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)

Thursday, May 26, 2016

The chief blessing bestowed by our Lord Jesus Christ as High-priest of His people is the gift of the Spirit, part 11 of 11

    "The dogma of the Western Church on the Procession of the Holy Spirit has in the course of this discussion been mentioned and explained. What has now been said ought to illustrate its importance, and the necessity of maintaining it with the utmost watchfulness. It is no mere question of metaphysical or theological refinement that is involved in it. It connects itself with practical consequences of the utmost moment.3 The Eastern Church has suffered greatly from its rejection. More particularly we may trace to that cause much at least of the immobility that has marked her through so many centuries. Great as in various respects her services to Christianity have been, she has fallen far behind her Western sister in activity of Christian speculation and life. Because in her view the Spirit has proceeded from God alone, without thought of the Son, human as well as Divine, along with Him, the fountain of human life in our Lord has been choked, and the Greek Church has become a stagnant pool instead of that abounding river which in the Latin Church has fertilised the West. The noblest hymns, too, celebrating the glory of the Spirit, such as the Veni, Creator Spiritus and the Veni, Sancte Spiritus, have been Latin hymns. The Greek Church has nothing to compare with them. Nor is it any reply to all this to urge that the Christian Church flourished for centuries without the dogma. To reject a doctrine once formulated is attended with far more serious consequences than to live without the clear perception of the doctrine before it has been formally defined. It was one thing for the early Church to live without the expression of this truth. It was quite another thing for the Eastern Church to set it deliberately aside. In the one case it might be implicitly understood, and, though not uttered, might be a valuable undercurrent of the Church's life. In the other case it cannot be lived by, because the flow of its waters has been stopped.1
    It is impossible to pursue this investigation further, and enough has been said to supply an answer to the question, What is the special nature of the gift of the Spirit under the Christian dispensation ? We have seen that the Spirit is not simply one of many gifts bestowed upon us by the glorified Redeemer, but that, as the expression and agent of Him who is at once the substance of our faith, the principle of our life, and our hope of glory, He is the sum of all gifts and influences needed to perfect the Divine-human life of Christ in the soul of man. We have seen also that He is not so much the Third Person of the Trinity in His original and absolute existence, as that Spirit in the effect produced upon Him by the economy of salvation; that Spirit as He is the Bond, not between God and the Eternal Word alone, but between the Father and the Incarnate Son; or that Spirit as He is the Spirit of the Christ from whom in His combined natures proceed all the blessings of the covenant of grace. Finally, we have seen that when this Spirit, as the Spirit of the Living Lord, penetrating and filling all the properties of that human nature which the Living Lord possesses, is received by us, He must be so received as to penetrate and pervade our whole nature. He is not a mighty influence working upon us from without; He works upon us from within. He cannot be used at one moment and laid aside at another. As we cannot put away our natural life and live, so our spiritual life is more than weakened, it is extinguished, if the Spirit be dispensed with. He is the nourishment proceeding from the root of our higher being. He is the water of its central fountain, sending forth continually fresh streams into every department of what we are, unto eternal life.1 He is, in short, Christ's own Spirit become our own spirit. When He dwells in us we are “ourselves.” "

- William Milligan (The Ascension and Heavenly Priesthood of Our Lord, pgs. 191-194)

*See link for footnotes.

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