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that by these last this writer does not intend persons, though he ascribes to them the guidance of us, or other actions. In the Jewish language, and among the Jewish people, spirit would no more signify a person, than grace or mercy. Nor were they more likely to ascribe distinct personality to the spirit, than we to the grace, or mercy, or providence of God.
2. There is not in the Acts of the apostles, or in any other book of the New Testament, any account of the appearance and manifestation of a great agent, or person, after our Saviour's ascension: therefore no such thing was promised or intended by our Saviour, nor expected by the apostles, who could not but know his meaning.
3. In other texts of scripture, and particularly in St. John's gospel, by the Spirit, or the Holy Ghost, is meant a gift, or a plentiful effusion of spiritual gifts. I intend John iii. 34. vii. 39. xx. 22, which were alleged not long ago.
4. Our Saviour himself has explained what he meant by "the Comforter."
So it is in one of those texts, upon which this objection is founded. John xiv. 26. "But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost," or, more literally, the Comforter, the Holy Ghost. Ο δε παράκλητος, το πνεύμα το άγιον. But by the Holy Ghost, in other places of this gospel, as well as in many other texts of the New Testament, is not meant, as we have plainly seen, a powerful agent, but the Divine Influence, or the effusion of spiritual gifts. This therefore is what our Lord intended by the Comforter. And this sense is confirmed by the book of the Acts, wherein is recorded the fulfilment of our Saviour's promise.
5. Our blessed Lord, in speaking of this matter, has made use of a variety of expressions: by attending to which we may clearly discern his true meaning in what he says of the Comforter.
Matt. xxviii. 20. "And lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” In John xiv. 16. lately quoted, he says: "I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever." One and the same thing is intended. in both places.
In the texts of St. John's gospel, upon which this objection is built, our Saviour speaks of the teachings of the spirit, whereby the disciples would be enlightened, and led into a clear discernment of his scheme of religion. But in John xvi. 25, are these expressions. "These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs. The time cometh, when I shall no more speak to you in proverbs, [or parables:] but I shall show you plainly of the Father." Here our Lord speaks of those teachings as his own.
In Matt. x. 20, it is said: "For it is not ye that speak, but the spirit of your Father which speaketh in you." To the like purpose in Mark xiii. 11. and Luke xii. 12. But in Luke xxi. 15, our Lord expresseth himself in this manner. "For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay, nor resist."
Mark xvi. 19, 20. "So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them," or the Lord co-operating, 78 xug8 GUVEрy8vros, and confirming the word with signs following. Here the miracles of the apostles, after his ascension, are ascribed to our Lord himself, or his powerful presence and influence.
Acts ix. 17, 18. "And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house: and putting his hands upon him, said: "Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared to thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. And immediately there fell from his eyes, as it had been scales. And he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized."
Acts ix. 32-34. "And it came to pass, as Peter passed throughout all quarters, he came down also to the saints, which dwelt at Lydda. And there he found a certain man named Eneas, which had kept his bed eight years, and was sick of the palsy. And Peter said unto him: Eneas, Jesus Christ maketh thee whole. Arise, and make thy bed. And he arose immediately."
I might refer also to Acts iii. 6. iv. 10-12. But I forbear.
However, I shall add a few other texts from the epistles, which 1 think are to the present purpose, and may deserve to be considered.
Rom. xii. 3. "For I say, through the grace given to me, to every man that is among you to think soberly, according as God has dealt to every man the measure of faith."
Ver. 6. " Having then gifts, differing according to the grace that is given to us."
Eph. iii. 6, 7. "That the Gentiles should be fellow heirs and partakers of his promise in
Christ by the gospel: whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me, by the effectual working of his power.'
Eph. iv. 7. "But unto every one of us is given grace, according to the measure of the gift of Christ"--Ver. 11, 12, " And he gave some apostles, and some prophets, and some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the perfecting the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ."
1 Pet. iv. 10, 11. "As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God: if any man minister, let him do it, as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To whom be praise and dominion, for ever and ever. Amen."
And 1 Cor. xii. 6. St. Paul says: "There are diversities of operations: but it is the same God which worketh all in all." And at ver. 28. "God hath sent some in the church, first tles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles--."
All which seems to show, that by the spirit is to be understood that special influence, which, in different measures and proportions, God vouchsafes to men through Jesus Christ, for their own comfort and establishment, and for spreading the great truths of religion in the world.
