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)

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

In these garments of woe the humanity of God was voluntarily shrouded

   "For I suppose it may be said with truth, that if any man
were to be asked, what it is that characterises Christianity as
a practical system distinguishably from all that preceded it,
or from all that have followed without imitating it, he might
state it correctly enough in two words, love and sorrow: the
blessedness of mutual affection, and the blessedness of suffer-
ing. Of course I do not forget that occasional notices, nay,
elaborate treatises, upon subjects akin to these, are to be found
among heathen writers. I speak of the prominence given
them, the peculiar and quite inimitable way in which they are
described and enforced, the importance assigned to them in the
formation of character, the proportion they bear to the rest of
the system, so great that I believe nearly two-thirds of the
New Testament, and those parts of the Old which predict and
reflect the evangelical spirit, will be found directly or indi-
rectly concerned with them both, whether considered sepa-
rately, or intertwined in the exhortation to loving sympathy
with the affliction of others. In Christ Himself, who is His
own religion alive and in action, they seem, like rainbow
colours, evermore blended and lost in each other; He is the
immortal image of both; love and pain are the footprints by
which we trace Him from page to page. And who shall say
which was foremost on Calvary? Love drew the godhead of
Christ from its throne; sorrow—sanctifying sorrow—lifted
the manhood into meetness to share it!
    Must we not, then, think that there is something in this
sorrow, thus cordially and perpetually chosen by our Master,
that is eminently adapted to elevate and purify our being?
Is it not probable that, not indeed all sorrow, but sorrow
borne with resignation, may have some more direct effect than
the one we have already noticed, upon the entire frame and
temper of the human heart? Must there not be something
divinely excellent in that which was deliberately chosen by a
divine nature as its peculiar tabernacle, out of all the world
afforded,—the sad but awful "cloud above the mercy-seat"
in which, while among us, His glory was to dwell?
    This special excellence is not hard to discover.
HUMBLENESS OF SPIRIT, the most pervading and universal of all
graces, is in the Christian code the very essence of perfection;
and sorrow borne with resignation has a direct tendency to
produce it. Grief, if it can be looked upon as inflicted by the
hand of God, forms a perpetual memorial of subjection, a
daily, hourly remembrancer of dependency. Nor, though it
may fail, and too often does fail to produce this effect, is it
easy to conceive what could supply its place. Now because
our Redeemer knew, what it is so hard to persuade even his
avowed followers, that in this direction lies the true perfection
of man,—that a gentle, unmurmuring submissiveness is his
truest, brightest heroism,—therefore did He, in His own per-
son, adopt the way that leads to it. He voluntarily mourned,
because mourning humiliates, and He would be humble; He
daily suffered, because suffering subdues the pride of human
hearts, and He would teach us to accomplish that conquest.
It was the humiliation of a God to take our nature at all; it
was the humiliation of a man to crucify that nature daily.
He knew, what sages had failed to see, that it was loftiest
when lowest; that as it sank in humbleness it rose in glory.
And thus the model of all He taught, Himself "the first-born
from the dead," He soared to heaven with a spirit lowly as
the grave he left; thus beats there, at the right hand of the
Majesty on high, a human heart,—the heart of an enthroned
king,—more softly subdued to mercy, more meekly patient,
than ever sorrowed among the loneliest solitudes of earthly
affliction! And thus the daily cross could discipline the will,
the daily cross could humble the spirit: these things are the
real perfection of man, and therefore in these garments of woe
the humanity of God was voluntarily shrouded. Such consi-
derations appear to offer some solution of the fact, they help
us to gain some conception of its grounds; and yet, when
once more from the reason I turn to the reality, from the sup-
posed causes to the recorded effect,—I own it,—I feel so
astonished, so overwhelmed, that it seems as if we had made
no progress at all, as if we were far as ever from understand-
ing it, as if it was impiety to dream we could measure our
poor faculties with its unfathomable depth!"

- William Archer Butler (Sermons, Doctrinal and Practical, Sermon 3, pgs. 44-47)

*Re-post from 06/18/15

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