with all thy mind ; and thy
neighbor as thyself." Jesus said, ''Thou hast answered
right, this do and thou shalt live." They were familiar
with the law but the new exemplification of it was new
to the world.

Again, his example is spoken of as the great pur-
pose that he came to serve. It is true that he set a per-
fect example. His life must have been sinless, or by his
death he could have atoned for no sins but his own. But
in many particulars his example should not or cannot be
followed by us. He was infinite in wisdom, in heart dis-
cerning, in power. He could condemn hypocrisy, Phar-
isaism and other sins in the concrete ; but we cannot, for
we do not know the hearts of men as he knew them. He
could forgive sins. We cannot, we have not the right. He
wrought miracles, even to raising the dead. We cannot,
we have not the power. The world had better examples
of righteous living then than they had ever followed.

There was Enoch, who walked with God "And was
not for God took him." There was Noah and his family.
There was Abraham, "The friend of God." There was
Isaac, who was a type of Christ in his willingness to be
offered up as a sacrifice in obedience to his father. There
was Daniel against whom no fault is recorded and whose
righteousness was manifested by the expressed conscious-
ness of his sinfulness as he says, "And while I was pray-
ing and confessing my sins and the sins of my people,"
and so on. There were many more, even those whose
conduct has been criticised, who seem to have been more
highly esteemed of God than their critics.

But the content of Christ's example has never been
fully grasped, as, indeed, it can hardly be, by the finite

The Divine Life: Its Development and Activities 13

mind. One who had never seen a watch might look at the
outside of it and think it to be very simple, very easy to
pattern after but when the watch is opened and its com-
plicated structure, its content, is revealed, the difficulty
of copying it is seen.

So with the life of Christ. Within the apparently
simple exterior there is a complexity of detail that only
an inspired writer could outline and the most profound
intellect could explain.

But this may be touched upon at another time.
Again there are his wonderful works for the relief of
suffering. But he did not need to become incarnate to
heal the sick, cleanse the lepers or even to raise the dead.
He had as much power before his incarnation as when
he was in the flesh. He could have healed any disease or
relieved any human suffering without leaving his home
on high. He was moved with compassion at human
suffering and relieved it as any of us would have done or
would do if we had the power. But there was another
object in view, another object attained, that of proving
his character and establishing his claims as the Son of
God. "The works that I do in my Father's name they
bear witness of me." There was nothing that he did while
he was in the flesh that he could not have done without
taking on that robe of flesh.

But the great, what we may call the supreme, subsid-
iary purpose for which he came to earth in the form of
man, was to make an atonement for sin so that God
could be just and yet to justify, to treat as just or inno-
cent, those who would come to him through Chrrist, or
accept that sacrifice that Jesus Christ made on Cal-
vary. But the atonement of Christ is the offense of the
cross. There is no doctrine, and even in this age of the
world I am not ashamed of the term "doctrine," or I may
say, no truth recorded in the scriptures of truth that is

14 The Divine Life : Its Development and Activities

more hard for human nature to receive than the declared
truth of the atonement of Christ. It is so humiliating to
human pride, so opposed to human choice, to depend for
salvation upon the atonement of Christ that many will
not receive the truth. And yet its necessity is founded in
the very nature of things. The whole patriarchal dispen-
sation had reference to it, the whole Jewish dispensation
was founded upon the fact that satisfaction must be made
to Divine Justice before sins could be forgiven or men
could be at peace with God. The sacrifice of Abel was a
type of the one on Calvary y All of the sacrifices in the
whole Jewish dispensation were but the types of the great
Antitype, him who was made an "offering and a sacri-
fice for sin."

No truth was more the object of prophecy in the Old
Testament, no truth more emphasized in the New, than
• that Christ was offered up as an offering and a sacrifice
for sin. The doctrine is not simply Paul's. It is more
emphatically the teaching of Him who said that he came
"Lutron anti pollon," a sacrifice, instead of, in the place
of, many.

If the doctrine of the vicarious sacrifice of Christ
as an atonement for sin is not a truth it is impossible for
God to express his thoughts to men, or for the Greek
language to convey a definite idea.

