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be rendered the patronage or assistance of the Holy Ghost: agreeable to what our Lord had promised the disciples, as recorded John xiv. 16.
These words therefore may be now paraphrased in this manner. Then had the churches, in the several countries here mentioned, peace and tranquillity, being freed from the persecu tion, with which they had been disturbed, and were more and more confirmed in the faith. And continuing in the devout worship of God, and in the steady and amiable practice of vir'tue, and likewise exercising the miraculous gifts and powers, with which they had been favoured, they were greatly inercased with the addition of numerous converts.'
Accordingly, there follows in the remaining part of the chapter an account of Peter's passing throughout divers places, and coming, particularly, to Lydda, where he healed Eneas, who had Deen long sick of the palsy. “And all that dwelt at Lydda and Saron saw him, [recovered,] and turned unto the Lord." Afterwards Peter went to Joppa, where he raised to life Tabitha, "And it was known throughout Joppa: and many believed in the
otherwise named Dorcas. Lord."
10. Acts xiii. 1-4. "Now there were in the church that is at Antioch certain prophets and teachers, as Barnabas, and Simeon that is called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the Tetrarch, and Saul. As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said: Separate me Barnabas and Saul, for the work whereunto I have called them. And when they had fasted, and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away. So they being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia, and thence they sailed to Cyprus.'
That is, whilst those prophets and teachers were engaged with others in the public worship ' of God, it was revealed unto some of them, that they should set apart Barnabas and Saul to 'a certain work, for which God had designed them. Which they did with prayer, and fasting, and laying on of their hands. And being sent forth by that special appointment of heaven, they went to Seleucia, and thence they sailed to the island of Cyprus.'
This text, compared with others, may cast light upon them, and be illustrated by them.
Acts xx. 22, 23. "And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit to Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there: save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying, that bonds and afflictions abide me." That is, God had declared as much by the mouth of Christian prophets, in several cities, through which the apostle had already passed. Which is agreeable to what St. Luke says more particularly in the account of what happened at Cesarea. ch. xxi. 10, 11. "And as we tarried there many days, there came down from Judea a certain prophet, named Agabus. And when he came unto us, he took Paul's girdle, and bound his own hands and feet, and said: Thus saith the Holy Ghost: So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owns this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.
St. Paul speaks of Timothy's having been ordained out of a regard to some prophecies concerning him. 1 Tim. i. 18. "This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before concerning thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare." And ch. iv. 14. 66 Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.'
There were prophets, who, when under inspiration, had said some things to the advantage of Timothy: by which the apostle had been encouraged to bestow upon him eminent gifts, and to instate him in an important and useful office.
This enables us also to understand what is said Acts xx. 28. "Take heed to yourselves, and to the whole flock, over which the Holy Ghost has made you overseers." They had been made bishops by some, who were inspired, or who had been directed in their choice by persons speaking with inspiration.
So Barnabas and Saul were sent out from Antioch, according to prophecy, with an important commission. But their designation may have been more express and solemn, than that of the others, just taken notice of by us.
- 11. Acts xv. 28. "For it seemed good unto the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you
dixit Spiritus Sanctus.] Per prophetas. Grot. in loc.
no greater burden, than these necessary things: that is, It has seemed good to us, who have the spirit of God, or are inspired.'
12. Acts xix. 1-6. "And it came to pass, that whilst Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coast, came to Ephesus. And finding certain disciples, he said unto them: Have ye received the Holy Ghost, since ye believed? And they said unto him: We have not so much as heard, whether there be any Holy Ghost. And he said unto them: Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said: Unto John's baptism. Then said Paul: John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. When they neard that, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came upon them, and they spake with tongues, and prophesied. And all the men were about twelve."
In the preceding chapter, ver. 24, 25. we are informed of " a Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures, who came to Ephesus,-knowing only the baptism of John." This likewise was the case of the men here spoken of. They were in Judea when John preached, or when he began to preach, and left it before our Lord appeared publicly. Or else they had been instructed by Apollos, or some other such person, who was not fully acquainted with the doctrine of Christ. And they knew nothing of the preaching of the apostles, and other transactions at Jerusalem, and in Judea, after our Lord's ascension.
