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, June 6, 2016

On whom is the new covenant gift of the Spirit bestowed?, part 3 of 3

    "Before closing what has to be said upon this subject, one or two general remarks may be made. It is unquestionable that the Church has not been sufficiently alive to its importance. There are symptoms of improvement in this respect, but much remains to be done before we can hope to reach consistent and clear views upon the Person and Work of the Spirit under the New Testament dispensation. It may be difficult to explain why it should be so. But in all probability the chief explanation is our failure to recognise with sufficient distinctness that that “Spirit,” or “Holy Spirit,” to which the Church's vitality must be always due is the Spirit of Christ, the ever-living human as well as Divine Lord, and that He has been too exclusively thought of as the Third Person of the Trinity in His metaphysical existence. We know that to the Lord Jesus Christ the redemption of man is owing, and that He is as much the Finisher as the Author of our faith. When, accordingly, we hear of another work not less essential, but which seems to be carried out less by Him than by an independent Person, our minds become confused, and we are tempted to dismiss the subject. On the other hand, let us feel that the Spirit given by the exalted Redeemer is His own Spirit, the Spirit by whom He forms Himself within us, and the different parts of the plan of our salvation will blend into one.
    Nor can it well be doubted that the thought of a human element in the Spirit by whom the glorified Redeemer works would lend to the Church fresh power. Men are crying for the human to heal them, and who that is human can refuse his sympathy? There is need for the Divine. We have yet to see that more fully. In the meantime let the necessity for the human occupy a moment's thought. The Incarnation has for ever sanctified and confirmed that necessity. The human is in a certain sense Divine, and to suppose that the heart of man will ever be really touched by what does not possess in it a human element is to forget alike the philosophy of our nature and the lessons of religious and civil history. There can be no more profound mistake in religion, and there has been none more fatal, than to hope to elevate the Divine by sacrificing the human. The human to be used must, indeed, be an ever-living human, not the human of an earlier age forced upon a later, but the ever-living or, in other words, the Divine human, always true to man at the moment when we appeal to him, and thus to the most distant age as new as was He who at the beginning of the Christian era gave an old world new life. But, when it is so, then in this lies the greatest element of the Church's power. No fresh schemes of benevolent exertion, added to thousands that have gone before and perished, will meet our wants. Not the world only, but the Church, is weary with the multitude of interests by which she is stimulated.1 Simply to increase the number of these completes the weariness, and makes men long for rest from disappointment and perplexity in the grave. We need a more inspiring  view than we commonly possess of the influence of Christian truth, a more powerful impression of the strength which Christ supplies for Christian life, a brighter and more hopeful colour to be spread over every department of Christian labour. We need to recover the buoyancy, the generosity, the passion of youth; and we can only obtain these by becoming young again in the ever-fresh aspirations of a humanity which, from season to season, fills its branches with a new spirit of life, and clothes them with new leaves and flowers. What, in short, the Church needs is not to extinguish humanity under the pressure of a too limited conception of the Divine, but to bring the two into the closest possible connexion. All her great doctrines must be associated with what is human if they are to tell on human things. This has been abundantly done with the doctrine of the Person and Work of our Lord, not sufficiently with the doctrine of the Person and Work of the Spirit. Only when it is done; when we feel that the Spirit dwelling in us comes from One as human as He is Divine, shall we have not simply “life,” but “life abundantly.”1 Only then, in communion with Him who amidst all change is unchangeable, and amidst all decay everlasting, shall we have within us a spring of eternal youth, shall we run and not be weary, walk and not faint.2"

- William Milligan (The Ascension and Heavenly Priesthood of Our Lord, pgs. 223-226)

*See link for footnotes.

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