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the times of the Messiah. This, however, only applies to those prom-
ises applicable to the Christian age.

'•Holy Spi7-it" in the first four thousand years of the world, is only
found three times. David and Isaiah are the old prophets who use
it. Davia says (Ps. li.), "Take not thy Holy Spirit from me;" and
Isaiah (Ixiii. 10, 11) says of Israel, in reference to God's miraculous
care of them, "They rebelled and vexed his Holy Spirit; therefore, he
turned to be their enemy, and he fought against them. Then he remem-
bered the days of old, Moses and his people, saying. Where is he that
brought them up out of the sea with the Shepherd of his flock? Where
is he that put his Holy Spirit within him, that led them by the right
hand of Moses with uis glorious arm dividing the water before them to
make himself an everlasting name?" From this we discover that the
Holy Spirit is used as equivalent to the Spirit of God bestowed on
Moses and Joshua, to the Spirit of the Lord which fell on the saviors
of Israel.

It is here worthy of remark, that the King's translators did never
use the phrase Holy Ghost in translating the Old Testament. On three
occasions they ought, upon their own principles, to have used it; for
it is the same phrase, which in the New Testament, with four excep-
tions, they have uniformly translated •'Holy Ghost."

Pneuma hagion, or to Pneuma to hagion, occurs ninety-four times
in the New Testament. Ninety times they translated it Holy Ghost,
and four times Holy Spirit. Curiosity is inquisitive to find some reason
for these four exceptions. They are found Luke xi. 13; Eph. i. 13;
iv. 30; I. Thess. iv. 8. In Luke xi. 13 there is no article — it simply
reads, "Give a holy spirit to them that ask him." They did not say,
"Give a holy ghost." Why? Is it because there is no article? We
shall examine the other passages and see whether they are uniform
in this. Eph. i. 13; iv. 30, and I. Thess. iv. 8 the article is found.
Besides, in many other places, where the article is not found, they have
Holy Ghost. Is it because what Luke calls "Holy Ghost," Matthew, in
quoting the same passage of Christ's discourse (chap. vii. 11), uses
"good things?" Probably it was; for they seem to .use "Holy Ghost"
as if by it a person was always intended; at least, this will apply to
the New Testament: for we have seen they have no Holy Ghost in
the Old Testament. But then it will be asked. Are they uniform in
this? Is not their Holy Ghost meant Eph. i. 13 and iv. 30 and I. Thess.
iv. 8? It would appear so. But the construction is peculiar in Eph. i.
13, for the arrangement is, "You are sealed by the spirit of the prom-
ise, the holy:" and as the King's translators promised only the Holy


Spirit in tho Old Testament, and not the Holy Ghost, they could not
with propriety speak of a promised Holy Ghost: for in chap. iv. 30
they seem to have their eyes turned batk to Isa. Ixiii. 11, where they
rendered it, "Grieve his Holy Spirit," and therefore they can not say,
"Grieve not the Holy Ghost of God," the figure in Isa. Ixiii. 10, 11, bein?
tho same found in Eph. iv. 30. They prefer to agree with themselves in
the Old Testame'nt, rather than with themselves in the New. And in
the last place U. Thess. iv. 8) we can find no reason, except that they
found It incongruous to use Holy Ghost in reference to God himself—
"Who has given to us his Holy Spirit," rather than his Holy Ghost.
This is, in all candor, all we can say in their defense. There is, there-
fore, no good reason for preteiring Ghosl to Spirit ninety times to fow
in the New Testament.

There is a saying found in the covenant subscribed by Nehemiah,
the governor, twenty-two priests, seventeen Levites, and forty-four
chiefs of Israel, which is worthy of attention here. The Tir.shatha
(Neh. ix. 20), speaking of the instructions given to Israel in the wil-
derness by Moses and Aaron, says, "Thou gave«t also thy good Spirit
to instruct them, and withheldest not the manna from their mouth,
and gavest them water for their thirst;" and in verse 30, speaking of
the various prophets sent to remonstrate with Israel, he says, "Thou
testifiedst against them by the Spirit in thy prophets; yet would they
not give ear."