Dr. Wall's explication of ver. 2. Critical Notes upon the N. T. p. 164. is this: We have not so much as heard, whether there be any such powers of prophesying, speaking, with tongues, &c. granted to those that believe.'
Which interpretation seems to me to be very right. These men did not know, or had not heard, that there was then any general pouring out of the Holy Ghost, in which they could partake. They might know, that a general effusion of extraordinary gifts had been foretold by the prophets, as the privilege of the days of the Messiah. But they had not heard, or been informed by any, that such a thing was yet vouchsafed to men: so far were they from having received it themselves.
And I should think, it must appear evident to all, that in this paragraph, the Holy Ghost, wherever mentioned, that is, in Paul's question, in the answer made by these men, and the apostle's following action, denotes a power, a blessing, a privilege, and not a person..
Miraculous gifts being then very common, and generally bestowed upon those, who professed faith in Jesus Christ, St. Paul meeting with these men at Ephesus, asks them: "Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him: We have not so much as heard, that there is any Holy Ghost. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came upon them, and they spake with tongues, and prophesied that is, when he had laid his hands upon them, they received miraculous powers, and immediately spake with tongues and prophesied.
I shall place below, in the margin, the observations of Grotius, and Witsius upon this text, who speak to the same purpose, or not very differently.
13. Rom. xiv. 17. "For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink, but righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost."
The last clause, which should now be explained by me, has been differently understood.. Whitby, in his annotations, says, it signifies an inward joy, arising from the consolations of the Holy Ghost.' And Le Clerc, The inward satisfaction, which we enjoy, when we live accord
ing to the spirit of the gospel.' Mr. Locke, Joy in the gifts and benefits of the Holy Ghost under the gospel.'
But Grotius hereby understands a care and concern to exhilarate others, by the gifts of the spirit.' And considers it as opposed to the grieving, offending, provoking our brother, spoken of, and cautioned against at ver. 15.
That this is the apostle's intention, appears, I think, from the whole argument in this chapter, and in the beginning of the next, and particularly from the nearest context, both before and after. Peace is not inward quiet of mind, but peaceableness, a love and study of peace, and doing all in our power to secure and promote it. Nor does the apostle speak of the joy which we possess ourselves, but of that which we ought to give to others. So likewise Gal. v. 22. "The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering." Where joy is joined with other virtues and duties toward our neighbour: and cannot mean the satisfaction which we feel ourselves, but the satisfaction which we procure to others.
St. Paul then here says, The kingdom of God does not consist in such things as meat and drink, but in the practice of righteousness, in a love and study of peace, and care to please and edify our brother by a mild and condescending behaviour, and discourses suited to his capacity, according to the doctrine of the gospel, confirmed by mighty works, and many miraculous gifts and powers bestowed upon believers in general.' Therefore he offers that earnest prayer, chap. xv. 5. "Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be like-minded according to Christ Jesus." That is according to the will and command of Christ.
14. In the twelfth chapter of the first epistle to the Corinthians the apostle has a long argument about spiritual gifts, or spiritual persons, as some understand the expression in ver. 1. HEP SE TOY TREVLIV. Here, undoubtedly, are some personalizing expressions. As ver. 11. Περι δε των πνευματικών. "But all these worketh that one and the self-same spirit, dividing to every one severally, as he will." But then there are other expressions, by which he shows that by the Spirit he means a blessing, a gift, a power.
"But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal:" That is, but the plentiful effusion of spiritual gifts, with which the church of God is now 'favoured, is designed for general good. And every one is to exercise his own particular gift in the way most conducive to the advantage of his brethren in Christ.'
And ver. 13. "For by one spirit, are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free. And have been all made to drink into one spirit." So we translate the words: but I suppose they might be better rendered in this manner. "For we have all been baptized with one spirit, that we might be one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free, and we have been all made to drink into one spirit." All believers in Jesus Christ, of every nation and people, of every rank and condition, had received the like or selfsame spiritual gifts, that they might reckon themselves to be, and behave as one body; being all united together in love and friendship, in communion and worship. Moreover in the same context the apostle says, ver. 6. "And there are diversities of operations: but it is the same God which worketh all in all." And ver. 28. "And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healing, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.
