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2.) Eph. v. 18, 19. “ And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess: but be filled with the Spirit
, speaking to yourselves in psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs, singing, and making melody in your heart to the Lord.” • That is, be careful not to be drunk with wine, in which * men are too liable to exceed. But, when you are disposed to be cheerful, gratify and entertain • yourselves and others, with a free exercise of the spiritual gifts wherewith God has blessed
you.' Comp. Col. iv. 16.
3.) 1 Thess. v. 19–22. “Quench not the Spirit. Despise not prophesyings. Prove all things. Hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil.”
Quench not, nor damp the spiritual gifts, with which you have been favoured, either by a * neglect of any of them, or by an irregular exercise of them, or by the indulgence of any sin. • And especially, do not despise, but cherish, and highly esteem the gift of prophesying, or
speaking by inspiration for the instruction and edification of the church. And be sure that you • take heed to, and examine what is proposed to you in your public assemblies. Embrace what. ever is right and good, and reject every thing that is evil.'
The comment of Grotius upon those words, “ Quench not the spirit,” is to this purpose. ' By “the Spirit” are meant the gifts of healing, and of tongues, which are fitly, oumpared to fire. And therefore may be said to be “ stirred up,” as in 2 Tim. i. 6. apd unl the other hand to be extinguished. They are stirred up by prayer, giving of thanks, and a continued regular practice of piety. And are extinguished by the contrary. For god, under the evangelical dispensation, does not vouchsafe, or at least continue those guts to any but such as believe, and live piously. See Mark xvi. 17.
And Wolfius says, that by “ the Spirit,” undoubtedly, are meant gifts of the Spirit, who is sometimes compared to fire, as 2 Tim. i. 6.
The apostle having delivered that direction, “ Quench not the Spirit,” relating to spiritual gifts in general, adds a particular caution, “ Despise not prophesyings,” because, though it was the most useful, and valuable gift of all, some, as it seems, were apt to prefer “speaking with tongues," as a more showy gift. This may be collected from what he writes, 2 Cor. xiv. And see particularly ver. 39.
66 Abstain from all appearance of evil.” Many understand this to be a direction, relating to practice in life, agreeably to our version ; that Christians should not only abstain from what is really, and manifestly evil, but also from every thing that has but the appearance of being evil. And so Grotius understood this clause. But to me it seems, that this last clause is to be understood in connection with the former part,“ prove all things :" and that it is intended to direct the right exercise of the judgment. Christians should examine all thmgs proposed to them, embracing what is right, and rejecting every thing that is wrong. So this exhortation was understood by Pelagius. And Grotius himself interprets the former expressions, “prove all things, and hold fast that which is good,” in the like manner.
4.) 1 Tim. iv. 14. “ Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery."
5.) 2 'l'im. i. 6. “ Wherefore I put thee in remembrance, that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands.”.
I take no notice of any other texts of this kind. But it is well known, that the twelfth and fourteenth chapters of the first epistle to the Corinthians contain many directions for regulating the exercise of spiritual gifts, with which that church abounded. It is sufficient for me to refer to them. There are likewise in other epistles of the New Testament divers exhortations to Christians in regard to the gifts, with which they were favoured: as Rom. xii. 3.-8. 1 Pet. iv. 10, 11,
То πνευμα μη στεννυτε.] Spiritus hic stunt dona sanationum • Απο σαντος ειδες πονηρα απεχετε.] Christiani non a reet linguarum, quæ sicut in ignis formà data erant, ita ignibus malis tantum, sed ab iis, quæ speciem habent mali, abrecte coinparantur, ac proinde dicuntur, et 'suscitari.' 2 Tim. i. stinere debent. Exemplum vide i Cor. viii. 10. Grot. in I 6. et contra 'exstingui. Suscitantur' precibus, gratiarum ac
Thess. y. 21. tione, ac perpetuo studio pietatis : 'extinguuntur' per con- d Tantum, ut probetis, si legi non sunt contraria, quæ ditraria. Nam in Novo Testamento, maxime post constitutas cuntur: si quid tale fuerit, refutate. Pelag. in 1 Thess. v.21, ecclesias, Deus illa dona non vult dare aut servare, nisi creden- 22. Ap. Hieron. Opp. T. V. p. 1082. tibus, et pie viventibus. Vide Marc. xvi. 17 Grot. in loc. • Παντα δοκιμαζοντες, το καλον κατεχετε. Ηoc pertinet
Quod ad rem spectat, to dvEUux omnia sunt dona spiri- ad Siaxpirais aveupatwy. I Cor. xii. xiv. Sic 1 Joh. iv. 1. tùs S. qui cum igne solet comparari, quo sensu Paulus 2 1'im. AoxiuaZETE TA TIVEVMATA- -Ergo Warta, omnia, hic restrini. 6. avaz waupaiy ta zm.ploua der jubet. Wolf. Curæ in I genduni ex antecedente ad ea quæ dicuntur ab eis, qui se pro
phetas diclitant. Grot. ad ver. 20.