The good bpirit, the holy Spirit, the Spirit of God, the Spirit of the
Lord, thy Spirit, and my Spirit, as applied to God in the Jewish Scrip-
tures, when not used metaphorically, always indicates the spirit of
supernatural wisdom, knowledge, power and goodness bestowed upon
the prophets, the kings, the priests, the judges, the artificers, the
great generals and illustrious men of Israel. It was the spirit of wis-
dom and revelation in Moses and in the prophets: it was the spirit of
might, and power, and courage, in all the heroes and judges of Israel:
tho Joshuas, the Gideons, the Samsons, the Davids, etc.; it was the
spirit of natural science and the fine arts in Bezalcel, Aholiab. and all
the ingenious artificers that erected and beautified the Tabernacle and
adorned the high priest of God. It was the spirit of holiness and
goodness In all the models of human excellence, which yet give a
lustre and renowfi to the splendid names enrolled on Israel's his-
toric page — which shed a celestial radiance around those magnificent
constellations which will shine in the Jewish firmament forever and

We now request the attention of our readers to one most important
and prominent acceptation of this term in the New Institution. In
order to this we shall carefully examine the phrase ''ministration of
the Spir't."


Although we have the word diakonia, here rendered ministration,
at least thirty-two times in the Apostles' testimony, we have it but
once in connection with the word Spirit. (IL Cor. iii. 9.) This word
is properly rendered by the word ministration, ministry, serving, serv-
ice, waiting, attendance, charge, according to the connection. This is
universally admitted. The most common and current acceptation of tha
word is indicated by the term ministry. Paul freqifently uses it in
this precise import.

In the passage under consideration there can be no difficulty in
ascertaining the meaning; for the ministration of the Spirit is con-
trasted with the ministration of death; ahd what is called the ministra-
tion of the Spirit is also called the ministration of righteousness; and
this again is contrasted with the ministration of condevmation. Now
the thing that was formerly ministered is in verse 6 called letter; and
the thing that is now ministered, is called spirit.

No passage in the Apostles' writings abounds more with strong
contrasts than this third chapter of the second Epistle to the Corinthi-
ans. "We have in it Old Institution and New Institution — tables of
stone, tables of the heart — letter and spirit — killing and making alive — •
ministry of Spirit, ministry of death, ministry of justification, ministry
of condemnation, ministry of Moses, ministry of the Apostles — Moses
veiled, the Apostles unveiled — fading glory, abounding glory — the thing
abolished, and the thing which continues.

The Apostle seems to have fallen into this mood by the petulance
of some who talked about his carrying letters of recommendation to
the church in Corinth. He told them that they themselves were Christ's
letters of recommendation to him, though ministered by himself and
his fellow-laborers, written not with ink, but by the Spirit of the living
God ; not on tables of stone, but on the fleshly tables of the heart.

Our present object, however, is only to ascertain the precise import
of the phrase ministry or ministration of the Spirit. The contrasts
drawn by the Apostle leaves no doubt on the mind of the attentive
student, that, by these words the Apostle only means the introduction
of the gospel, by the ministry of the Apostles, contrasted with the intro-
duction of the law by the service or ministry of Moses.

The contrast throughout is between tivo institutions — law and gospel
— letter and spirit — a system of condemnation, a system of justification
— death and life' — two writings — one on stone, and one on the heart —
one killing, the other making alive' — one veiled in figure, and one
unveiled — the one tending to bondage, the other to liberty.

The spirit, then, here is only another name for the gospel. This is
so evident that most critics and commentators of eminence assert it.
The reason is obvious — not indeed because the gospel was first preached
accompanied by "the gift of the Holy Spirit" — not because the Apostles


proclaimed the gospel with "the demonstration and manifestation of
the Spirit;" for Moses in the ministry of the letter was Eusiained by
tho Spirit of God, by various demonstrations of its presence and power;
but because the gospel is in part "the promise of the Spirit," and is
designed to minister the Holy Spirit to all the believers. That which is
begotten and born by the gospel is a new and holy spirit; or, in other
words, "that which is born of the Spirit is spirit," Hence by a
metonymy, a very common figure of speech in the sacred writings, the
gospel is sometimes called the spirit.

