How a Man may not attain so high before Death as not to be moved or touched by outward Things.
There be some who affirm, that a man, while in this present time, may and ought to be above being touched by outward things, and in all respects as Christ was after His resurrection. This they try to prove and establish by Christ’s words: ’I go before you into Galilee there; shall ye see Me.’ And again, ’A spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see Me have.’ These sayings they interpret thus: ’As ye have seen Me, and been followers of Me, in My mortal body and life, so also it behoveth you to see Me and follow Me, as I go before you into Galilee; that is to say, into a state in which nothing hath power to move or grieve the soul; on which state ye shall enter, and live and continue therein, before that ye have suffered and gone through your bodily death. And as ye see Me having flesh and bones, and not liable to suffer, so shall ye likewise, while yet in the body and having your mortal nature, cease to feel outward things, were it even the death of the body.’
Now, I answer, in the first place, to this affirmation, that Christ did not mean that a man should or could attain unto this state, unless he have first gone through and suffered all that Christ did. Now, Christ did not attain thereunto, before He had passed through and suffered His natural death, and what things appertain thereto. Therefore no man can or ought to come to it so long as he is mortal and liable to suffer. For if such a state were the noblest and best, and if it were possible and right to attain to it, as aforesaid, in this present time, then it would have been attained by Christ; for the life of Christ is the best and noblest, the worthiest and loveliest in God’s sight that ever was or will be. Therefore if it was not and could not be so with Christ, it will never be so with any man. Therefore though some may imagine and say that such a life is the best and noblest life, yet it is not so.
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