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A Spiritual

Character.

Once more: the Spirit's advent' is better than Christ's presence because the Spirit gives to us ourselves a spiritual character. He not only spiritualizes Jesus to us; He also spiritualizes ourselves. For other powers Man has besides the intellectual, other sensibilities besides the æsthetic, other affections besides the natural or purely psychical. He has within him a spiritual nature, capable of giant powers and giant experiences. But before this spiritual nature can duly exert its giant powers or duly enter on its giant experiences, it must be touched by something which in its turn is spiritual. No barrier of flesh or sense must be permitted to come between what is spiritual within us and the Holy One of God. Were Jesus still on earth, even though He were the Risen Lord, He would reach in the main only the lower range of our capacities. We would still love Him; but we would love Him in our earthly range, or, to use the words of Augustine," as a man loves man, as the carnal loves the carnal, not as the spiritual loves true Majesty.” But when the bodily Jesus departs and the spiritual Jesus comes, the new Jesus touches the spiritual within us, and keys it to a nobler strain. See, e. g., how His departure and the consequent advent of His Spirit spiritualized His Apostles.

How soon their notions of a Jewish Messiah and a worldly kingdom vanished.

How weakness grew into strength, ignorance into knowledge, childhood into manhood. How sublime the contrast between the Apostles of the Gospels and the Apostles of the Acts; between the Peter of Caiaphas's palace and the Peter of Solomon's porch; between the John who would call down fire from Heaven and the John who wrote that God is Love. Thus does the Spirit exalt us. He takes from us our carnal weapons wherein we trusted, and arms us with His own spiritual panoply. He opens us to the accesses of Divinity. Touching Isaiah vi. 6. us with coals from off the heavenly altar, He ignites our powers and experiences until they glow with the seraphic flame. He exalts and centers and imparadises our affections, quickening within us the Spirit graces, even the Faith which sees 1 Cor. xiii. 13. Him Who is invisible, the Hope which expects Him Who is to return, the Love which communes with Him Who Himself is Love. Thus does He not only transfigure Jesus before us, He also transfigures us before Jesus. Verily it was expedient for us that the bodily Jesus should ascend and the Holy Spirit come: for now we have a Spiritual Lord and a Spiritual Church and a Spiritual Character. Be it for us, then, to live in an ascended estate. The Christian

Life a CeaseFor the life of every human being in the proportion that it is a Christian life is a perpetual E.ccelsior. In fact, he who has Christ within him has already begun his own ascension. If, then, Col. iii. 1-4. we have been raised up with Christ, let us seek the things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God: for we died, and our life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ our life shall be manifested, then shall we also be manifested with Him in glory. Grant, we beseech Thee, Almighty God, that Collect for As

cension Day. like as we do believe Thy Only-begotten Son our

less Ascension.

Lord Jesus Christ to have ascended into the Heavens, so we may also in heart and mind thither ascend, and with Him continually dwell, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen.

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To whom also He shewed Himself alive after His passion, by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.

ACTS OF THE APOSTLES i. 3.

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