Luke xxiv. 49. And behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you. But tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high."
This power, this divine influence, this effusion of knowledge, and other spiritual gifts, our Lord calls "the Comforter," or the Advocate, apánтos, as thereby their cause would be pleaded with men, and they would be justified in their preaching boldly in the name of Jesus Christ.
This gift, this divine influence, he calls also "the spirit of truth," because by that wonderful influence on their minds the apostles would be led into the knowledge of all the truths of the gospel, and would be enabled to teach them to others with perspicuity.
And our Lord speaks of the Spirit's "bringing to their remembrance" the things, which he had said, and of his "receiving of his, and showing it unto them:" because by this miraculous influence upon their minds, those prejudices would be removed, which had obstructed their clear discernment of what Christ had said unto them, while he was with them.
There are other texts from which objections may be raised. But they may be as well consi-dered in the next section. And I think, that will be the shortest method.
TEXTS EXPLAINED. 1 Luke xi. 13. "If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?" Which is parallel with Matt. vii. 11. "If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children: how much more shall your Father, which is in heaven, give good things to them that ask him ?" Whereby we may perceive, that by the Holy Spirit is meant any good thing, conducive to our real happiness. And we are induced to recollect here what St. James says, i. 5. "If any man lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not. And it shall be given to him." And see ver. 17.
2. Matt. iv. 1. "Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness, to be tempted of the devil. Mark i. 12. "And immediately the Spirit driveth him into the wilderness." Luke iv. 1. "And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost, returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness."
The coherence will lead us into the true meaning of these words. Our blessed Lord had just been baptized, and the Holy Ghost descended from heaven, and abode upon him. At the same time he was solemnly inaugurated, and publicly declared to be the Messiah. There came a voice from heaven, saying: "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." Now therefore was fulfilled the prophecy in Is. xi. 1; 2. "And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might"---By that divine and extraordinary wisdom, our Lord was directed, and influenced, to retire into the wilderness. And having been there tempted of Satan, and having vanquished him, as St. Luke says, ch. iv. 14, 15.
"Jesus returned in the power of the spirit into Galilee," fully qualified for the discharge of his high office, both for teaching his excellent doctrine, and for confirming it by miracles. "And there went out a fame of him through all the regions round about. And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified of all." So our Lord said to his disciples, as recorded Acts i. 8. "Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you." Or, as it is in the margin of some of our Bibles : "Ye shall receive the power of the Holy Ghost coming
3. Matt. xii. 31. "Wherefore I say unto you: All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men. But the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.” And see ver. 32. Compare also Mark iii. and Luke xii.
Dr. Wall, who upon John xvi. 13. p. 113. asserts the personality of the Spirit, explains this text of St. Matthew after this manner, p. 15. A man that sees plainly the effects of a present 'supernatural power, which, he must be convinced in conscience, is the finger, or spirit, or im'mediate miraculous power of God: (which is that, which is here called the Holy Spirit, or Holy Ghost) and yet will maliciously blaspheme, or speak blasphemous words against it: that it is the devil, or that the devil helps the man that does it: such an one blasphemes God himself, showing himself, or his miraculous power, at that time from heaven.'
In Luke xi. 20. What is here called "the Holy Ghost," is there called "the finger of God." And so the Egyptian magicians, when convinced, called it. Ex. viii. 19.’
Afterwards, in the same note, at p. 16, he says: In Acts ii. 13. there was a miraculous power of God, enabling the apostles to speak with tongues. Some, who did not conceive it to be any spirit, or miraculous power, mocked at it. These were not denounced to be in any un'pardonable state.'
Nothing more needs to be said for the explication of that text in St. Matthew, and the parallel places in the other gospels.
4. Matt. xxviii. 19. "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." That is, Go ye therefore into all the world, and teach, or disciple all nations, baptizing them into the profession of faith in, and
an obligation to obey the doctrine taught by Christ, with authority from God the Father, and • confirmed by the Holy Ghost.".
By the Holy Ghost, as I apprehend, we are here to understand the miracles of our Saviour's ministry, and likewise the miracles wrought by his apostles, and the spiritual gifts bestowed upon the apostles, and other disciples of Jesus, and all believers in general, soon after our Lord's ascension, and all the miraculous attestations of the truth and divine original of the doctrine taught by Jesus Christ.
