Jesus Christ Himself!

(J. C. Ryle, "The Real Presence")

There is a real "spiritual presence" of Christ, wherever His believing people meet together in His name. This is the plain meaning of His famous saying, "Wherever two or three are gathered together in My name—there I am in the midst of them!" (Matthew 18:20). The smallest gathering of true Christians for the purposes of prayer or praise, or holy conference, or reading God's Word—is sanctified by the best of company! The great or rich or noble may not be there—but the King of kings Himself is present—and angels look on with reverence!

The grandest buildings which men have reared for religious uses, are often no better than whitened sepulchers—destitute of any holy influence—because they are given up to superstitious ceremonies, and filled to no purpose with crowds of formal worshipers, who come unfeeling, and go unfeeling away. No worship is of any use to souls—at which Christ is not present! Incense, banners, pictures, flowers, crucifixes, and long processions of richly dressed ecclesiastics—are a poor substitute for the great High Priest Himself!

The poorest room where a few penitent believers assemble in the name of Jesus—is a consecrated and most holy place in the sight of God! Those who worship God in spirit and truth—never draw near to Him in vain. Often they go home from such meetings warmed, cheered, established, strengthened, comforted and refreshed. And what is the secret of their feelings? They have had with them the great Master of assemblies, Jesus Christ Himself!