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, June 2, 2016

How, then, is the mission of the Spirit after the Ascension to be distinguished from what it previously was?, part 2 of 3

    "2. Before His Ascension our Lord was not in a position to bestow the gift of “Holy Spirit.” It was only then that He Himself was “perfected.” Until that time He had been confined by the limitations and sinless infirmities of His pre-resurrection state. During His life on earth He had, by a constant exercise of His own will, maintained that condition of humiliation which St. Paul describes as an “emptying of Himself.” He had constantly exerted a self-restraining power. He had not reached that complete development of His own Person which, in the economy of redemption, was the appointed end and issue of all He was to do. He had not become essentially “Spirit” (although it must never be forgotten that the “Spirit” which He became expressed itself in the form of the “spiritual body”), and the Spirit could not proceed in all His fulness from a fountain which presented any obstacle to the outflow of its Waters.
    Upon these two conditions, then, rested, it would seem, the great truth which we are now considering, that “Spirit” (or “Holy Spirit”) was not yet; because Jesus was not yet glorified. Not that “the Holy Spirit” had no existence before that time, an idea which it is unnecessary to controvert. Not that the Holy Spirit had not been previously “given,” for we know that He had been given. But “Spirit” in the peculiar sense in which the New Testament uses the word—that is, the Holy Spirit as the Spirit of the glorified Lord, and in the full exercise and manifestation of His power—had not yet begun to operate upon the minds of men. Then only could He do so when our Lord Himself entered on that stage of His Being to which St. Paul applies the term “quickening or life-giving Spirit,” and when He could bestow the Spirit in fulness from the ever-springing fountain of His own Spirit-life.
    From that moment, accordingly, it is that the whole glory of the New Testament dispensation spreads itself out before our eyes. The dispensation then introduced is emphatically the dispensation of the Spirit, the last of the three great eras into which the history of the Church has been divided, the first being that of the Father, and the second that of the Son.1 In this third and crowning dispensation of God's grace there is not merely a gift of the Spirit added to gifts that had been previously enjoyed, or a larger measure of the Spirit bestowed than the Church had previously received. The promise of the older Covenants has rather been accomplished in a new and more perfect form. Freed from every restraint, and adapted in the most intimate manner to the spirit of man, the “Spirit of Jesus” has been sent forth to secure the illimitable issues of the Divine plan. With the beginning of the new dispensation not merely was the work of the Lord Jesus Christ the Saviour of the world finished, the redemption so dearly purchased completed, and the way opened by which the end of all human thought and longing may be attained in a perfect union between God and man. More was effected. These results are involved in the preliminary truth that the Spirit given to the Church is the Spirit of One who had successfully executed His Mission. The glory of the dispensation under which it is our privilege to live consists still further in the provision made for the application of redemption; so that the work of the glorified Lord may be intertwined with the inmost fibres of our being, and His Kingdom established as an actual reality in our hearts and lives. All holy thoughts, all heavenly aspirations, all works of faith and hope and love; all that was in Him who on earth could say, “I and My Father are One”; all that is in Him now glorified, may be ours. There is no hindrance on the Divine side to the communication of whatever is necessary to the progress and perfection of the world."

-William Milligan (The Ascension and Heavenly Priesthood of Our Lord, pgs. 211-213)

*See link for footnotes.

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