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Charles Spurgeon's Illustration Collection
How like to a Christian a man may be and yet possess no vital godliness! Walk through the British Museum, and you will see all the orders of animals standing in their various places, and exhibiting themselves with the utmost possible propriety. The rhinoceros demurely retains the position in which he was set at first, the eagle soars not through the window, the wolf howls not at night; every creature, whether bird, beast, or fish, remains in the particular glass case allotted to it; but we all know that these are not the creatures, but only the outward semblances of them. Yet in what do they differ? Certainly in nothing which you could readily see, for the well-stuffed animal is precisely like what the living animal would have been; and that eye of glass even appears to have more of brightness in it than the natural eye of the creature itself; there is a secret inward something lacking, which, when it has once departed, you cannot restore. So in the churches of Christ, many professors are not living believers, but stuffed Christians. They possess all the externals of religion, and every outward morality that you could desire; they behave with great propriety, they keep their places, and there is no outward difference between them and the true believer, except upon the vital point, the life which no power on earth can possibly confer. There is this essential distinction, spiritual life is absent.
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Spurgeon, Charles. Entry for 'Life: Spiritual'. Charles Spurgeon's Illustration Collection. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/fff/l/life-spiritual.html. 1870.
the First Week of Advent