One difficulty in accepting this truth is the difficulty
of perceiving why it should be true. This difficulty arises
from an inadequate conception of the scope of God's gov-

There are unnumbered millions of sentient beings
who have never been clothed with the vestments of the
flesh, beings who existed before the material universe
was brought into being. All must be and are under the
government of God. Have all submitted to that govern-
ment as loyal subjects? Evidently not. Christ says, "I

The Divine Life: Its Development and Activities 15

beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven." And he had
his myriads of followers. There are wicked spirits in the
universe. How did they become such? God never made
a wicked spirit any more than he made a wicked man. He
made beings, spirits and humans, innocent ; but their
character must be determined by their own voluntary
choice. God never made a wicked being as such. They
make their own characters. That is the case with men.
In the very nature of things this must be the case with un-
incarnate beings. They become wicked by following the
selfish impulses of their own natures. But God must be
just. He is supreme and every being must be subser-
vient to him. "Justice and judgment are the habitation of
thy throne." As a necessary consequence rebellion against
God's authority was punished, or, at least, for the good of
those yet innocent the prime mover of sedition with all his
followers was excluded from heaven and sent to "The
place prepared for the Devil and his angels." This view is
not simply Miltonic ; it is scriptural, reasonable, and in
some of its phases, in accordance with human experience.
On the occasion of that revolt in heaven, we may
imagine God as saying to himself, or to the constituents
of his being, "Let us make man in our likeness." For the
developing of a race of beings that should be immune
from temptation or above its power when they should
come to their final state, he constructed the entire physi-
cal universe. This unverse was designed as the home of a
race of beings "A little lower than the gods." Those be-
ings were clothed with material bodies, thus subjecting
them to a new discipline for developing stronger char-
acters in righteousness.

There are temptations of the flesh that are not inci-
dent to pure unincarnate spirits. All of this physical uni-
verse was constructed with reference to the training of
this new race of beings. But if one of these beings trans-

16 The Divine Life: Its Development and Activities

gressed the law of God, the same consequences must fol-
low as followed the transgressions of unembodied spirits,
or God would be unjust. Sin must be followed by pen-
alty in the physical universe as it was in the unseen
world of spirits. If God punished the "Angels who kept
not their first estate," he must do the same for man. I
speak of Justice. That is not a merely arbitrary idea of
God. It is inherent in his nature as God, and its exercise
is absolutely essential for the highest interest of all of his

Now, whether this view be correct or not, there are
legions, myriads, of spiritual beings, both good and bad,
who were and are to be witnesses of God's dealings with
the race of beings which he brought into being. So God's
righteousness must be vindicated before angels and men.
Justice must be administered, or the government of God
would be despised and anarchy would result in all the
universe of seen and unseen beings.

But "All have sinned and come short of the glory of
God." How then can any one escape the consequences?
The problem was too deep for the jurists of old. God
solved the problem, it was by the vicarious sacrifice of

So Jesus died,

"Making His soul an offering for sin ;

Just for unjust, and innocence for guilt ;

By doing, suffering, dying unconstrained,

Save by omnipotence of boundless grace,

Complete atonement made to God appeased ;

Made honorable His insulted law,

Turning the wrath aside from pardoned man ;

Thus truth with Mercy met, and righteousness,

Stooping from highest heaven, embraced fair Peace

That walked the earth in fellowship with Love."

The Divine Life: Its Development and Activities 17

Thus the greatest subsidiary purpose for which
Christ came was accomplished.

The supreme purpose for which he came must next
be considered.


The Supreme Purpose For Which Christ Came Into
The World.

" I am come that they might have life and that they
might have it more abundantly."

These remarkable words of Christ have not gener-
ally been fully understood. What does He mean by say-
ing that He was come that they might have life? He was
not addressing dead corpses, nor was he speaking of those
who were physically dead, or in the sense in which we
usually speak of the dead. He evidently did not mean
that he would restore to physical life those who were in
their graves. They were not his sheep. Those of whom
he spoke were those who followed him, loved him, his
disciples. The question again recurs, What does he
mean? For an answer we must go back to Gen. II. God
breathed into Adam the breath of life and he became a
living soul. That was the impartation to our first parent
of life from God, God's own life. But God said that if
he, Adam, ate of the forbidden fruit that he should die.
Satan said that he should not die. Which told the truth ?
According to the popular, the common conception, Satan
told the truth and God told the wrong story. Adam did
not die a physical death for nearly a thousand years af-
terward. Did God then tell a wrong story? No. "Let
God be true, though every man be a liar." The truth is
that God was speaking of the Eternal life principle that
God imparted when He breathed into Adam "The breath
of life and he became a living soul."

Adam was already a human being, he had animal,
even more, he had the human life principle already. But
added to this God imparted to him of His own life. That

The Divine Life: Its Development and Activities 19

was eternal life, eternal in the sense that it never had a
beginning and would never have an end. It was the im-
partation of God's own life principle. That was the life
of which God spoke when He told Adam that he should
die the day he disobeyed. When Adam received that life
from God he was a child of God. Our children are our
children because we have imparted to them of our own
life. When God imparted to Adam his life, Adam was a
child of God. He then was a partaker of the Divine na-
ture and not until then. Parents impart of their lives to
their children. God imparted of His life to our first

It is necessary here to observe that this life princi-
ple is not simply different as to duration, continuance, it is
different in kind. Its nature is different, it produces dif-
ferent results from the merely human life.