Many interpreters have supposed, that in the phrase," and have been all made to drink into one spirit," the apostle alludes to the eucharistical cup. But I do not perceive any good ground for it. I think the apostle carries on the same allusion. Men were baptized with water. Receiving the spirit in a plentiful effusion is called being baptized with the spirit: and the spirit is compared to water. John vii. 37-39. and see Is. xliv. 3. Joel ii. 18. and elsewhere. I think the apostle compares the Spirit, or the plentiful effusion of spiritual powers and gifts, such as
Β Και γαρ εν ένι πνευματι ἡμεῖς παντες εις εν σώμα εξαπτισ θημεν-και παντες εις εν πνευμα εποτισθημεν.
Matt. iii. 11. "I indeed baptize you with water: but he that cometh after me shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire." Auros iuas Banтiσsi Ev veμatI LYIK', και τυρί.
the church of Christ was then favoured with, to a fountain or river. We have all drank at, and been refreshed out of the same fountain.
The Syriac version of the last clause of this verse is: And we have all drank-in one spirit.' Et omnes nos unum Spiritum imbibimus. The Latin version may be also observed: Et omnes in uno Spiritu potati sumus.
15. I may take this opportunity, to consider the difficult words of the third verse of this chapter. "Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God, calleth Jesus accursed, [or anathema :] and that no man can say, that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost." That is, you may be assured, that man is not inspired, whatever pretences he may make, who pronounces Jesus accursed. Nor can any man profess faith in Jesus, as the Christ and Lord of all, under God the Father, and recommend that faith to others, unless he has been himself made partaker of miraculous powers and gifts, or seen miraculous works performed by others in the name of Jesus.' St. John speaks to the like purpose. 1 Epistle,
16. 2 Cor. iii. 17, 18. "Now the Lord is that spirit. And where the spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the spirit of the Lord." Or, as others choose to render it, by the Lord the spirit. However, in both is the same sense.
Dr. Whitby will assist us in explaining these words. For in his Annotations upon ver. 7—11. of this chapter, he says: The glory of God, or of the Lord, in the Old Testament, imports a bright light, or flame included in a cloud, styled the cloud of glory. And because this, whenever it appeared, was a symbol of God's glorious presence, it is styled by the Jews Shechinah, the habitation. See Ex. xvi. 7, 10. ch. xl. 34. This glory, saith the author of Cosri, is the 'divine light, which God vouchsafeth to his people. By the Shechinah, says Elias, we understand the Holy Spirit. As it is evident they do, in these sayings: The Shechinah will not dwell with sorrowful or melancholy men. The Shechinah will only dwell with a strong, rich, wise, and humble man. The Shechinah dwells with the meek. And the like.'
We should now observe the nearest context, from ver. 12. " Seeing then that we have such hope," or such confidence, and well-grounded assurance, we, the apostles of Christ, "use great plainness of speech," boldly preaching the pure gospel of Christ, without recommending to men the rituals of the law. Ver. 13. "And not as Moses, who put a vail over his face"- Ver. 14. "For until this day remaineth the vail untaken away, in the reading of the Old Testament. Which vail is done away in Christ." Ver. 15. " But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their hearts." Ver. 16. "Nevertheless, when it shall turn unto the Lord, the vail shall be taken away." Ver. 17. "Now the Lord is that spirit, and where the spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty."
Here is throughout an allusion to the history of Moses, after his receiving from God, the second time, the two tables of the law in the mount.
Ex. xxxiv. 29–34. "And it came to pass, when Moses came down from Mount Sinaithat Moses wist not, that the skin of his face shone-And when Aaron, and all the children of Israel, saw Moses, behold the skin of his face shone. And they were afraid to come nigh him. And Moses called unto them. And Aaron, and all the rulers of the congregation returned unto him. And Moses talked with them. Afterwards all the children of Israel came nigh—And till Moses had done speaking unto them, he put a vail on his face. But when Moses went before the Lord, to speak with him, he took the vail off until he came out."