Illustrative and confirmatory of this, the reader has only to examine
the context in which this phrase occurs. The Old Institution or Testa-
ment is as often and as variously spoken of in this chapter as the New
Institution or the gospel. It is explained as "the law tcritten and
engraven on two tables of stone." It is by the same figure of speech
called "condemnation" — "death" — because it ministered condemnation
and death. It is said "to kill," while the gospel quickens or "makes

Now, whatever gives life gives spirit. The law gave no life, no
spirit, except that of bondage, because it killed — the gospel gives the
spirit of liberty and life, because it makes alive. The law was not,
however, naked or abstract death; neither is the gospel naked or
abstract spirit. The law was death clothed in words of threatening;
the gospel is spirit clothed in words of life.

This is not the only passage in which the Apostle thought and spoke
in this manner of contrast. AVe find him using the sane leading con-
trasts and giving the same designations to law and gospel. In Romans?,
seventh chapter, he contrasts the state under Moses and under Christ —
under the letter and the spirit. In the beginning of the 8th chapter
he asserts, "There is no condemnation to them under Christ;" because
under Christ he has before shown, "we are not under law, but under
favor." But here he adds, "Because the law of t.Re Spirit of life" —
t. e., the gospel coming by Jesus Christ, "has made me free from the
law of sin and death" — i. e., the letter. "We now serve in newness of
spirit, and not in oldness of the letter."

In the same context he ppeaks of living according to the flesh, and
according to the spirit; of living in the flesh and in the spirit; of hav-
ing both "Christ" and "the spirit of Christ" dwelling in us; of being
"led by the Spirit," and "having the Spirit of God dwelling in us."

In his letter to the Galatians he speaks in the same language:
"Walk by the Spirit," says he, "and you will not fulfill the lusts of
the flesh." "If you be led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. '
"Since we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit." And it Is
in this connection, when contrasting law and gospel, the walking by
the flesh and ihe walking by the Spirit, he speaks of


"the fkuit of the spirit."

This is opposed to the works of the flet,h, the offspring of that prin-
ciple, which under the law works death. The phrase "fruit of the
Spirit," in the connection in which it stands, is equivalent to the fruit
of the gospel. The gospel obeyed works out "love, joy, peace, Icng-
suffering, gentleness, goodness, fidelity, meekness, temperance: against
such fruit there is no law" (Gal. v.). Again, says Paul (Eph. v. 8).
"Walk as children of light." (Now the fruit of this light [the Spirit]
consists in all goodness, and righteousness, and truth.) "Be filled with
the Spirit." "Let the word of Christ dwell richly in you," "singing
psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs." Thus the phrases "Being filled
with the Spirit," and "Having the word of Christ [gospel] dwelling
richly in the heart,' are explained by the same injunction to sing
psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, with grateful hearts to the Lord.
Compare Eph. v. 18, 19, and Col. iii. 16.

If, then (as I presume the intelligent will perceive), the phrase
'^ministration of the Spirit" mean the introduction of the gospel by
the ministry of the Apostles; and ''the fruit of the Spirit" mean the
practical results of the gospel in the heart, or the gospel obeyed; and
thus the term "spirit," in the style of the Apostles, occasionally means
no more than the gospel, may it not be said that receiving the gospel
into the heart, is, in the Apostles' sense, receiving the Spirit?

This question at least deserves a careful and devout examination.
It is obvious that Christ is received by receiving the gospel; and if
Christ be received by receiving the gospel, why not the Spirit of
God also?

But where is the proof that Christ is received by receiving the
gospel? "He came to his own people, and they received him not —
believed not in him; but to as many as received him to them he gave
power to become the sons of God," etc. To receive a person, is to
receive him crediting and cordially recognizing him in his own proper
character. "As you have received Christ Jesus the Lord," walk by his
directions. Thus they who credit his word, receive him; and are there-
fore said to "have Christ in them." "If Christ be in you," says Paul
to the Romans, "the body is dead as respects sin." ''That Christ map
dwell in your hearts by faith." "Christ liveth in me."

There was, then, a receiving of Christ, familiarly spoken of in the
age of the Apostles; and there was a receiving of the grace of God,
and a receiving of the Spirit also, in receiving the gospel. There was
a dwelling and living of Christ in the heart; nay, there was an inhabi-
tation of God himself in the hearts of the believers. For "if a man
love me," says the Messiah, "he will keep my word, and my Father
will love him, and we will come and make our abode xvith him." "Be-


hold,' says Jesus, "I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear
my voice and open the door, I will enter and sup with him and ne
with me." "Our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesua
Christ our Lord."