26. v. 19.
21. 1 Thess. i. 5. “ For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance"-- ver. 6. " And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost.”
The explication of this text shall be taken from Dr. Benson's paraphrase on the epistle. • In • as much as the gospel, preached by us, did not come unto you in word only; but was accom• panied also with a miraculous power, and with our imparting unto you the Holy Spirit, and with « full and abundant conviction to
minds.' - And we can bear witness to your amiable behaviour. For you became imitators of us, « and of the Lord Jesus Christ : in that you steadily adhered to the truth, amidst great difficul
ties and discouragements, after you had received the gospel, in much affliction, with the joy, · which ariseth from your having the Holy Spirit.' The same learned writer, in his note upon the fifth verse, says: By power I understand the power of working of miracles, exerted by the
apostle, or his assistants. And by the Holy Ghost, or Holy Spirit, I understand the gift of the Spirit, as imparted to the Thessalonians.
22. Heb. ix. 14. “ How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works, to serve the living God?”
Dr. Whitby, in his Annotations upon Heb. v. 5. says, that Christ was by his death conse. crated to his priesthood, and dates the commencement of our Lord's priesthood at his resurrection. This sentiment has been much improved by the late Mr. Thomas Moore in his discourse concerning the priesthood of Christ. I may refer to one place particularly, where he says, “The time, when Jesus was called to, and invested with the order of priesthood, was at • his resurrection from the dead.' Which he argues from Heb. v. 10. compared with Acts xiii. 33. See him p. 11, 12, 13.
That may be the key to this text. However, there are some other interpreters, who have well explained it, as we shall see presently, though they have not so distinctly settled the date of Christ's priesthood.
“ How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience-?"
When our Lord offered himself to God, or presented himself before God, he was risen from the dead, and had obtained everlasting life, “ to die no more," as St. Paul says, Rom. vi. 9, 10. And in Ps. cx. 4. the only place in the Old Testament, where Christ's priesthood is spoken of, it is said: “The Lord has sworn, and will not repent: thou art a priest for ever, after the order of Melchisedec.” This the writer of the epistle to the Hebrews often observes, and insists
As Heb. vii. 21. where the text of the Psalm is quoted, see also ver. 11. And at ver. 24, 25. “ But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost, that come unto God by him: seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them." And ver. 15, 16, of the same chapter : “For that after the similitude of Melchisedec there ariseth another priest, who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life.” And ch. v. 9. “ And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation to them that obey him.' And ver. 12, of this ch. ix. just before the text, which we are now considering, he speaks of Christ's “ having obtained eternal redemption for us." And ver. 15.-" that they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance." And in 1 Cor. xv. 45, “ the last Adam,” meaning the Lord Jesus, is said to be “ a quickening Spirit."
The meaning of this text therefore seems to be this: "That Christ being now “ entered • into heaven itself,” ch. ix. 24. that is, the true holy of holies, by his own never-dying spirit, • or by “ the power of an endless life," ch. vii. 16. he “ offered himself to God,” or presented • himself before God, having been innocent, and unspotted in his whole life on earth, and being • now “made perfect, and higher than the heavens." Ch. v. 9. and vii. 26, 28.
Which is very agreeable to the annotations of Grotius upon this verse."
• Oblatio autem Christi hic intelligitur illa, quie oblationi in altari crucis facta, sed facta in adyto cælesti. Facta autem legali in adyto factæ respondet. Ea autem est non oblatio ibi es', 'per Spiritum æternum,' aut, ut ante dixit vii. 16. VOL. ..
There are some others likewise, who have so pertinently criticised upon this text, that I am willing to transcribe their remarks below, for the sake of intelligent readers."
23. Heb. x. 28, 29. “ He that despised Moses' law, died without mercy, under two or three witnesses. Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who has trodden under foot the Son of God, and has counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and has done despite unto the spirit of grace?”
The case here supposed is that of apostasy from the Christian faith. The persons intended are such as those spoken of ch. vi. 4. “Who had tasted of the heavenly gift, and were partakers of the Holy Ghost.” And one of the aggravations of their apostasy is, that “ they had done despite to the spirit of grace:” or rejected, and cast reproach upon that great evidence of the truth of the Christian religion, the miraculous gifts, which God had most graciously bestowed upon themselves and others. So Grotius. And Limborch expresseth himself to the like purpose.
