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)

Friday, July 15, 2016

How shall we best regard the ethical teachings of Jesus as an evidence of Christianity?, part 2 of 4

"164. Such was the ethical enterprise of Jesus. Consider now the difficulties in his way. Ideals are not wanting among the reformers of the ages. The peculiar point about the highest of them in the ethical realm is that they remained ideals. Seneca could dream even of the Fatherhood of God. But he never penetrated into the secret of making men God's children. The idealist was not a practical man. The chief difficulties of Jesus may be summed up in two. The first was in man: How to win man to a moral life and leave him free. I speak with reverence: this is, so far as we can see, the great problem of God. This is his burden. Divine power is not equal to this task. For mere power cannot change moral character. Power in some way must become persuasion. Free choice must respond. How did Jesus propose to reach the will? The second difficulty was in the world. How could he establish a spiritual empire which should transform the world ethically without becoming entangled in earthly empires? How shall he isolate his kingdom unto himself and pour redeeming forces into men's lives?
165. The above were in part the difficulties. How did Jesus propose to meet them? Herein appears his wisdom and skill, his unmatched sympathy and insight. The first and foremost of the spiritual means employed by Jesus was a despised virtue among the nations. I refer to repentance. Along with it faith was a primary condition of entrance into the Kingdom. What infinite tenderness and pity are suggested by the first word of the Gospel message, repentance. Professor James asks: "In what did the emancipating message of primitive Christianity consist but in the announcement that God recognizes those weak and tender impulses which paganism had so rudely overlooked? Take repentance: the man who can do nothing rightly can at least repent of his failures."5 The same writer goes on to say that Christianity took this repentance and made it the one power within us which "appealed straight to the heart of God."
    Christ's cause was outcast in the early centuries. So the outcast cause seizes upon the outcast virtue and appeals to social outcasts who could do nothing but repent and believe. On this foundation Christ reared a Kingdom which to-day is becoming worldwide. "Not many wise, not many mighty" were called, though there were some from the beginning. God chose the foolish and base and despised things to confound the mighty. So Paul wrote to the Corinthians. Thus with an outcast cause Jesus approached the world at the best possible point of contact for its moral transformation."

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