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always been an eternal Son; nor can I, with the Arian, view him as
some super-angelic creature, filling an immense chasm between Jeho-
vah and the supernal hosts; and still less can I degrade him, with the
Socinian, to the rank of a mere man, the son of Joseph. Common
sense, reason, and revelation, put their veto on such hypotheses. No;
my Lord and Saviour is no creature, nor the son of a creature. In
the beginning he was the Woku of God, is now the Son of God, and
will, when government is no longer necessary, be again recognized
as the Word of Ood, "a name which no man knows, but he himself."

I must be born again, and be endowed with other reasoning powers
and have another revelation, before I can become an Arian. I will
give you one reason out of a hundred, and but one, because I feel
that it alone, if I had not another, would forever preclude the hy-
pothesis: it is, in one sentence. Because the Arian philosophy converts
the wisdom of God into folly.

If I am asked to explain how this can be, I refuse not. The Arian
toils and sweats, and taxes his ingenuity to show what a glorious
creature the Son of God was in his pre-existent state. He fancies
and represents the Son as filling some intermediate rank more than
midway between the Arch Seraphim and the Deity. He thinks he
devoutly consults tho honor ot the Son. when he finds for him some


vacant throne, nearest to the Self-existent and Eternal, beyond the
aspirations of the cherubim and seraphim. There he places him, a
sort of sub-deity, whence he descends to become incarnate. Yet,
strange to tell, when this first and high-born One, of unrivalled glory
amongst the creatures of God, appears in human flesh, he gives him
nothing to do, which the son of Joseph could not have done as ivellU!
Was ever folly more consummate! What is folly, but the adoption of
inadequate means to ends? Is it not folly to give a diamond for a
straw? — to raise a tempest to move a feather? — to discharge the ar-
tillery of heaven against a worm? — to hurl the thunderbolts of Omnip-
otence against a fly? — to despatch the Archangel on an errand which
the son of Joseph could have as well performed?

What creature could do more than Abel, Moses, John the Baptist,
Stephen, Peter, James the just, or Paul did — tell the truth, the whole
truth, lead an exemplary life, and as a martyr offer up his soul to

What, let me again ask, is folly, if this be not folly? To waste
resources, or squander means, is as foolish as not to provide them.
He who provides the materials for a palace, and builds a cottage, is
as very a simpleton as he who attempts to build a palace out of the
materials of a tent. Could not Gabriel, who waited on Daniel on the
banks of Ulai; nay, could not Paul himself, do as much for the re-
demption of the world, as the Arian Son of God? When some philos-
opher appears, who with a dash of his pen can blot out sin, or
show me that the tears of the penitent, or the blood of bulls and
goats can wash it from the universe, then, but not till then, will 1
turn Arian.

For the same, or a similar reason, I can not be a Socinian. This is
but a new edition of the lable — the mountain in labor, and a mouse
is born. Heaven taught sages; legislators, kings, prophets, priests,
and seers, for four thousand years, filled with the spirit of wisdom
and revelation, exhaust all the similitudes, analogies, and imagery oi
this creation; impoverish the eloquence of heaven and earth, all fig-
ures and forms of speech, to raise the expectations of mankind in
anticipation of a wonderful child, on whose shoulders the government*
of the universe was to remain, whose name was written, "Wonderful
—Counsellor— the Mighty God— the Father of Eternity— the Prince of
Peace — Immanuel"; yet when the prediction is accomplished, Mary
travails, and the carpenter's son is born — a Son of God, it is true, as
Adam was! ! !

With me, consistency must precede faith. I must see types, figures,
prophecies, promises, harmonizing; I must see the means and the end
correspondent; I must see wisdom, power, goodness; justice, mercy,
love: condescension, truth, and holiness, shining in all the splendors


of Divinity, before I cau subscribe to any proposition toucliiug the
personal dignity and standing of my Lord the King.

It will not suffice to puzzle me with hard questions about how
this can be, since my laith has in its infancy to master the master
truth of revelation — to admit that God is Jehovah; or, that God was,
and always is, the self-existent, immutable and eternal, never-began-
to-be, the eternal inhabitant of eternity. Believing this, I find no
difficulty in believing that there was, and is, and evermore shall be,
society and plurality — a liberal I, and thuii, and he— a. we, and our,
and us, in one divine nature. This to me is as easy as the idea of
self-existent; yea, more easy when /, and thou, and he deliberate
on creation, providence, and redemption. I can not, for my life, even
fancy a nature destitute of /, and thou, and he. I am certain it is
not the human — 1 am certain it is not the angelic — certain, too, that
it is not the divine.

