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The consequence, strictly speaking, was that all men were incapable of receiving any divine gift. But the other idea 160also, which we have found among the Gnostics, that the souls of men come from the upper kingdom, was very widespread. But not all souls. And so the Gospel of Jn. reveals that deep division, which separates God and the world, even between those men who are begotten from God (i. 13), and those who are the children of the devil (viii. 44). It is only another mode of expressing this, when it is said in iii. 6, “that which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the spirit is spirit.” And this sentence would lose all force, if we were to continue: but that also which is born of the flesh can become spirit and vice versâ. If it is to have any value, we must complete it thus: that which is born of the flesh is and remains flesh, and that which is born of the spirit is and remains spirit. Further it accords entirely with this when in viii. 47 it is said: “ye hear not” the words of God, “because ye are not of God,” or in viii. 43, “ye cannot hear my word?” or in vi. 65, “No man can come unto me, except it be given unto him of the Father.” And when he is leaving the earth, Jesus utters those words in xvii. 9 which may well startle us: “I pray not for the world, but for those whom thou hast given me.” In fact, if this were the Evangelist’s last word, he could not be distinguished from a Gnostic; only destined men could come to know the truth, and redemption would consist merely in enabling these alone to recognise their heavenly origin and so to achieve their emancipation from the prison formed by their body.

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