24. 1 John v. 5-10. “ Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth, that Jesus is the Son of God? This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ, not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth. For there are three that bear witness, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood. And these three agree in one. If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater : for this is the witness of God, which he has testified of his Son. He that believeth on the Son of God, hath the witness in himself. He that believeth not God, hath made him a liar, because he believeth not the record, that God gave of his Son."
I have quoted this passage according to the Alexandrian, and other ancient manuscripts, and the citations in ancient writers, without regarding any modern printed copies : which, indeed, deserve not any regard.
Some have paraphrased the former part of ver. 6. in this manner. Now that this Jesus · Christ was a real man, and died, we have the utmost testimony. For I myself, when he ex• pired on the cross, saw his side pierced with a spear, and blood and water gush out at the • wound: which are two determining proofs that he really died.' Supposing, that here is a reference to what is related in St. John's gospel, xix. 34, 35.
But that is manifestly a weak and arbitrary interpretation. St. John is not here observing the proofs of our Lord's real humanity, but of his being the Son of God, the Messiah.
To me it seems, that the water, an emblem of purity, [Ezek. xxxvi. 25.] denotes the innocence of our Lord's life, which was without spot, and exemplary: and the reasonableness, excellency, and perfection of his doctrine, which, after the strictest examination, and nicest scrutiny, cannot be charged with any error or falsehood. The blood denotes our Lord's willing and patient,
per vim vitæ indissolubilis, quia spiritus ejus jam non erat et cum isto sanguine, id est, virtute illius sanguinis, jam e vivens tantum, ut in vitâ hac terrena, sed in æternum corpus mortuis suscitatus, et spiritus vivificus ac æternus, seipsum is sibi adjunctum vivificans.' 1 Cor. xv. 45-ala hic sume, ut cælis obtulit Deo, id est, coram Deo pro nobis comparuit. supra ver. 12. pro præpositione cum, quomodo et Hebræum Dicitur autem hic se obtulisse immaculatum,' non tana poni solet. Intelligitur hinc dignitas oblationis, quod eam tum respectu vitæ suæ, quam hic in terris degit, quatenus sine fecit is, qui jam spiritu et corpore erat imınortalis. Sanguini ullâ peccati labe vixit. 1 Pet. ii. 22. 2 Cor. v. 21. sed et reautem purgatio ista tribuitur, quia per sanguinem, id est, mor- spectu status illius cælestis, quo nunc fruitur, ab omni infirtem Christi, secutâ ejus excitatione et evectione, gignitur in mitate, cui hic in terris in statu humiliationis obnoxius fuit, nobis fides. Rom. iii. 25.- -Cum dicit auww.ov, respicit le- adeo ut nihil in ipso, ut æternus sit Pontifex, desiderari possit. gem victimarum Lev. xxii. 20.----In victimis legalibus nul- Vid. cap. vii. 26. Ph. Limborch in Ep. ad Heb. cap. ix. 14. Jum debebat esse corporis vitium: in Christi vitâ nihil fuit • Και το πνευμα της χαριτος ενυδρισας : : et spiritui gratie vitiosum. Et ideo spiritu illo æterno statim donatus est. Grot. contumeliam fecerit.') Spiritum illum, quem summo Dei beAnnot. in Heb. ix. 14.
neficio acceperat, contumeliâ afficiens : nullius pretii æstimans a 'Os dia avevpatos awwwe.] Qui a mortuis suscitatus, tantuin donum, quo se ipse ait privatum. Grot. in loc. cum spirituali et immortali corpore (quod antequam in cæleste © Tertium. •Et spiritum gratiæ contumeliâ affecit. Spitabernaculum ingrederetur, accepit) omnis infirmitatis et pa- ritus gratiæ' est spiritus ille, qui in initio prædicationis evantibilitatis labe, quæ mortali naturæ inhærent, purgatum se- gelii datus fuit credentibus, ad confirmationem divinitatis metipsum obtulit Deo, sedens ad dexteram majestatis ejus in evangelii: nimirum dona illa extraordinaria spiritus sancti, colis. Brenius in loc.
