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, July 21, 2016

James Mann Campbell on the treasure of heavenly truth being conveyed in earthen vessels

  "The quality of fluidity which has been ascribed to language belongs to it in it's living form.  There are words which have become fossilised and dead.  In them the thought of the past is embalmed, but they do not represent the actual thought of the present.  To use Coleridge's phrase - they do not find us.  To this class belong many of the words in which the Atonement of Christ is set forth. At the heart of them there is a core of spiritual truth; but they have become obsolete, except among theologians; and they require to become translated into their modern equivalents to become intelligible to the average modern mind.  They were suited to the condition of the people to whom they were originally written, and had a significance to them which they do not possess to us.  They have lost their hold upon us because they no longer speak to experience. The mistake has been in regarding them as the measure of truth.  They were never designed to be accepted as final forms.  They were as much accommodations to existing limitations as the symbolism of Mosaism was to it's own age.  Moreover, they were employed, as Dr. Farrar remarks, "to describe the Atonement in it's effects as regards ourselves; not in it's essence, which surpasses our powers of understanding."
   Even Christ had to accommodate Himself to local conditions, and human limitations.  He spoke for all ages, but His words were not final dogmatic statements; they were rather the seed-germs from which future harvests were to be developed.  The literal meaning of His words is seldom the true one.  There is in them a deeper and wider spiritual significance than that which lies on the surface.  Apart from their special and primary reference they have a universal quality which makes them a message for to-day, and for every day. Their value lies not in their form, but in their spirit.  "The words that I have spoken to you," He says, "are spirit and are life" (John vi. 63).  His words are more than words; they are more than sounds that strike the ear, or signs that strike the eye; they are living things which enter into the heart.  No teacher could be more indifferent regarding the preservation of the exact form of his words.  He did not even take the pains to have them written down by an amanuensis.  All that we have is merely a translation of a translation of His words. They have come to us coloured by the individuality of the men who reported them.  The treasure of heavenly truth is conveyed in earthen vessels.  But it is no less precious on that account."

- James Mann Campbell ("The Heart of the Gospel: A Popular Exposition of the Doctrine of the Atonement" pgs. 17-18)

You can read the whole book online for free here.  You can purchase a printed copy here.

*Re-post from 06/08/14

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