In our nature there is no more than I, and thou, and he, as respects
primary relation. 'Ihere is no more in the angelic, and the Bible
reveals no more than I, and thou, and he in the divine. But not
turning aside to answer objections v.hich are anticipated, be it ob-
served that I make not this a matter of inference only; for there is
an association of the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy
Spirit in the revealed relation of the three persons, I, tJiou, and he,
and just in ihe dignity of these three. "I send thee," "I and thou
send him," "Jehovah and his spirit has sent me." On this principle
the Christian economy is arranged and developed. So I read the vol-
umes of revelation. These reflections premised, I proceed to answer
your ingenious questions:


Jehovah is the only living and true Ood. I can not adopt the
answer you suggest (I. Cor. viii. 6), for that anstcers not your ques-
tion. Had you propounded the question which Paul had in his eye,
then I would have given his answer. It was not the contradistinguish-
ing of the Father and the Son, as respects divinity, which Paul had
in view; but the contradistinguishing of the "gods many," and the
"lords many" of Paganism, from the one God and one Lord of Chris-


As the phrase, "one Cod" (I. Cor. viii. 6), is not applied to the
Father, but in contradistinction from "gods many;" so we can not
say that in contradistinction from the Son or the only begotten, that
it either includes or excludes; for that was net in the mind of the
Apostle when he wrote to the Corinthians. The phrase "Son of God"
in the New Testament imports a participation of the divine nature.


A little more reflection, and I presume you will perceive how I should
err were I to answer your first question in the words of I. Cor. viii. 6.
Were you asked, "Do you, in calling Jesus the one Lord, include or ex-
clude the Father from the nature and essential attributes of the one
Lord?" what would you answer? Would you not say, "The Father is
not excluded; for certainly he is the one absolute Lord: for so the
Prophets have named and addressed him a thousand times. But now
he has made Jesus Lord. So that in the new economy the Father is
our only God, and Jesus ia our only Lord."


The word "being," in its luU latitude, signifies simple existence;
but in its appropriated sense here you mean something more than
simple existence. I find the personal pronouns always used in the
Holy Scriptures, speaking of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy
Spirit; and therefore, if I must use an abstract term, I will use per-
son rather than being — though i am not much in love with either.
The Scriptures nowhere teach me that the Son in his high personal
nature had a beginning of being or existence; "the Word was in the
beginning with God," even that Word "which was made flesh and
dwelt among us." "The Word ivas God," and, as such, I venerate "the
Word made flesh," "as God manifest in the flesh."


"My Father is greater than 1," I understand in an economical or
restricted sense. But it militates not with the dignity of the Son of
God, if, in some sense, the Father was always greater than he. The
Trinitarians themselves, who make him an eternal Son, fairly con-
cede this; for a Son is, in some sense, inferior to the Father; while,
in another sense, he may be superior. But I regard all that was spoken
by Jesus of this import as respecting his state of humiliation and its


In worshiping Jesus, I worship him as my Lord and Saviour, as
the Son of God, to the glory of the Father. In worshiping the Father,
I worship him through the Son; and therefore I honor both the
Father and the Son. But, my dear sir, I do not think of worshiping
with that exactitude of which you speak, as if I were to pay so much
tax to the King and so much tithe to the Priest. I can not thus math-
ematically worship either the Father or the Son. The Father and
the Son are one in my salvation. The Father is my God, and Jesus
is my Lord. They are one in the admiration of my understanding —
they are one in the adoration of my heart.