That is what the apostle alludes to, when he says, ver. 16, 17. "Nevertheless, when it shall turn to the Lord," that is, when the Jews shall come to Christ, and believe in him, "the vail shall be taken away." For Moses, when he went in, to appear before the Lord, took off the vail. "Now the Lord is that spirit." The Lord Jesus is the glory of God: and by coming to him, we are as in the divine presence, and converse without a vail. Which is what is meant by those words: "And where the spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.'
Then it follows in ver. 18. But we all with open face, beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image, from glory to glory, even as by the spirit of the Lord." But it is not now with us, as it was with the Israelites of old, who only saw the face
of Moses through a vail, and received no derivation of his glory upon themselves; the bright'ness of it, having been intercepted by the vail. No, it is not so with us. For now, we all,
both Jews and Gentiles, who are followers of Jesus, and the people of God, under the gospeldispensation," with open, [or unvailed,] face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord," seeing a strong and lively impression of the divine glory in the person of Jesus Christ, and his 'gospel: and there being a bright, and clear, and strong refulgence of that glory upon us, we are changed into the same image from glory to glory, as by the spirit of the Lord:" we are 'transformed into the same likeness, which is continually increasing and improving. And the impression, made upon us, is much the same, as if we were in the divine presence, and saw the 'glory of God, with as near and full a manifestation, as can be admitted in the present state.'
17. 2 Cor. xiii. 14. "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. all. Amen."
The last clause may imply a wish, that those Christians might continue to partake in miraculous gifts and powers. But we have observed, that sometimes by the Spirit, or Holy Spirit, may be understood any good things, conducive to men's real happiness. Compare Matt. vii. 11. with Luke xi. 13. And see Eph. i. 3. Prov. i. 23. In this place therefore we may suppose to be hereby meant a participation of, and communion in all the blessings of the gospel, and all other needful good things.
18. Eph. ii. 22. In whom ye also are builded for an habitation of God through the spirit."
Dr. Jeremiah Hunt shall explain the text for us.'
'I think,' says he, there is an expression made use of in respect to all believers in the first 'age. "Ye are the habitation of God through the spirit." We, Christians, are the habitation of God's Shechinah, the people, among whom God dwells. He dwelt as a political king with the Jews, by a sensible symbol of his presence. He dwelt with Christian societies (when this 'doctrine was first planted) by those extraordinary gifts of the spirit. That is spoken of, in such ' terms, as are made use of, to express God's inhabiting among the people of Israel. He dwelt 'with the Jews in the tabernacle, and the temple. He dwelt with Christians, in the first esta'blishment of this religion, by the extraordinary gifts, which he imparted to the apostles, who 'were to found his doctrine, and to establish it. Thus far, you see, we are free from enthusiasm.'
I would farther observe, Christ promiseth those who believe in him, and keep his com'mandments, that he would love them, and that his Father would love them, and that they would 'come, and make their abode with them. John xiv. 21, 23. These expressions have been used in a wrong sense by enthusiasts. But the phrases are scriptural, and easy to be understood. "I will come, and dwell with you." There is a reference to the Shechinah, the divine glory. By the spiritual gifts, which the Father has given me power to confer, I will induce you to believe in me. You will then become the habitation of my Father. He will have communion or society with you, by those gifts, which he will enable me to impart, and by which that doctrine shall be confirmed, and established.'
There are divers other texts, where Christians are spoken of as the temple of God through the spirit. And in all of them there is an allusion to the presence of God among the Jewish people, and in the temple at Jerusalem.
1.) 1 Cor. iii. 16, 17. "Know ye not, that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit. of God dwelleth in you. If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy. For the temple of God is holy, which ye are."
2.) 1 Cor. vi. 19. "What, know ye not, that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost, which ye have of God!"
3.) 2 Cor. vi. 16.
"And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? For ye are the temple of the living God: as God hath said: I will dwell in them, and walk in them: and I will be their God, and they shall be my people." See Lev. xxvi. 11, 12.
I would observe, that in the second of these three texts the apostle seems to speak of the spirit, as a gift: which, says he, ye have of God. Grotius says, that the Holy Ghost here is the same as the Shechinah. I shall place his note below."