But besides this indirect and figurative reception of the Spirit of
Cod, the Holy Spirit, by the gospel; these gracious influences, sugges-
tions, illuminations, consolations and invigorating impulses of the good
Spirit of God, by and through the gospel in the heart, making the
heart a cistern, a fountain whence living waters constantly flow; is
there not a substantive, a real and unfigurative reception of the Holy
Spirit himself, in the sense of the question Paul asked the Galatians
(iii. 2), "Did you receive the Spirit by works of law, or by obedience
of faith?"

Such a reception of the Spirit there certainly was; and of this "gift
of the Holy Spirit," this "demonstration of the Spirit," this "manifes-
tation of the Spirit," these "spiritual gifts," we have already spoken as
conferred upon the firstfruits in the last days of the Jewish age — in
the setting up of the kingdom of the Messiah; but of such a reception
of the Si)irit since the last 1)ay.s of the Jewish age, since the creation
of one new man of believing Jews and Gentiles, and the breathing into
him the holy spirit of this new life, there has been no substaniive,
abstract and literal communication of the Holy Spirit to any man. Such
is the experience of all the catholic congregation of Christ. There has
arisen no prophet, no originator of new ideas, no worker of miracles, no
controller of nature's laws, no person having any manifestation of the
Spirit, or showing any divine power among me".

Now these manifestations of the Spirit were for the benefit of the
community; but the Holy Spirit as now promised and received through
the gospel, is for the benefit of the subject himself. There are, how-
ever, other phrases and terms found in the Christian Scriptures which
require our attention, and when correctly appreciated farther illus-
trate and confirm the preceding.

Although with respect to various misconceptions of what is writ-
ten on this subject, we have enlarged our remarks beyond the limits
of literary investigation, still we aimed at no more in this essay than
a fair and full examination of the phrases •'ministration of the Spirit,"
one acceptation of the word "Spirit," the "fruit of the Spirit," and
"receiving of the Spirit." If we have ascertained these, it is all the
merit we claim for the present essay.

The following Scriptural phrases are worthy of special considera-
tion, in attempting to understand what the Scriptures teach of the
Influence of the Holy Spirit, in the hearts of believers: —

"The Spirit bears witness with our spirit." — "Grieve not the Spirit."
— "Quench not the Spirit." — "Led by the Spirit." — "Walk in the


Spirit."— "Live after tlie Spirit."— "Strengthened witli might by the
Spirit in the inward man."— "Sanctification of the Spirit." — "Immers-
ing into the name of the Holy Spirit."— "Communion of the Holy

That the Spirit of God does influence believers, or work in their
hearts, to think, will, and do, according to the good pleasure of God,
is a proposition that no person, who has paid an ordinary attention
to the writings of the Apostles and Prophets, can reasonably deny.

But concerning the nature, manner, aad extent of this influence or
operation, real Christians have differed and may differ again, in their
apprehensions and communications. Our province is to understand and
teach the meaning of the words and sentences, which the inspired
writers have used on this subject, judging that when these are fairly
and fully, that is, grammatically and logically understood, we are in
possession of the ideas which God designed to communicate to us.

We have clearly seen in the examinations already completed, that
the Spirit of God was the author of all the supernatural intelligence,
wisdom, and power, which appear in the writings and doings of all
God's messengers to men: — and that he is the author of all genuine
goodness in the human heart, is quite apparent. We have also dis-
cerned, that all the converting power — or saving power, which the
Spirit of God exerts on the human mind, is now in and by the word
written, read or heard; for that where this word has never been heard
or known, not one supernatural idea exists; — not one ray of spiritual
or celestial light has shone.

" 'Tis midnight with the soul, till he,
Bright Morning Star, bid darkness flee."

But whether this influence is direct or indirect; in the word only,
or without the word; abstract and naked, or clothed with light and
motive; have been, and still are, questions undecided by many. To
assist such persons, ia our supreme object in instituting the present
investigation of words and phrases; and as we have already afflrmed,
we are now only concerned to know and communicate the true intent
and meaning of the Scripture style, as though we were examining a
matter, on which we had formed no opinion ourselves.