Thus, Brother Grew, if compelled to philosophize, I would answer
your questions. I own that much depends upon our views of the
personal dignity and standing of the Lord Messiah. Indeed, such
was the glory which he had with the Father before the world was,
and such is the glory which he now enjoys as Lord of all in our
nature, that I think we are much more likely to fail in forming too
low, than too high, conceptions of his essential dignity. The Father
has so glorified him as our head, and has so signified to us his delight
in him, that, of all the texts in the Bible, there is none we could mis-
apply in reference to Jesus more than that which says, "Jehovah will
not give his glory to another." He has laid no restrictions upon the
admiration and adoration of the human or angelic hosts in reference
to his only begotten Son; nay, all angels and men are commanded to
worship him. No idolatry in worshiping the King of glory! 1 I would
not for the universe weaken the force of a single expression, or sub-
tract from the boldest metaphor aught of its riches, designed to set
forth the peerless claims of our Redeemer to the unqualified adoration
of my soul. His is the temple of the universe — his the hallelujahs of
the heavens — his the hosannas of the church. All things were crea-
ted by him and for him. He made himself poor that he might make
us rich; and shall our tongues falter in his praise, or our hearts not
gladly bear their part in the general song? May it be your and my
happy lot to stand before him, when he comes in his glory, approved;
and to unite with the admiring and adoring throng, singing:

To him who lov'd us, and has wasliM
Us from our sins in his own bluotl,
And who has made us kings and priests
To his own Father and liis God,
Tlie glory and dominion bo
To him t'ternally. Amen!

In this blissful hope, I remain yours. Editor.





In a series of essays on "The Gift of the Holy Spirit," in the
Harbinger for 1834, Mr. Campbell says:

With many it is an easy matter to investigate and decide every
subject. They have only to read a few texts of Scripture and hear a
sermon from some popular preacher, and they are quite satisfied
they understand the matter perfectly. One decides in favor of this
theory, and another in favor of that, after a few days', or sometimes
a few hours', reflection, and become as dogmatical as the pope. Others
prefer the opinion of some favorite author or creed; and from their
conviction of the learning, piety, and talents of those who have thought
for them, they are willing to repose in full assurance that they are
right, and to denounce all others, as in error who may falter in yield-
ing unqualified assent to their borrowed opinions.

Many, indeed, can not take comprehensive views of any subject;
and if they can only get a hold of a few simple ideas, they have no
desire to extend their inquiries or their views on the subject But
there are some restive and inquisitive persons who are always prying
into the most abstruse subjects, and are never satisfied till they get
to the bottom of a subject, or have pushed their inquiries beyond the
terra firma of revelation and experience.

For our own part, we are desirous to understand all that God has
revealed, and to receive the exact ideas which are couched in the
words which tlie Holy Spirit used.

I propose to institute a few inquiries and to attempt a Scriptural
answer to them. Indeed, all that I now propose will be to ascertain
the meaning of the sacred dialect on the Holy Spirit, and will, there-
fore exclude from our phraseology every scholastic term and phrase
on this topic. Without further ceremony we proceed.

1. What is the meaning of the phrase, "the gift of the Holy Spirit".'

This phrase is found in the New Testament twice — in the Old
Testament never. The gifts of the Holy Svirii is not a Scriptural
phrase, and, therefore, we have nothing to say about it. We have said
that the phrase is not found in the Old Testament: the idea is not,
therefore, to be sought in that volume. It is a New Testament phrase,
and its meaning must be found In the Living Oracles of the Apostles
and Evangelists of Jesus Christ.

That we may have clear and certain knowledge on this subject, we
shall submit facts only.


Fact 1. There are only the eight following words found in the
approved Greek text, translated gift in the common version of the
apostolic writings: dorea, dorema, doron, doma, dosis, merismo'S, charis,

Dorea occurs eleven times, and is used by Luke, John and Paul —
dorema twice, used by Paul and James — doron eighteen times, used by
Matthew, Mark, Luke and Paul — doma four times, used by Matthew,
Luke and Paul — dosis once, used by James — merismos twice, used by
Paul — charis occurs more than one hundred and fifty times, and used
by Luke, John, Paul, James, Peter and Jude, in the common version
mostly grace. It is rendered charity in the new version two or three
times. (IL Cor. viii.) Charisma is found seventeen times, used by
Paul and Peter. Now, of these doma and doron denote common gifts
from man to man, from father to child, or religious sacrificial donations
according to the law. But dorea and charisma are the words which we
have now to consider.

Fact 2. When "spiritual gifts" are spoken of, no other word is used
but charisma — that is, where we have the phrase "spiritual gifts" in the
common version, we have charisma expressed or implied in the Greek.

Heb. ii. 4 is not an exception, for there it is distributions : common
version, "gifts" — not "the gifts" of the Holy Spirit. The word here is
merismos, found only twice^ — Heb. ii. 4 and iv. 12. In the last place it
is translated "dividing asunder" — common version.