Anything that has life will produce results accord-
ing to the life principle it contains. There may be mil-
lions of protoplasmic cells so nearly alike that no micro-
scopic, no chemical test could detect the difference. Yet
one in its development would produce a toadstool, another
an oak.

No two of millions might develop in the same way or
produce like results. But each one produces results ac-
cording to its own peculiar life principle. Conversely, each
product partakes of the life principle of the parent. I
may repeat a thought here for emphasis. When God
breathed into Adam the breath of life and he became a
living soul, He imparted to him the principle of the God
life that would develop Godlike character and produce
the fruits of holiness, Godlike living.

It was this life of which God spoke and warned
Adam, "In the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely
die." Satan said, "Ye shall not surely die." Which told
the truth? Upon the surface of things Satan told the-

20 The Divine Life: Its Development and Activities

truth, for, as said before, Adam lived for many years
after that. But God was speaking of the God inbreathed
principle of eternal life, God's own life imparted to him.
That life went out. In the sense of the God imparted life
Adam was dead. And that was death in the supreme
sense, the separation of the soul from the body is called
death by way of accommodation ; there is no better term,
perhaps, to employ. But that God given life was life in the
supreme sense, its extinction was death in the supreme
sense. In that sense Adam was dead. God told the truth.
And now what followed? No created being can im-
part to its offspring a kind of life that itself does not pos-
sess. Adam could not impart to his offspring the princi-
ple of the God life, the eternal life, for after his trans-
gressions he did not have it. This is the philosophy of
the fact that Paul expresses, "In Adam all died." His
posterity would have life of a kind, but not that kind that
was of God, the principle of eternal life. If his offspring
ever had that kind of life it must be by direct impartation
from God. And so it came about that "In Christ must
all be made alive."

That men might be made alive in that sense was
the supreme purpose for which Christ came, suffered,
died and rose again. After Christ had accomplished
his work, God could be just and the justifier, or would
be able to treat as just or innocent all who would come
to him through Christ. Adam was innocent when God
imparted to him that life. By accepting the work of
Christ we may be treated as innocent. Accepting that
life we become the children of God in a new and unique
sense. We are then the children of God because He
has imparted his own life to us and we are his children
as those to whom we impart life are our children. "But
as many as received him to them he gave power to be-
come the sons of God, even to them that believe on his

The Divine Life: Its Development and Activities 21

name, which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of
the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God."

Then we are in no semi-fictitious mythical or myste-
rious sense, but really, truly, actually, the children of God
and partakers of the Divine nature.

So Christ says, "I am come that they might have

But there are so many in these days who insist
that independently of Christ we are by natural birth the
children of God that we need to insist upon what Christ
himself and the inspired writers say on this subject.

But Christ makes the declaration above in no equiv-
ocal terms. It was not necessary for him to impart a
life that they already had. He must have meant some*
thing entirely different from the natural life. He re-
fers to eternal life as he elsewhere says, "I give unto
my sheep eternal life." Paul says the gift of God is
eternal life, or changing the order for clearness, Eternal
life is the gift of God. It is the imparting of a new life
principle. Note again where he says, "She that liveth
to pleasure is dead while she liveth." So is every one.
Again, "To be carnally minded is death." It is spiritual
death, and what I wish to emphasize in this connection
is that the spiritual nature is the man. The material body
is but an appendage attached to the real man for a spe-
cific but temporary purpose. Again, "Thou hast a name
to live but art dead." There is nothing figurative, myth-
ical or mysterious about these words. They but ex-
press a literal truth for, so far as the divine life is con-
cerned, they were dead. They are dead as Adam was
dead after his transgressions. And again, writing to the
Ephesians, Paul says, "You hath he quickened who were
dead in trespasses and sins." The word "quickened"
means the bringing to life. Paul speaks of himself as
among those who had been dead. He says "Even when

22 The Divine Life Its Development and Activities

we were dead in sins hath he quickened," or given life to.

Other passages might be quoted of the same import,
but perhaps these are sufficient. But it cannot be too
strongly emphasized that those who accept Christ, those
who have been born again, born of water and of the
Spirit, are literally, truly and in no figurative sense, the
children of God. As such they will go on developing
according to the life principle that is in them and ani-
mates them.

To recapitulate in a few words, God imparted to
Adam of his own life, eternal life. Adam sinned and
that life went out. He died as God said that he would.
Losing that life he could not impart it to his offspring.

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