quæ passim in Actis et epistolis Apostolorum in credentes Christum autem, cujus sanguinem opponit sanguini tauro- effusa legimus. Qui vocatur spiritus gratiæ, tum quia ex rum et hircorum, describit, quod 'per spiritum æternum gratiâ divinâ credentibus datus est ; tum quia per illum obseipsum Deo immaculatum obtulerit.' Christo jam e mortuis signata fuit divinitas doctrinæ Jesu Christi, in qua maxima suscitato tribuit 'spiritum æternum : quia post resuscitatio- et excellentissima Dei gratia patefacta est. Limb. in Ep. ad nem anima ejus non amplius est anima vivens, sed spiritus Heb. p. 667. vivificans. 1 Cor. xv. 45. diciturque habere vitam indissolu- d And yet it is followed by the late Mr. Wetstein : Probabilem, supra, vii. 16. et in æternum manere. ver. 24. · Vivit vit se non phantasma, sed verum hominem esse, qui ex spiritu, ergo in omnem æternitatem, ut sit æternus Pontifex. Christus sanguine, et aquâ seu humore constaret. Job. xix. 34, 35. niinirum sanguinem suum, tamquam victima, in cruce effudit, J.J. Wetstein in loc. p. 721.
though painful and ignominious death, the utmost testimony, that can be given of integrity. The Spirit intends our Lord's many miraculous works, wrought by the Spirit, the finger, the power of God, or God himself. This testimony is truth, that is, exceeding true, so that it may be relied upon. For it is unquestionable, and cannot be gainsayed. See John v. 32–37. ch. x. 25. Acts ii. 22.
Here are three witnesses. And “they agree in one." They are harmonious, all saying the same thing, and concurring in the same testimony.
The apostle adds, ver. 9. « If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater :' referring to the appointment in the law of Moses, that “ by the mouth of two or three witnesses any matter might be established.” Deut. xvii. 6. and xix. 15. Whatsoever was attested by two or three men, was deemed true and certain. In the point before us there are three most credible witnesses, one of whom is God himself. Refusing this testimony therefore would be the same, as making God a liar, or charging him with giving false evidence, and with a design to deceive, and impose upon his creatures. “ He that believeth not God, hath made him a liar, because he believeth not the testimony which God giveth of his Son.”
This interpretation is the same as that in Grotius," or not very different.
25. Rev. xxii. 17. “ And the Spirit and the bride say: Come.” That is, says 'Grotius, * men who are endowed with spiritual gifts.'
Mr. Pyle's paraphrase is this : The whole body of truly good Christians, who are the true church and spouse of Christ.' And in his notes he says, <« The Spirit and the bride,'" or • the spiritual bride, that is, the true church of Christ. Thus “grace and truth” is a truth con
veying the greatest favour. John i. 17. “Glory and virtue” is glorious virtue or power. 1 Pet. 3. ““ kingdom and glory,” a glorious kingdom. 1 Thess. ii. 12. Had the generality of commenta• tors observed this, they would not have had occasion to interpret this of the “ Holy Spirit of • God, wishing, [and] praying for the coming of Christ's kingdom, in the same manner, and . with the same ardency as St. John, and the Christian church here does. Which to me seems very incongruous.' So Mr. Pyle, whose interpretation is approved by Mr. Lowman.
Brenius • is not very different. Or, as some other interpreters express it : "" The Spirit • and the bride:" that is, the church animated by the Spirit, and ardently longing for the coming . of Christ.'
Every one may perceive, that we have been discoursing of miraculous gifts and powers : which now are, and for a long time have been commonly called extraordinary gifts of the Spirit. These are not saving. They who received such gifts after baptism, and profession of faith in Jesus Christ, were thereby satisfied, that the doctrine of Christ was true, and from heaven. And they were assured, that if they acted according to that faith, they might be saved, without observing the peculiarities of the law of Moses. But such gifts alone were not saving, without sincere virtue, and the practice of a good life.
So says St. Paul, 1 Cor. xiii. 1, 2. “But covet earnestly the best gifts. Tæ xagiouata ta MgEITTova. And yet show I unto you a more excellent way. Though I speak with the tongues of men and angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal, And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge : and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing." The same might be said of the necessity of sobriety, and humility, and meekness, or any
other virtue, that is there said of charity or love. And perhaps all social virtue is comprehended by the apostle in the one virtue here mentioned by him. For in another place he says: “Love is the fulfilling of the law,” Rom. xiii. 8—10.