Fact 3. But when the gift of the Holy Spirit is spoken of, or, indeed,
alluded to, no other word than dorea is used by any writer who speaks
of it.

Every particular gift of the Spirit spoken of, or alluded to, is desl;^
nated by charisma; but "the gift of the Holy Spirit" by dorea only.
This is certainly worth something to those who wish to understand
the Scriptures.

From this last fact the inference may be drawn, that a gift of the
Spirit, or a spiritual gift, is not the same as the gift of the Holy Spirit,
inasmuch as the sacred writers in their language never confounded
them. Ought we not now to inquire what is the precise import of the
words dorea and charisma?

That the English reader, curious to understand this matter, may be
furnished with all the means in his power to understand for himself,
we shall now give him, in order, all the passages where these words
occur in the original; and first for dorea let him consult John iv. lu;
Acts ii. 38; viii. 20; x. 45; xi. 17; Rom. v. 15, 17; II. Cor. iv. 15; Eph. iii.
7; iv. 7; Heb. vi. 4. From a careful inspection of these passages both
in the common and new version, he will discover, that this term
expresses and denotes the largest, freest, and best bounty of God. To
express the bounty of God in its most extensive display over all crea-


tion, in the apocryphal book of wisdom (chap. xvi. 25) this word is
found — he pantatrophos sow dorea — "thy ail-nourishing bounty."

Jesus uses it to the woman of Samaria to exalt her conceptions of
God's bounty. "If," says he, "you knew the bounty of God" — "the gift
of God." Free gift is the fullest version of it which our languaga
admits, according to Macknight; but this does not fully express it. it
denotes the largest and freest gift of God.

Charisma next deserves our attention. The English reader will
examine all the passages in which it is found when he inspects the
following: Rom. i. 11; v. 15, 16; vi. 23; xi. 29; xii. 6; I. Cor. i. 7;
vii. 7; xii. 4, 9, 28. 30, 31; II. Cor. i. 11; I. Tim. iv. 14; II. Tim. i. 6;
I. Pet. iv. 10.

This word has always some indefinite favor or gift as its import — a
favor or a bounty; and, when used definitely, it is the particular favor
or gift before mentioned. It is specific in its import, while dorea is
rather generic. Hence, prophecy, speaking foreign languages, interpre-
tation of foreign languages, power of working miracles are fully
expressed by charistna. It might, indeed, be added, that dorea respects
the bounty from which the gift flows; while charisma represents the
thing, the favor, or benefit, given. But the splendid bequest, as well
as the bounty which freely confers it, are also expressed by this term.
Definition goes no farther.

We have this phrase, the gift of the Holy Spirit, as has been said,
but twice, in all the apostolic writings — Acts ii. 38 and x. 45, both of
which denote all that is comprehended in the promise of Joel, the Holy
Spirit in all his miraculous powers. It is, indeed (Acts viii. 20), called
"the gift [dorea] of God;" and that gift, mentioned Acts x. 45, com-
pared with that mentioned Acts ii. 28, is called by Peter (Acts xi. IT)
ten isen dorean, the same gift.

Although, as has been said, this is the fulfillment of the prophecy
of Joel, it is also represented as the Holy Spirit himself. See Acts viii.
15, 17, 19, from which it is very evident that, in the judgment of Peter,
John and Simon, this gift was regarded as the Holy Spirit himself; and
i;; also called "the gift of God."

From all which the following conclusion is Inevitable, that the
phrase, "the gift of the Holy Spirit," means the Holy Spirit himself
given, as foretold by Joel, and vouchsafed to Jews and Gentiles at the
erection of the kingdom of the Messiah, and on their admission into
it. But a question may here arise concerning what influences, or divine
powers, the Holy Spirit displayed on the bodies, souls and spirits of
those who received this gift, or in whom he made his abode.