It is observable, that the baptismal form, which is in St. Matthew, never appears in those very words, either in the book of the Acts, or in any of the Epistles. But men are required to be "baptized in the name of Christ," or said to have been " baptized into Christ." That is, they made a profession of faith in Jesus as the Christ, and acknowledged their obligation to obey him, by being haptized. Acts ii. 38. " Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ.' Ch. viii. 16. "Only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus." See likewise ver. 35-38. Rom. vi. 3. "Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ, were baptized into his death ?" Gal. iii. 27. "For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ, have put on Christ.'
But though the form which is in St. Matthew, never appears elsewhere, the thing intended thereby is always implied. Nor could any be brought to make a profession of faith in Jesus, as the Christ, but upon the supposition that he had taught in the name and with the authority of God the Father, and had proved his commission by miraculous attestations, which could not be denied nor gainsayed.
5. John xvi. 7. "Nevertheless I tell you the truth: it is expedient for you that I go away.
For if I go not away the Comforter will not come unto you:" which agrees with what our Lord says, John vii. 37-39. and with the evangelist's own remark; "For the Holy Ghost was not yet given, because that Jesus was not yet glorified."
The fitness and wisdom of deferring the plentiful effusion of the Holy Ghost for illuminating the apostles, and removing their prejudices, and enabling them to teach the doctrine of Christ. with perspicuity, and to confirm it by wonderful works, must be apparent to all who consider what evidence was thereby afforded to the truth of their testimony concerning the resurrection and ascension of Jesus.
Ver. 8-11." And when he is come, he will reprove, [or convince] the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they believe not on me of righteousness, because I go to the Father, and ye see me no more: of judgment, because the prince of this world: is judged."
If we recollect the many texts which have been already alleged, and particularly what our Lord says in John vii. 37-39. just now taken notice of, we shall find no great difficulty in understanding this text.
"And when he is come." It is not to be hence argued, that the Holy Ghost had never come before. But hereby is meant a certain coming, a plentiful effusion of the Holy Ghost, foretold by the prophets, and by our Lord.
The Spirit had in former times come upon Moses and the prophets. For, as St. Peter says, 2 Epist. i. 21. " Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost."
And after a long withdrawing of the Spirit of God, or withholding extraordinary powers and gifts, from the Jewish people, about the time of our Saviour's nativity, we see divers instances of the divine influence and operation in Zacharias, father of John the Baptist, and Elizabeth, and Anna, and Simeon, and then on John the Baptist; who undoubtedly taught, and preached, and prophesied by the Holy Ghost, though he did no miracles. The Holy Spirit came down also upon our Lord in a glorious manner, and there were visible tokens of it: whereby John knew him to be the Messiah, the great person, who was to come: and he had "the Spirit without measure," John iii. 34. The Holy Ghost must likewise have been given, during the time of our Lord's abode on this earth, in a certain measure, upon several, particularly the twelve apostles, and the seventy other disciples, in order to qualify them for the discharge of the commission, which our Lord gave them for a time, to go over the cities of Judea, and prepare men for him. And of the seventy it is expressly said, "they returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the dæmons are subject to us through thy name,' "Luke x. 17.
"By the coming of the Holy Ghost," then, is to be understood, in this place, a general and plentiful effusion of spiritual gifts upon the apostles themselves, and upon other believers in the Lord Jesus, such as that related in the Acts: when the disciples, who had followed the Lord in the time of his ministry, and still continued together, and afterwards many others likewise, were enabled on a sudden to speak in divers languages, which they had never learned, and to perform many great and extraordinary works in the name of Jesus Christ.
Indeed this coming of the Comforter, or the Holy Ghost, comprehends in it all manner of spiritual gifts; not only those just mentioned, but also a clear and distinct knowledge of divine things, even the truths of the doctrine of Christ, and the whole scheme of the gospel dispensation and prophesying, or foretelling things to come, as well as working miracles, and also readiness of speech, and a becoming degree of courage and boldness in the midst of dangers, and in the presence of the greatest personages; qualifications, of which the disciples had been hitherto very destitute.
The several particulars, sin, righteousness, and judgment, of which the world would be convinced by the plentiful effusion of the Spirit, here spoken of, need not to be distinctly explained. The sum is, that hereby the progress of the Gospel would be secured. This large and general effusion of spiritual gifts would be a persuasive and satisfactory evidence of the resurrection and ascension of Jesus, and that he was the promised Messiah, through whom all nations of the earth were to be blessed. Or, as John the Baptist expresseth it: And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me: Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. And I saw, and bare record, that this is the Son of God," John i. 33, 34.