Before we resume our philological labors in the phrases now before
us for examination, it may be expedient to remark, with a special
reference to the difficulties of some of the more thoughtful on this
subject, that, — the %chole work of the Holy Spirit in the Apostles'
time, was not to originate new ideas, fior to clothe men with super-
natural and extraordinary powers; — such as speaking foreign lan-
guages, and tongues unkyiown before, and in controlling or suspending
the laws of physical nature; but in strengthening the m.ind and mem-
ory, and in reviving the recollections of things said and done, in


time lung past, — and in reproducing the exact images of things ichich
had vanished from the mind. This is now simply premised, in refer-
ence to some phrases shortly to be examined; and to furnish to the
curious speculators on this subject, some data, which at least are
entitled to their consideration.

But we proceed to the phrase, "The Spirit itself beareth witness
with our spirit, that we are the children of God" (Rom. viii. 16 —
Com. ver.). "Also the Spirit itself beareth witness together with our
spirit, that we are the children of God." — Macknight. "Also this
Spirit bears witness together with our spirit, that we are children of
God." — New version, fourth edition.

The preceding verse, which reads, "You have received the Spirit
of adoption, by which we cry, Abba Father;" seems to present the
argument thus, "But this Spirit of adoption is not the only proof that
the believing Gentiles are the adopted sons of God: for in addition
to this, the spirit which has thus breathed into our hearts the Spirit
of adoption, has also borne, and still bears witness to our sonship, by
the spiritual gifts bestowed on the believing Gentiles.

Two witnesses are adduced by the Apostles, concurring in the estab-
lishment of the fact, that believing Gentiles are divinely constituted
sons of God. The first is the Spirit of adoption, which they had indi-
vidually received; infusing into their hearts the cry, "Abba, Father;"
the other, the extraordinary gifts, or the manifestations of the Spirit,
bestowed equally upon the Gentiles, at, and after, their first calling
into the kingdom of Jesus.

As Dr. Macknight well observes, "God is said to have sealed the
believing Gentiles as his sons, by giving them the Spirit" (II. cor.
i. 22; V. 5; Eph. i. 13, 14). "By the Spirit's witness, we are to under-
stand a particular revelation to individuals," the same translator dis-
tinctly aflSrms.

I have learned from Prof. Stuart's version of the Epistle to the
Romans, and his notes on this passage, which appeared since my dis-
sertation in 1830, on the twenty-sixth and twenty-seventh verses of
this chapter, that I was not alone as I then apprehended, in supposing
the Spirit of adoption to be "the Spirit that intercedes for us, in
sighs which can not be uttered;" for he testifies, page 324. that those
who regard the Spirit of adoption spoken of in the fifteenth verse, to
be the same with the spirit spoken of in the sixteenth verse, "compare
this with verses twenty-six and twenty-seven, which they construe in
the same way."

"For a long time," says the Professor, "I preferred this interpre-
tation;" that is, making the Spirit of God (verse 16) the same as the
Spirit of adoption (verse 15). "But." he adds, "repeated and atten-
tive study of the whole passage in the connection, has of late brought


me to a pretty full persuasion, that auto to pneuma (verse 16) is the
same as pneuma theou (verse 14);" or that the Spirit of God, rather
than the Spirit of adoption, is intended in verse 16. I may add, that
Professor Stuart in his version, renders the verse in examination,
thus — "The same Spirit beareth witness to our spirit, that we are
children of God." This may be sustained by Rom. ii. 15; ix. 1; but
is not in so full accord with the word summarturei, according to the
grammatical construction of the Greek language, as in the new ver-
sion. The Professor's version would, however, better express my
views of the passage than the new version, if it could be as well sus-
tained. For it is to our spirit the witness is offered at last, read it
as we may. I would paraphrase the passage thus: "The Spirit of
God by his demonstrations or seal vouchsafed to the believing Gen-
tiles, as well as to believing Jews, bears witness to our understanding
in conjunction with the Spirit of adoption, which we have individually
received, that we are children of God.

When we speak of testimony or witness, there are two things
always to be taken into consideration; — the fact or proposition in sup-
port of which the testimony is presented, — and the person or persons
to whom the testimony is offered. There is something to be proved,
and some person to whom or for whom it is to be proved. Now, a
person can not be both the subject and the object of the same testi-

Online LibraryAlexander CampbellThe Millennial Harbinger abridged (Volume 1) → online text (page 17 of 70)