Having ascertained the import of the phrase, "the gift of the Holu
Spirit," to be the Holy Spirit himself givcti. as foretold by Joel — we
proceed to examine some other phrases employed by the Spirit himself


in setting forth the effects of his residence in men. Be it observed that
the Holy Spirit is himself a gift. He is not the donor, but the dona-
tion. He never gives himself. This is the philosophy which explains
the reason why no inspired man, saint, or Christian, till John's death,
in the year of the world 4100, ever prayed to the Holy Spirit, asked
him, or thanked him for anything. We address and thank the donor,
not the gift. The unscriptural prayers addressed to the Holy Spirit,
and the hymns sung to him by those who study theology in the schools
of human philosophy, and not in the church of God, show the state
of biblical knowledge in this "enlightened age of benevolent enterprise! "

Jesus himself, after his baptism, received the Holy Spirit. In the
form of a dove he descended upon him. God gave him this gift. John
the Immerser says, "To him God gives not the Spirit by measure"
(John iii. 34). Singular phrase! "The Spirit by measure!" What
can it mean? The Prophets had received the Spirit by measure. By
measure he was given to the Prophets — not by measure to the Son.
They spoke not always, and not only, the words of God; but, as John
explains the phrase in the preceding verse, Jesus spoke only and always
the words of God. The Spirit of the context is this: "Jesus whom God
has sent speaks the words of God; for God gives not the Spirit by
measure to Mm." ''To Tiim" is a supplement, but a necessary one; else
God always gives the Spirit without measure.

With respect to this word ''measure'^ in reference to the Spirit, it
is only found in this passage; unless we understand Rom. xii. 3 and
Eph. iv. 7 as referring to the same subject. "The measure of faith"
(Rom. xii. 3) is explained (verse 6) as denoting gifts spiritual. So
in Eph. iv. 7, "To every one of us is given grace [charis^ according to
the measure of the gift of Christ." This -'gift of Christ" is explained
(verses 8 and 11) as expressive of the offices of apostles, prophets, evan-
gelists, pastors, teachers. These offices, and those that filled them, are
the gift of Christ alluded to; for when he ascended to heaven he
received the promise of the Father, and gave gifts to men. These gilts
were the measures of the Spirit. "The measure of the gift of Christ"
is the measure, or distribution of that Spirit which Christ on his ascen-
sion sent down.

Be it observed that the creation of an ofl^.ce is a gift; and the quali-
fications of the person who fills that oflSce is also a gift or grace
bestowed on the church: "Having, then, gifts differing according to
the grace [office] given to us — if prophecy, let us prophesy according
to the measure of faith, according to the gift of prophecy which we
enjoy," etc.

No one person, it appears, possessed the Holy Spirit himself without
measure. The Head of the Church had this pre-eminence; or, in other
words, no person was so possessed of the Spirit as to be only and


always under his guidance and entire influence, except the Messiah.
One prophesied — another had gilts of healing — another, of speaking for-
eign languages — another, of interpreting these foreign languages. The
Spirit distributed, or gave what measures he pleased to every person on
whom he was bestowed.

For it is evident that the Spirit himself, though a gift, displayed
his presence in the spiritual men by such measures or distributions of
his power as seemed good to himself. Hear Paul (I. Cor. xii. 9-11),
"To one, indeed, is given by the Spirit, the word of wisdom; to another,
the word of knowledge, according to the same Spirit; and to another,
faith [to attempt a miracle] by the same Spirit; and to another, the
gifts of healing, by the same Spirit; and to another, the operations
of powers; and to another, prophecy; and to another, discerning of
spirits; and to another, diverse kinds of foreign tongues; and to
another, the interpretation of foreign tongues." Now all these (meas-
ures of himself) does the one and the same Spirit effectually work,
distributing to each respectively as he pleases. These are the spir-
itual gifts, portions, or measures of the Spirit, bestowed by himself
ou those to whom he was given.

Having, then, from these examples, ascertained that such is the
meaning of the phrases, "measures," "distributions of the Spirit," or
"spiritual gifts," an inquiry arises. Did everyone who possessed the
gift of the Holy Spirit, or every one on whom the Spirit himself was
bestowed, in the Scriptural acceptation of the phrase, possess and
exhibit such "o manifcsiation of the Spirit" as those described, thereby
investing him with superhuman power? Such a question can only
be answered correctly by an induction of all the particular cases men-
tioned in the New Testament, or by a definition of the terms found in
the Record on this subject.

Be it remembered, that in proposing such questions, we have
supremely in view the determining of the meaning of the words and

Online LibraryAlexander CampbellThe Millennial Harbinger abridged (Volume 1) → online text (page 15 of 70)