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)

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Jesus of Nazareth is the speaker, but the voice is charged with the echoes of eternity

'These are written that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.' - John xx. 31.

"Through the other Gospels the Saviour moves in the mournful majesty
of His humiliation; here, though there is much of humilia-
tion, there is more of power: they love to enlarge on His bles-
sed relations to earth; this Apostle, to proclaim His mightier
relations to heaven. As we read St. Matthew or St. Luke,
we might at times forget that in the humble Teacher of
Galilee we listen to the awful sharer of the divine eternity:
with St. John the manhood seems almost lost in the fulness
of the God. While the Christ of his pages "speaks as never
man spake," we feel as if the words alone were human that
clothe these divine thoughts, as if the veil of our adopted
nature were all too feeble to hide the Deity that kindles into
glory behind it. Jesus of Nazareth is the speaker, but the
voice is charged with the echoes of eternity. The ear may
catch the accents of a man, but the awed and fearful heart is
listening to "the Word of God," who is "with God " and
"is God;" to " the only-begotten Son which is in the bosom
of the Father;" to "the Alpha and Omega, the beginning
and the ending, which is, and which was, and which is to
come, the Almighty!"
    In this remarkable arrangement, which has made the last
of the Evangelists the most explicit unfolder of the whole
mystery of Christ's essential Godhead, we seem to see one of
the instances of that law of progressive revelation which so
strikingly marks the entire construction of the Bible. It was,
perhaps, expedient that the Church at large should be trained
by simple faith and the practice of His pure and beautiful
morality into fitness for the more transcendent truths which
His higher discourses involved. She was first to be taught
habits of dependence, humility, sincerity, and love; all pre-
supposing, of course, a general knowledge of the facts of
Christ's divine nature and earthly career, but resting, as yet,
for their ordinary motive and habitual meditation, less upon
the former than the latter division of this great mystery; and
when thus practically versed in the life of faith, she was to
rise into the more awful region of spiritual truth, to learn a
profounder lesson in the story of that Being with whom we are
so wondrously connected; to be taught the nature and depth
of the communion we are entitled to hold through Him with
the very Source of life, to see at length the foundations of the
Christian temple as they lie deep in the very nature of God,
and to find every ordinary rule and maxim of the faith
assume a yet sublimer character when viewed as all springing
from the tremendous truth, that He with whom we are one is
yet more deeply one with God. And even though this master-
truth had been taught as frequently as it is taught really and
unequivocally by St. Paul, we can easily conceive what new
illumination must have brightened round it, when, in addition
to the affirmations of His disciples, the discourses of the
Divine Personage Himself were given to the Church; when
His own claims were heard transcribed from His own lips,
and introduced by the declaration,—the clear, simple, and un-
deniable message of the Holy Ghost,—that the Word made
flesh was no other than the very and eternal God.
    But in thus revealing, in all its fulness, the twofold nature
of Christ,—in displaying Him (in the words of the text) as
at once Jesus in His manhood, the Son of God in His deity,
and Christ in His office which is the result of both,—other
and wider truths are necessarily involved. The nature of
Christ is a point from which a far-stretching view opens into
the whole nature of God. This divine Son comes from
heaven to reveal the will of a divine Father; and He comes
empowered and qualified by a divine Spirit. And thus
St. John, in being the preacher of the deity of the Son,
becomes inclusively the preacher of the deity of the Father
and the Holy Ghost. It will now be my object to exhibit to
you the manner in which this great doctrine of the threefold
God, with its practical relation to ourselves, forms the sub-
stance of the writings of St. John; how they seem all framed
in it as in a mould; how they perpetually suppose it, not alone
directly (which to some minds would, perhaps, be less impres-
sive), but silently, in their inmost structure, and in a way
which could not be interpolated unless his whole writings be
an interpolation; and thus to manifest the profound truth of
the text, that "these things were" indeed "written that ye
might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God;" the
Son of God, and thence Himself divine; the Christ, and
thence the anointed of a divine Spirit."

- William Archer Butler (Sermons, Doctrinal and Practical, Sermon VI., pgs. 85-88)

*Re-post from 06/19/15

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