EIGHTEENTH LORD'S DAY.
Question 47. Is not Christ then with us, even to the end of the world, as he hath promised?
Answer. Christ is very man and very God; with respect to his human nature, he is no more on earth; but with respect to his Godhead, majesty, grace and Spirit, he is at no time absent from us.
This question anticipates an objection on the part of the Ubiquitarians: Christ promised that he would be with us always, even unto the end of the world. Therefore he did not so ascend into heaven as to be no longer on earth and everywhere by his humanity. Ans. There is here more in the conclusion than legitimately follows from the premises. Christ speaks of his person, to which he attributes that which belongs with propriety to the Godhead, just as he also said that he was in heaven before his ascension. In like manner he said before his passion, when he as yet conversed with his disciples on earth, I and my Father will come unto him, and make our abode with him. (John 14:28.) This he spake of his Divinity by which he was, and is in heaven, and everywhere, and by which he is present with us in the same way in which the Father is. So we might also turn the argument against them by reasoning thus: I go away, said Christ. I leave the world. Me ye have not always. (John 14:28; 16:28. Matt. 26:11.) Therefore he is evidently not with us. But this is attributed in an improper sense to his other nature, his humanity, which remains with us by virtue of that personal union which exists between the two natures of Christ, his divine and human, which union consists in the mysterious and wonderful indissoluble joining together of these two natures in one person, in such a manner that these two natures, thus united, constitute the essence of the person of Christ ; so that one nature would be destroyed if separated from the other ; and yet each retains its own peculiar proper ties, which distinguish it from the other. The explanation which Augustin gives of this subject is this: That, which Christ says, Lo, 1 am with you always, even unto the end of the world, is fulfilled according to his majesty, providence and unspeakable grace. But with respect to the human nature which the Word assumed, according to which he was born of the Virgin Mary, apprehended by the Jews, nailed to the cross, taken down from the cross, wrapped in linen cloth, buried in the sepulchre, and which was seen after his resurrection, with respect to this his humanity, ye shall not always have him with you. And why? Because, when he had conversed with his disciples for the space of forty days, being bodily present with them, and when they had accompanied him, to see, not to follow him, he ascended into heaven, and is no longer here. For he is now in heaven, seated at the right hand of God; and is here as to the presence of his majesty, which has not departed from us. Or, it maybe thus expressed: Christ is always present with us with respect to his majesty; but as it regards the presence of his humanity, it was truly said to his disciples, Me ye have not always with you. The Church enjoyed Christ only a few days as it respects the presence of his humanity; now it apprehends him only by faith, and does not see him with the natural eye. Christ is, therefore, present with us, 1. By his Spirit and Godhead. 2. By our faith, and the confidence with which we behold him. 3. By mutual love; because we love him, and he loves us in such a way as not to forget us. 4. By union with his human nature; for it is the same Spirit which is in us and him, that unites us to him. 5. In the hope of consummation, which is the certain hope of coming to him.
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