That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love,
No great delusion could attain wide influence unless it were the counterfeit or perversion of a valuable truth, and unless it promised to satisfy some deep, natural desire. The doctrine of the real presence is a pathetic witness to the yearning of the soul for personal fellowship with Christ, and to the truth that he does come into the lives of his pestle.
I. CHRIST'S PRESENCE IS REAL. It is not enough that he should be with us only as "the choir invisible" of the departed great are near; i.e. in our memory and in his influence. We are not satisfied with having his spirit among us in the sense in which the spirit of Plato and the spirit of Shakespeare are still with those who read 'Phaedo' and 'Hamlet.' Christ promised to be personally present with his disciples (Matthew 28:20). He ascended up into heaven, not that he might be removed from us, but that, passing from the material to the spiritual world, he might come into the closer contact with our souls.
II. CHRIST'S PRESENCE IS IN OUR HEARTS. He touches us through our thoughts and affections. There lies our true self, and it is to our true self that he comes. He makes his presence felt by the truths he inspires, the love he rouses, and the strength he infuses, just as the sun's presence is felt in the seed when it begins to germinate in its dark tomb beneath the earth. In this way Christ is even more near to us than he was to Zacchaeus when he sat at the publican's table, or to John when the beloved disciple leaned on his Master's bosom.
III. CHRIST'S PRESENCE IS ABIDING. He comes "not to sojourn;" he abides with us. He is with us when, busy in doing his will, we are not thinking of the Lord himself, as the master is among the workmen who for the moment are too diligent to look at him. He is with us in hours of spiritual night when we are not enjoying communion with him, as a friend may be by our side in the dark, near though undiscovered. He is with us in our weariness when we have not strength and heart to pray, as the mother watches her sick child while he lies moaning and quite unconscious of her gentle nursing.
IV. CHRIST'S PRESENCE IS ENJOYED THROUGH FAITH. He is not in every heart; for there are Christless souls. Nor is he fully present with each one of his own people; for it is on behalf of true Christians that St. Paul prays for the strength to receive Christ. He is near to us just in proportion as our faith is vigorous to lay hold of him. We cannot put our fingers in the nail-prints. We must trust the unseen presence. We must not look for any second sense, any mystical intuition; for that is as much walking by sight as if we saw our Lord with our bodily eyes. Faith is pure trust in that of which we have no direct apprehension. By this faith we receive Christ. - W.F.A.
Parallel VersesKJV: That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,