“Οτι τρεις εισιν οι μαρτυρεντες κ. λ. I alhall here put down abstractum pro concreto; spiritus pro habentibus spiritum. a similar expression of the Sophist Ælius Aristides, in the se- Dicunt : Veni. &c. Grot. in loc. cond century. Oration T. I. p. 146. edit. Jebb. al. p. 272. & Spiritus qui est in Sponsá, vel Sponsa per spiritum, qui in Tpers yap sisiv oi papruproarras wapaxpqua AOqvawy elvai rodo ipsa residet, dicit
: id est, credentium omnium vota, tum soνικης, Αθηναιοι, Λακεδαιμονιοι, Βοιωτοι.
paratim tum conjunctim, hoc idem contendunt. Bren, in loc. Et in epistolâ 1 Joh. v. 8. Aqua' est puritas vitæ e C'est à dire, l'Espouse, qui est l'Eglise, animée du S. Cbristianæ, quæ simul cum martyrio, et miraculis
, testimo- Esprit
, et soupirant ardemment après l'apparition de J. C. Lenf. nium reddit veritati dogmatis. Grot. Ann. in Joh. iii. 5. Id est, viri propheticis donis clari. Vide supra ver. 6. Est
And that all virtues ought to be joined together, and carefully cultivated by those who make a profession of the Christian religion, is shown by St. Peter. “ And beside this,” says he,
giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, (or fortitude,] and to virtue knowledge, and to knowledge temperance, and to temperance patience, and to patience godliness, and to godliness brotherly kindness-For so an entrance shall be ministered to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ,” 2 Pet. i. 5-10.
Conclusion. I have now finished what I proposed at the beginning of this postscript, having explained, according to my ability, those words, the Spirit, the Holy Spirit, and the Spirit of God, as used in the scriptures.
Many of the interpretations, which have been given by me, will be readily assented to by all. If any others should not be approved of at first, I hope no offence needs to be taken. I do not dictate: but with humility and deference recommend these thoughts to the consideration of my brethren in Christ Jesus.
It becomes us all to examine the doctrines, which are proposed to us. We should not be Christians and Protestants upon the same grounds, that others are Mahometans and Papists : barely because such or such opinions are generally received, and established in the country where we live.
Our blessed Lord and his apostles have forewarned us, that men would arise, teaching perverse things; that tares would be mingled with the good grain, and error with truth. The event has been accordingly. If there are any notions concerning a Trinity of Divine Persons, which are not right and just: if transubstantiation is not a reasonable and scriptural doctrine : if the worship of angels, and departed saints, and of their images, is not required and commanded, but condemned and forbidden in the Old and New Testament: it must be allowed, that corruptions have been brought into the Christian Church. For such things there are among those, who are called Christians.
What is to be done in this case ? Are they, who discern such corruptions, obliged to acquiesce? Would it be sin, to show, how unreasonable and unscriptural such things are? I do not see how this can be said, provided it be done with meekness and gentleness.
Plato, in his Timæus, says, • That it is very difficult to find out the author and parent of “the universe, and when found, it is impossible to declare him to all.' Cicero, who translated that work of Plato into Latin, renders the last clause, as if Plato had said : · When you have • found him, it is unlawful to declare him to the vulgar.' Perhaps, that was Cicero's own sentiment. Being a statesman, and politician, as well as a philosopher, he might be more concerned for peace than truth. A multitude of deities being the prevailing belief
, he was afraid to oppose the prejudices of the people, who might be offended at the doctrine of the divine unity with its consequences. But so it should not be amongst Christians, who, beside the light of nature, have also the light of revelation.
Says the Psalmist : “ In Judah is God known. His name is great in Israel,”? Ps. Ixxvi. 1. It was their great privilege, and happiness, that God was known among them, and worshipped, and served by them: when heathen people were ignorant of the true God, and worshipped senseless idols. That distinction was owing to the revelation, which God had made of himself to Abraham, and his descendants. Which benefit we also now enjoy, together with the clearer and fuller revelation of God and his will, which has been made by our blessed Saviour, the promised Messiah. See John i. 18. iv. 23, 24. xvii. 25, 26.
Says that most excellent teacher of men in an address to the Father: “ And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent," John xvii. 3.
The right knowledge of God and Christ therefore must be the greatest of blessings, and should be sought after in the first place, and be prized above all things. And wherever the benefit of it is obstructed by wrong notions, it may be the duty of some to give, and of others to receive instruction: that God may be glorified, and men may be edified, and saved.
The scriptures are acknowledged to be the fountain of religious knowledge. Accordingly some there have been among us, and in our own times, who have endeavoured to give a clear
* Τον μεν εν ποιητών και πατερα ταδε τα σαντος εύρειν τε εργον, και εύροντα, εις παντας αδυνατον λεγειν. Platon. T'imæus. p. 28. T. IIl. Serran, et ap. Fabr. p. 330.
et cuin jam inveneris, indicare in vulgus nefas.