Christ really is with us now, whatever be the mode of it.

This He says expressly Himself; “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.”

He even says, “Where two or three are gathered together in My Name, there am I in the midst of them.”

And in a passage already quoted more than once, “I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.”

Christ’s presence, then, is promised to us still, though He is on the right hand of the Father.

You will say, “Yes; He is present as God.” Nay, I answer; more than this, He is the Christ, and the Christ is promised, and Christ is man as well as God.

This surely is plain even from the words of the text. He said He was going away. Did He go away as God or as man?

“A little while, and ye shall not see Me;” this was on His death.

He went away as man, He died as man; if, then, He promises to come again, surely He must mean that He would return as man, in the only sense, that is, in which He could return.

As God He is ever present, never was otherwise than present, never went away;

when His body died on the Cross and was buried, when His soul departed to the place of spirits, still He was with His disciples in His Divine ubiquity.

The separation of soul and body could not touch His impassible everlasting Godhead.

When then He says He should go away, and come again and abide for ever, He is speaking, not merely of His omnipresent Divine nature, but of His human nature.

As being Christ, He says that He, the Incarnate Mediator, shall be with His Church for ever.

But again: you may be led to explain His declaration thus; “He has come again, but in His Spirit; that is, His Spirit has come instead of Him; and when it is said that He is with us, this only means that His Spirit is with us.”

No one, doubtless, can deny this most gracious and consolatory truth, that the Holy Ghost is come;

but why has He come? to supply Christ’s absence, or to accomplish His presence?

Surely to make Him present.

Let us not for a moment suppose that God the Holy Ghost comes in such sense that God the Son remains away.

No; He has not so come that Christ does not come, but rather He comes that Christ may come in His coming.

Through the Holy Ghost we have communion with Father and Son.

John Henry Cardinal Newman (1801-1890): Parochial and Plain Sermons, vol. 6, Sermon 10. The Spiritual Presence of Christ in the Church.

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