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self, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of his body: not from his body, but of his body. And the redemption of the body is prophetically guaranteed in the Resurrection and Ascension of Jesus Christ. The risen body of our Lord was, as we have seen, both natural and supernatural, capable of being seen and touched and also of gliding through closed doors, capable of eating and also of ascending. It was a visible, tangible, material body which ascended : it will be a visible, tangible, material body which will descend. And herein is the as urance that we too in our resurrection estate will have bodies: visible, tangible, material bodies, capable of living a natural life on earth, capable also of ascending and living a supernatural life in heaven. What saith the Scripture? Our citizenship is in heaven: from Phil. iii. 20, 21. whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, Who will change the body of our humiliation, that it may be fashioned like the body of His glory, according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto Himself. Thirdly: the Ascension of Jesus Christ cleared Condition of
the Spirit's the way for the Spirit's Dispensation. A remark
Dispensaable Scripture establishes this point. On the last great day of the Feast, Jesus stood and cried aloud, John vii. 87-89. saying: “If any one thirst, let him come unto Me and drink : he that believeth on Me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” But this spake He of the Spirit which they that believed on Him would receive: for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. And the Lord Him
John xvi 7.
self, the last night He was on earth in His suffering estate, emphatically announced: “I tell you the truth: it is expedient for you
that I go away:
: for if I
not away, the Comforter will not come unto you : but if I go I will send Him unto you." “But how is this possible?” you ask.
“ What can possibly make good Christ's absence? What possible thing can be better than to have Him abidingly with us as our Teacher, our Counselor, our Guide, our Pattern, our Protector, our Miracleworker, our Companion, our Friend ?”
My Saviour, can it ever be
“What possible harm or loss in His staying on earth, that would make His going away an advantage to us ? " Ponder then a little in detail
the expediency of the Lord's Ascension. Gives us a Uni- And, first, the Spirit's advent is better than
versal Sav- Christ's presence because the Spirit gives us a uniiour
a versal Saviour instead of a local. Suppose the bodily Jesus were still on earth: He could be in but one place at one time. What a perpetual Mecca His body would be, involving what costly pilgrimages, what suspensions of industries, what temptations to good works and externalities, what miseries for the poor and the sick and the aged: in short, what an unavailable Christ! For out of earth’s thousand millions the bodily Jesus could be seen and heard and touched by only a few. But the Holy Spirit is universal : His very name is Pneuma, air: and air is everywhere. And wherever the Holy Spirit is, there Jesus is. The Spirit practically reduplicates the Nazarene, bringing Him to every man's door, giving every human being a special Christ, setting over every newborn disciple his own guardian-planet and angel, even the bright morning star. No need is there Rev. xxii. 16. now of going to Bethlehem or Nazareth, Calvary or Olivet, in order to behold Jesus Christ. The once Man of Nazareth is now the Man of Humanity, and all earth the Holy Land. Again: the Spirit's advent is better than A Universal
Church. Christ's presence because the Spirit gives us a universal Church instead of a local. A present bodily Jesus involves a geographical Church. But wherever the Holy Spirit is, and He is everywhere, there Jesus Christ is and there Jesus Christ's Church is. The Church of the living God is as universal as the Spirit of Jesus Christ His Son. His temple is neither on Moriah nor on Gerizim, John iv. 20-24. neither in Rome nor in Philadelphia; it is everywhere: and this just because He is Spirit, diffusive as air. Therefore the Spirit knows no topographical or national Church: He knows neither Jew nor Gentile--only the “Parliament of Man." In 1 Cor. xii. 13. one Spirit we were all baptized into one Body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether bond or free: and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. The Holy Spirit gives us one and the same Church, even the Holy Catholic Church throughout all lands and times and names. Again : the Spirit's advent is better than Christ's A Spiritual
Saviour. presence because the Spirit gives us a spiritual Saviour. How common the saying: “We are creatures of time and sense”! The tangibles con
Our estimates are mainly material, tactual, sensuous. The Roman Catholic Church thoroughly understands this: witness her spectacular ritual: the Pope himself-what is he to the Romanist but Christ's visible Vicar? The sensible is our practical horizon. Suppose then that Christ's risen body were still on earth, and we could behold and touch it, even as it was vouchsafed to Thomas. What would be the result? He would remain to us mainly human. We would know Him chiefly after the flesh. We would loiter and abide in His sweet and beautiful humanities, worshiping in the outer court instead of in the Holy of Holies. With Apostles before His departure we would be asking for throne and diadem. No: the form must vanish before the spirit can be truly seen. Even of saintly kindred and friends it must be acknowledged that we do not truly know them till death strips off the concealing veil of earthly flesh and surroundings, and we behold them in their interior, intrinsic character, their spirit-glory. How much more true of the spiritual, infinite Christ! For physical sight, assuming that it could behold the Infinite, would dwarf that Infinite into the finite. The far-reaching, wide-spreading eye of the spirit fills up the outlines of the infinite Christ more truly than any mere bodily eye ever can. The veil of Christ's flesh then must be rent before the indwelling radiant Godhead can flash forth. In other words : the vast, the largely beautiful, the sublime, can not be seen to advantage near at hand : it needs the relief and outlinings and tintings of distance, even as the Laureate sings of Time:
John xx. 27.
2 Cor. v. 16.
Leb. x. 20.
The past will always win
And orb into the perfect star
It is only when we gaze on the land that is very Isaiah xxxiii. 17. far off that we can see the King in His beauty. Had Jesus Christ not departed, were He still in bodily presence on earth, even though that body were His risen body, He might say also to us whenever we, Mary-like, knelt to kiss His feet: “Touch John xx. 17. Me not, for I have not yet ascended.” We can never truly touch the Risen Lord till we touch Him spiritually. Expedient then was it that the bodily Jesus should depart and the Spirit come: for so we do now behold the Risen Lord in His true Spirit-Glory. And this is the Holy Spirit's blessed work: He renews the Transfiguration Scene, making it world-wide and immortal, transfiguring Jesus on every mountain-top wherever kneels a spiritual worshiper. Yes, there are two Christs : the Christ according to the flesh, and the 2 Cor v. 17. Christ according to the Spirit. While Christ's body is with us we know Him only or mainly according to the flesh. But when He departs and the Spirit comes, we know Him no longer after the flesh: henceforth we know Him after the Spirit. He becomes perpetually transfigured before us: and we behold His glory, a glory as of John i. 14. the Only-begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. When He ascended and the cloud received Him from out of human sight, we lost Him as Man, or rather we gained Him as GodMan. Even Mary Magdalene may now touch Him.