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)
Saturday, July 30, 2016
The all-inclusive secret, part 3 of 3
"And this is life eternal, that they should know thee the only true God, and him whom thou didst send, even Jesus Christ."—John xvii. 3.
"And it is eternal life that becomes ours when we thus know Him. Because He is Himself so great, He so greatens life for us, when He lives in us—and greatens it not in one direction or on one side only, but in all directions and on all sides—that it can be called by no other name than eternal life. I suppose I need not say that it means something more than an endless, an immortal life. It means life eternal, not simply in the duration, but in the quality of it. Knowing Christ makes us live as God lives, so far as that can be for us. Knowing Christ makes us live as God lives—that is the miracle—sets us into worlds where limitations and sorrows and dyings cease to have any meaning. Know Christ, and the wearinesses and weaknesses by which an unceasing cry is wrung out from the world cannot touch your true life to harm it any more than they can touch God's; for Christ gives you eternal life. Know Christ, and you cannot die any more than God can die; for Christ gives you eternal life. There is nothing partial about the blessing Christ bestows. Eternal life is a thing others dare not speak of; but He gives that because He Himself possesses it, and, in giving that, gives all. One may look on this trial of humanity and another may look on that; one voice may speak a word to make this struggle lighter, and another may possess some secret to strengthen the soul in that conflict— Christ, when we know Him, does not patch and mend life so, but just lifts us away out of all these things into the eternal worlds, so that trial and struggle and conflict are to us no more than they are to Himself, to God. One has the secret that will make life worthier, he thinks; and another speaks the word to make life happier, he thinks: Christ bids us just know Him, and all is done. We want to enlarge our whole conception of what Christ is to us and of what He does for us. He is not simply the soul's Physician who, far better than others, understands the soul's disease and, far more successfully than others, applies the cure: He is the Giver of an eternal life which is for ever out of the reach of any ill. He is not One who comes after a long succession of helpers and inspirers, and who does more completely what they did in part, carries their methods to ends and issues that were beyond their reach: He is the Giver of eternal life, the One who makes man like to God. When we know Christ in the sense of identifying our inmost life with His, so that it is He, not we, that live, then the sins and the disabilities and the death that were so much to us are nothing; for what are these things to Him? The eternal life that is in Him fears no touch of sin, and can be hindered by no disability, and cannot die; and that eternal life is ours. He makes us live His life, which is the eternal life of the eternal God.
That is the gift He gives, though a gift we have perhaps not taken yet as we might have taken it. That is what Christ does for us. He breathes through us, when we really know Him, the eternal life which has God's richness, God's immortality. We, very ordinary men and women, with just commonplace lives to live, as it seems to us, may live God's life if we know Christ. Any life may become "eternal" by "knowing" the eternal One who is near it. What! mine, so cramped, so very narrow, so utterly lacking in anything heroic or great? Yes, if you know Christ.
"The lives which seem so poor, so low,
The hearts which are so cramped and dull,
The baffled hopes, the impulse slow,
Thou takest, touchest all, and lo!
They blossom to the beautiful."
What Christ will do for you and me is no mere alleviation of life's pain, no more strengthening of life's weakness, no mere lightening of the sadness at life's close, but to give a life to which all these things shall be as though they had not been. Eternal life! If we could only rise to some apprehension of it! Eternal life! That is His call to us, His promise to us—a call and promise that open out before us vast, inexhaustible possibilities of life and being, which summon us to be one with God.
And I say again, we have but to know Him. To some it was said long ago, "In the midst of you standeth one whom ye know not." So it may be that there stands the One among us now whom we have not really known, though we may have known much about Him. Yet if we did know Him, really know Him, it would be eternal life. Only the flash of recognition, the utter surrender, the loss of self in Him; and in our new fulness of life it shall be to us as though there were new heavens and a new earth wherein all things speak of eternity and of God, and as though the former things, dimly remembered as a dream that did vex and fret us once—as though the former things had passed away."
- Henry William Clark (Meanings and Methods of the Spiritual Life, pgs. 23-26)