And with great force, as well as propriety, do the apostles say to the Jewish council, as re
corded Acts v. 29-32. "Then Peter, and the [other] apostles said: We ought to obey God, rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus whom ye slew, and hanged on a tree. Him hath God exalted with his right hand, to be a prince, and a saviour, to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. And we are his witnesses of these things. And so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God has given to them that obey him: That is, say those judicious com'mentators, Lenfant and Beausobre, the miraculous gifts which Jesus had bestowed upon his apostles, and which they conferred upon believers.'
6. Acts i. 2.-"after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles, whom he had chosen."
Or, as in the Syriac, version," "after that he had given commandments to the apostles, whom he had chosen by the Holy Spirit:" that is, by special direction from heaven. Which is very agreeable to what St. Luke writes, chap. vi. 12, 13. "And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God:" or, in an oratory of God. "And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples. And of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles." Indeed a right choice of the apostles of Christ depended upon no less than infinite wisdom. And when another was to be added to the eleven, after the apostasy, and "death of Judas, they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, and Matthias. And they prayed, and said: Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, show, whether of these two thou hast chosen." Acts i. 23, 24. 7. Acts v. 3, 4. "Then Peter said: Ananias, why has Satan filled thy heart, to lie unto the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?-Thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God-Then Peter said unto her: [Sapphira] How is it that ye have agreed together, to tempt the Spirit of the Lord ?"
They tempted the Spirit of the Lord. They acted, as if they had doubted of the divine omniscience, like the Israelites in the wilderness, of whom it is said, Psal. lxxviii. 18, 19, 20. "And they tempted God in their heart, by asking meat for their lust. They said, Can God furnish a table in the wilderness?-Can he give bread also? Can he provide flesh for his people?" And as the apostles were plainly under an extraordinary divine influence and direction, when Ananias and Sapphira attempted to impose upon them by a false account, they were justly said to lie to God himself, and not to men only..
Athanasius, speaking of this matter, says: So that he who lied to the Holy Spirit, lied ' unto God, who dwells in men by his Spirit. For where the Spirit of God is, there is God. As it is said: "Hereby know we, that God dwelleth in us, because he has given us of his 'spirit." 1 John iv. 33.
8. Acts viii. 18, 19. "And when Simon saw, that through laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money, saying: "Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I shall lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost."
Mr. Le Moine explains this text in his treatise on miracles, p. 189. And when he saw, 'that through laying on of their hands, the Holy Ghost, or the power of working miracles, was given, he offered them money, to have the same power.'
So then the Holy Ghost, which was bestowed upon believers by the apostles, was the power of miracles, or an extraordinary power, by which the believers might perform miraculous works.
9. Aets ix. 31. "Then had the churches rest throughout all Judea, and Galilee, and Samaria, and were edified. And walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost were multiplied.
What is here said of the churches does in a great measure coincide with what we find in chap. ii. 42, 43, and 46, 47. -“ and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost.”
εν τη παρακλήσει το αγιο πνευματος. Which might
Le S. Esprit.] Ce sont les dons miraculeux, dont J. C. avoit revêtu ses Apôtres, et qu'ils conféroient aux fidèles. Act. ii. 33. viii. 15, 17. Note sur les Actes des Apôtres. Chap. v. ver. 32.
Act. i. 2. Verba, dia veuμaros dyis, quæ plerique ad EVTEιhausvos referunt, construxit Syrus cum λETO: quos [apostolos] elegerat per Spiritum Sanctum'-Ex mente Syri interpretis hoc dicit Lucas: Christum non ex
sua voluntate apostolos legisse, sed ex nutu Patris, qui per Spiritum Sanctum tanto munere dignos candidatos Filio demonstraverit. J. D. Michaëlis Curæ in Versionem Syriacam Actuum Apostolorum, p. 1.
c 'Ωσε ὁ ψευσαμενος τω αγιῳ πνευματι, τῷ θεῷ εψεύσατο τῳ κατοικέντι εν άνθρωποις διά τε πνεύματος αυτ8. Οπε γαρ εςι το πνευμα θες, εκει εςιν ὁ θεος. κ. λ. Athan. De Incarnat et cont. Arian. n. 13. p. 881. A.