June 14, 1894
BEFORE the Lord Jesus Christ went away from the world, he said to his disciples, “I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.”
AMS he was about to ascend to heaven from the Mount of Olives, he said again to his disciples, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature… and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.”
THE presence of Christ with his people is thus an assured fact. Nor is it only with them in an outward and separate sense, but with them in the inward and essential sense of oneness with them. He is with them by being in them. And so it is written, “I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” 2 Corinthians 6:16.
BUT his name is Immanuel, which is “God with us.” “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself.” Therefore the presence of Christ with his people is the presence of God also. It is the presence of both the Father and the Son, for they “are one.” And so he has said, “If a man love me, he will keep my words; and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.” John 14:23.
AN abode is a dwelling-place. We will come unto him, and make him our dwelling-place. “For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit.” Isaiah 57:15. “My presence shall go with thee.” Exodus 33:14. And as God is real, and Christ is real, so their presence is real. Their presence with the believer in Jesus is a real presence. This is the true real presence.
How, then, is this real presence manifested? Here is the answer to that question: “Strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts,” “that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.” Ephesians 3:16, 17, 19. “For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.” Colossians 2:9. Thus it is by the Holy Spirit that Christ dwells with his people. It is by the presence of the Holy Spirit in the heart of the believer that the real presence of Christ is manifested to those and in those that are his. For “if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” Romans 8:9.
THIS is more fully stated in the Saviour’s last talk with his disciples (John 14:16-23), before his death. He says, “I will not leave you comfortless; I will come to you.” As he will not leave his children comfortless, he gives them the Comforter. He gives them the Comforter, because he will come to them. Consequently, it is by “the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost,” that Christ dwells with his people, and that his real presence is manifested to them and in them. So he says: “I will pray the Father and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever; even the Spirit of truth; whom the world can not receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him; but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you…. At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me and I in you.” In the day that the child of God receives the Holy Spirit, he knows that Christ dwells in him; he knows the real presence of Christ with him and in him.
This Spirit of truth, the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, which brings the presence of Christ, the world can not receive, “because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him.” And the world sees him not because it does not believe. Instead of believing, that it may see, the world wants to see, that it may believe. And so, because the world sees not the Spirit of God, and therefore can not receive him and can not know him. But to those who do believe, and therefore do receive him, Jesus says, “Ye know him for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.” The promise of the Spirit is received “through faith,” and then we know him. So that it is literally true that by faith we know God and the things of God.
FAITH is not speculation. It is not a guessing at things. It is not a taking for granted that of which there is not, and cannot be, any certainty. Faith is the means of attaining to knowledge which cannot be reached in any other way. And it is absolute knowledge too. Instead of faith being the taking at a venture things of which there is no certainty, it is that which introduces us to the very certainties of the universe itself. If the world could see God or the things of God with worldly eyes, and could know God or the things of God by worldly knowledge, this would reduce God and all the things of God to the level of this world and the things of this world. And this would be only to confirm, by the sanction of God, this world forever in its own ways as they are. But God wants to lift the world up to himself and his ways, instead of having the world bring him down to its own level to confirm its own wickedness. And in order that the world may be brought to God and his ways, it must see with other than worldly eyes and know with other than worldly knowledge. It must see with the eyes of God and know with the knowledge of God. And that it may do this, God has made to all the world the gift of faith. By faith we see that which without it cannot be seen, and by faith we know that which without it cannot be known. By faith we see him who is invisible (Hebrews 11:27), and the things that are eternal (2 Corinthians 4:18). By faith we know him who is the Author and Fountain of knowledge, and that which passeth knowledge. Ephesians 3:19. So, while the world cannot receive the Spirit of God because it seeth him not neither knoweth him, they who are of faith can receive him. And having received him they see him, though he be invisible, and know him. To these he says, “Ye know him; for he dwelleth with you and shall be in you.” And, “Ye see me.” And, “I will manifest myself to him.”
SUCH is the true doctrine of the real  presence of Christ with those who are his, and of his manifestation to them and in them. In one word this is the gospel. Without it there is no gospel of Christ. The Lord’s own definition of the gospel is that it is Christ in believers, the hope of glory. And here it is: “Be not moved away from the hope of the Gospel which ye have heard…. Whereof I am made a minister … to fulfill the word of God; even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints; to whom God would make know what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles which is Christ in you, the hope of glory whom we preach.” Colossians 1:23-28. Christ in men the hope of glory; God manifest in the flesh; this and this alone, is the gospel of Christ. And therefore Paul tells us that “It pleased God to reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen.” Galatians 1:15, 16. Not revealed to him only, but revealed in him, and revealed to him by being revealed in him. He was to preach Christ in men, the hope of glory; but he could not possibly do this unless he knew Christ in himself, the hope of glory. It was not enough to preach about this—he must preach this in very fact. It was not the thing to do to preach about him, but to preach him.
So along with the twelve: they knew of him, and he had been revealed to them in an outward way; but this was not enough. He commanded them to tarry in Jerusalem till they were endued with power from on high, and said, “Ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost parts of the earth.” He also said to them: “It is expedient for you that I go away. For if I go not away the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart I will send him unto you.” He had been with them now three years or more, and yet there were some of them who were not converted, and none of them really knew him for what he was. And even while he was speaking these things they did not understand him.
It was expedient for them and for us that he should go away that the Comforter might come. For one moment of the presence and the power of the Holy Spirit in the heart and upon the mind would give more of the knowledge of Christ than would ten thousand years of outward observation. They were to preach him in men the hope of glory, and to do this they must know him in themselves—not outside of themselves and with the natural observation only. And when he had gone back to heaven and on Pentecost had shed forth the abundance of his Spirit, converting the heart and enlightening the mind, though he was so far away from them in his bodily form, yet his real presence was actually nearer, and they knew infinitely more of him and his teachings from the first day that they ever saw him than they did in all the time that they were with him as he was on the earth. Then they could preach him. Then they could preach him as he is. Then and not till then were they prepared to preach the living gospel which is the living “Christ in you the hope of glory.”
THUS “God who commanded the light to shine out of darkness hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. And this treasure we have in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us…. Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.” 2 Corinthians 4:6, 7, 10. “For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:19, 20.
SUCH is the Scripture doctrine, the true doctrine, of the real presence of Christ with his people and in his people. It is the presence of Christ himself in the believer by the creative power and overshadowing of the Spirit of God. This is the mystery of God. Colossians 1:26, 27.
We ask the reader to study it carefully, and preserve this paper till our next issue, when we shall examine the papal doctrine of the “real presence.