SPIRIT CONSTANT UNVEILING CHRIST
Leaving the subject now in its historic setting, it will be best to consider somewhat more carefully the apprehension of Christ through the Spirit by the individual. The first work of the Spirit of God towards this end is that of the preparation of the spirit of man. That spirit originally created as a medium for the knowledge of God, was polluted, and disorganized by sin, and therefore became useless for, the fulfillment of its original intention. By the impartation of Christ to the spirit of man, the Holy Spirit of God cleanses from pollution. By uniting the spirit of man with Christ He readjusts the instrument, and by lifting man into the place where he looks out upon all things in fellowship with Christ, He focusses the lens, that so the pictures may no longer be distorted, blurred, and inaccurate, but definite, clear, and precise. This PRELIMINARY WORK of the Spirit is most immediate and most gracious. And yet its value is only known in the results which follow.
Man's experience of this work is not in a new self-consciousness, even though it is that of purity and illumination. It is rather an experience of the issue, that namely of a new apprehension of Christ, and consequently a new knowledge of God.
Then follows necessarily the work of the Spirit in PRESENTING THE OBJECT to this restored instrument: THAT OBJECT IS CHRIST. The method of the Spirit here is always governed by the individual necessity of the believer, and by capacity. It may be safely affirmed that the Spirit of God has no stereotyped system of theology to teach men. The great facts concerning Christ are never taught by the Spirit to companies of men, but to individual lives, and the lesson now being learned by any single person, is the one necessary for the growth of that particular individual. To some today He will reveal the Master's sympathy, to others His severity; and so, according to the necessity of each, will He minister the revelation of the living Lord.
It is equally true that He does not measure His teaching by the standards of time, but by the capacity of the disciple, revealing only that which each is able to bear. His method is moreover perpetually characterized by the fact that every individual revelation of Christ to the spirit of the disciple has within it some new claim, DEMANDING IMMEDIATE OBEDIENCE, and the measure of the obedience is the measure of an increased capacity for yet new revelations.
Thus man, indwelt by the Spirit, is the subject of a perpetually growing consciousness of the excellence and completeness of Christ, through a perpetually growing understanding of His simplicities. Thus it is that while the youngest believer may seem to be in possession of all the facts concerning Christ; as the years pass, through the varied disciplines of life, and the operation of an abiding communion, it is seen that the things known were hardly known, that the facts recognized were imperfectly realized; and gradually and yet surely with the passing of the years, through every window, new light is streaming, and new meanings are dawning on the soul. In the earliest years of discipleship there must be recognition of the simplicity of Christ, as the story of His life is read; of His perpetual peacefulness as He passed through scenes that might have been expected to disturb the stoutest heart; of the sweetness of His disposition, in spite of all the occasions which so often end in the embittering of the human heart; of the severity of His Spirit against all forms of wrong and of tyranny; and of His ever active sympathy with all sorts and conditions of men. All these things, however, are only learned as to their fullness of value, and of meaning, as the Spirit reveals them according to the demand of occasion, and the capacity of the learner. Through this great process it is discovered that the simplicity of Christ is due to His sublimity of the consciousness of the straightness of the line of truth; and His serenity is due to the abiding sense of the permanence of righteousness; and His sweetness manifest because of His understanding of the ultimate victory of love; while His severity is the necessary out-flaming anger of that love against all that for the time may seem to violate it; and His sympathy is the natural, spontaneous relation of essential love to all the consciousness of those upon whom such love is set.
Thus the issue of the indwelling Spirit is not merely the unveiling before the spirit of man of the fact of Christ; but also the preparation of the spirit of man, which issues in a true and ever growing apprehension of THE UNVEILED ONE.