The Universal Christ

"The resurrection gives us a Christ who is spiritually present; the Holy Spirit gives us a Christ who is universally present. By the coming of the Holy Spirit the risen Christ is made omnipresent, and the whole process of revelation here and now completed. Nothing higher can be looked for until the veil is dropped on the other side. Momentous consequences follow the acceptance of this truth. If the age of the Spirit under which we are now living marks the final outgoing of God to man; if the God who is manifested in Christ is every-where present in the Spirit; if through the medium-ship of the Spirit he dwells in the inner sanctuary of the soul; if he is not only with man, but in man; if through the Holy Spirit his presence within the soul is realized as the presence of Christ, then the time foretold by Jesus has come when temples and shrines are no longer indispensable, when every man has immediate access to God as the Father, and when every humble receptive soul may become "an habitation of God in the Spirit." "
- James Mann Campbell (The Presence, p. 89)

The New Covenant Gift of the Spirit

"Let us recall the three considerations that have been
mentioned. First, that our Lord Himself in His Divine-human nature was on earth, and is now in heaven, possessed of the fulness of the Spirit, and this in such a manner that the Spirit entered into all He was in the one sphere, and enters into all He is in the other. Secondly, that the Spirit given us by our Lord in His glorified condition is His own Spirit in the most definite and particular meaning of the words. Thirdly, that when the Spirit is bestowed upon us He must be made inwardly and experimentally ours, entering into all that we are in a manner similar to that in which He entered into all that Jesus was and is. Let us fix these three points distinctly in our minds, and it will follow that the Spirit promised as the chief gift of the New Covenant is pervaded by human as well as Divine elements. As the Spirit of the exalted and glorified Lord, He is not the Third Person of the Trinity in His absolute and metaphysical existence, but that Person as He is mediated through the Son, who is human as well as Divine. It is on this particular aspect of His being that He diffuses Himself through the members of Christ's body, and abides in them. Only as human, entering into and coalescing with what is human, can He be also our Spirit dwelling in a living and real way within us."
- William Milligan (The Ascension and Heavenly Priesthood of Our Lord, p. 189)

Monday, October 5, 2015

Christ is here to strengthen and transform, part 3 of 3

"The impression has too often been made that the
companionship of the Presence is for the aged,
when day declines and eventide is falling fast and
the shadows of death begin to gather. It is scarcely
thought of at all as being for young men and
maidens, who in life's glad morning are looking
with hearts intent for the dawning of a bright,
new day. It is thought of as being for those who
are in the darkness of sorrow, and is scarcely
thought of as being for those who are in the sun-
light of joy; it is thought of as being for the
house of mourning, and is scarcely thought of as
being for the house of mirth; it is thought of as
being with those who are sighing for release from
life's conflict, and is scarcely thought of as being
with those who are in the thick of life's battle.
There is need to strike a healthier note. There
is need to see that the One who changes not is with
those who are taking hold equally with those who
are letting go; with those who are climbing the
hill equally with those who are going down; with
those whose life is at its flow equally with those
whose life is at its ebb; with the toiler equally with
the sufferer. Peter in his sermon at Pentecost saw
this truth when, applying to the risen Christ the
words of David, he said

I beheld the Lord always before my face; 
For he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved 
(Acts 2. 25). 

As he buckled on his armor to fight the battle of
righteousness he saw his Lord present to inspire
and strengthen him. Nothing could move him from
his base or cause him to be faint-hearted with such
a powerful ally at his side. In Christ's presence
no one can live without experiencing a strange
accession of strength of moral purpose. It is as
when in the company of a friend of a strong and
lofty personality every good purpose is strength-
ened. In one of his higher moods Matthew Arnold
gives expression to this thought in his lines entitled
"East London":

'Twas August, and the fierce sun overhead
   Smote on the squalid streets of Bethnal Green,
   And the pale weaver, through his windows seen
In Spitalfields, looked thrice dispirited.

I met a preacher there I knew, and said,
   "Ill and o'erworked, how fare you in this scene?"
   "Bravely," said he, "for I of late have been
Much cheer'd with thoughts of Christ, the living bread." '

This is the Christian secret. Those who feed upon
Christ, the living bread, partake of his vivifying
influence, are endued with his strength, are nerved
to strenuous endeavor, and are inspired with his 
courage and patience. They can do all things 
within the sphere of duty, however difficult, through 
Christ who strengtheneth them. 
Companionship with the Presence has been the 
mightiest force in the noblest lives. Robert Brown- 
ing's biographer tells us that toward the end of 
his life a lady once asked him about his faith, when 
he quoted these lines of his own: 

That one face far from vanish, rather grows 
Or decomposes but to recompose — 
Became my universe that feels and knows. 

And then he added, "That is the face of Christ; 
and that is how I feel about it." When a man 
has seen the face of Christ, and has submitted him- 
self to its spell, that one face fills the vision of his 
soul and becomes his universe. The very sight of 
it unseals the deepest springs of holiness within 
his heart, and by its transforming touch fashions 
his life into the divine image."

- James Mann Campbell (The Presence, pgs. 178-180)

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