My soul sticks to the dust: quicken you me according to your word.
It sounds like a paradox for the spiritual man to say that he is bound by the material, and cannot emancipate himself from it. A paradox, however, only at first sight, and only in seeming. For it is only the spiritual man who is sensible of the humiliations and the degradations of the material, and therefore impatient of them. If he were of the dust, he would be content to remain on the dust-level. He would be in his own element, satisfied with it, unconscious of any higher aspirations. It is a question of spiritual sensitiveness. This is why it is that in the diaries of the saintliest people you find the deadliest self-accusation. John Bunyan, in his "Grace Abounding," paints himself as a villain of the deepest dye for peccadilloes that would never have troubled an ordinary conscience. His spiritual nature was like the outer membrane of the eyeball, and the presence of an infinitesimal evil in his soul caused him the acutest pain. We seem, even the best of us, to be ever sinking back to our native element; the spiritual is ever reverting to the original animal. This, indeed, is the source of all our conflict. Our souls "cleave unto the dust," because we are dust. We are not, however, to despise and hold cheap even our corporeal parts. Matter is evil only when we sustain a wrong relation to it. "First the natural, afterward that which is spiritual." But then the spiritual must dominate the natural. When we take Christ fully into our hearts, the higher elements within us become regal, and the lower subside into their place. They are not suppressed. If they were, our manhood would be left incomplete. But they are subordinated. We are no longer "carnally minded," though the flesh is still with us. "The law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus" introduces a new and regnant principle into the soul, to which the animal passions and fleshly instincts transfer their allegiance. And it is while this process is going on, and because it is going on, that such confessions as that of our text break from the struggling heart. We no more belong to the dust when we can make this confession and offer its accompanying prayer. It is the sign and the song of our uprising. By force of old habit we cling to the dust, but not with longing, rather with loathing; not with desire for it, but with passion for freedom from it. We are often like the miserable fly struggling to extricate it, s cloyed wings from the honey which is its lawful food, but to which it has been too passionately addicted. The poor thing wants to rise, it tries to soar, but it is, as it were, glued to the lower element, and will be suffocated in it, unless some friendly finger comes to the rescue. There is the picture of our condition. Fain would we ascend to the heights of spiritual communion, fain would we breathe the heavenly air and behold the vision of God, but our sins and foolishness cause us to "cleave unto the dust." But for us, too, as for Paul, there is the friendly aid. "Who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord."
Parallel VersesKJV: DALETH. My soul cleaveth unto the dust: quicken thou me according to thy word.