Page images
PDF
EPUB

yours too.

6. It also signifies design, will, purpose.

“ A fool uttereth all his mind," literally, spirit, « Prov. xxix. 11. “ And the spirit of Egypt shall fail in the midst thereof, and I will destroy • the counsel thereof,” Is. xix. 3. “Who has directed the Spirit of the Lord, or being his counsellor has taught him ?." Is. xl. 13.

It is evident therefore,' says he, that the word spirit, when spoken of God, is to be always ' understood, either in the fifth, or the sixth and last acceptation of the word, according as the coherence and circumstances of things direct.' This

passage of Maimonides, which I have here transcribed at length, has been taken notice of by divers learned Christian writers.*

My design leads me to observe those texts only of the Old and New Testament, where the word spirit is spoken of God, or such other, as may tend to explain those texts.

And, first of all, I think, that in many places the Spirit, or the Spirit of God, or the Holy Ghost, is equivalent to God himself.

The spirit of a man is the same as man. So the Spirit of God must be the same as God himself. 1 Cor. ii. 11. " What man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man, that is in him? Even so the things of God knoweth no man, (or no one] but the Spirit of God.”

1 Cor. xvi. 17, 18. “ I am glad of the coming of Stephanas, and Fortunatus, and Achaicus For they have refreshed my spirit

, and yours:” that is, me and you. Or, as Mr. Locke paraphraseth the place. · For by the account, which they have given me of you, they have quieted my mind, and

Gal. vi. 18. « The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit:" that is, with you, 2 Tim. iv. 20. “ The Lord Jesus Christ be with thy spirit,” or with thee.

Ps. cxxxix. “ Whither shall I go from thy Spirit ?” that is, from Thee. « Or whither shall I flee from thy presence ?". In like manner it is said, with regard to Moses.. Ps. cvi. 33. “ because they provoked his spirit,” meaning him.

Is. lxiii. 10). “. But they rebelled, and vexed his Holy Spirit.” Which in other texts is expressed in this manner. Numb, xix. 11. “ And the Lord said unto Moses : How long will this people provoke me!" Ps. lxxviü. 56. “ Yet they tempted, and provoked the most high God, and kept not his testimonies.” Ps. xcv. “ When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my work.”

Soul is a word resembling spirit, and often signifies man, or person. Lev. iv. 2. « If a soul shall sin through ignorance" -Acts ii. 41. “ And the same day were added to them three thousand souls.” So likewise ch. vii. 14. and in very many other places.

And my soul is the same as I, or myself. Gen. xii. 13. “ And my soul shall live because of thee.” ch. xix. 10. “ that my soul may bless thee, before I die." 2 Sam. iv. 9. “ As the Lord liveth, who has redeerned my soul out of all adversity." Job x. 1. “ My soul is weary of my life." See also. eh. vii. 15. Ps. xxxv. 9. “ And my soul shall be joyful in the Lord.” Is. lxi. 10. “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord: my soul shall be joyful in my God.” Matt. xxvi. 38. 66 My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death." The Divine Being himself sometimes adopts this form of speech. Is. i. 14.

Your new moons, and your appointed feasts, my soul hateth. They are a trouble unto me. I am weary to bear them.” Where, .my soul' is the same as I, which is in the following clause.

Is. xlii. 1. My elect, in whom my soul delighteth,” or, in whom I delight. Compare Matt. xii. 18. And see Jer. V. 9. ch. vi. 8. and other places.

Secondly, By the Spirit of God, or the Spirit, or the Holy Ghost, is often meant the power, or wisdom of God, or his will and command.

Ps. xxxiii. 6. By the word of the Lord were the heavens made: and all the host of them by the breath (or spirits of his mouth.” Where the word of the Lord, and the breath of his mouth, are all one. All things came into being, and were disposed by his will, at his word and command.

In like manner Job xxvi. 13. “ By his spirit he has garnished the heavens: his hand has formed the crooked serpent:" that is, the winding constellation in the heavens, which we call the milky-way, or the galaxy. The spirit, or the hand of God, which are both one, has formed all those things. Micah ii. 7. “O thou that art named the house of Jacob, is the spirit of the Lord straitened ?" A part of Mr. Lowth's note upon which words is thus : • Is God's hand or power shortened ?? Comp. Is. lix. 1. “ Behold, the Lord's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save.”

* Selden de Synedr. L. 2, c. 4. & ii, iv. S. Basnag. Exercitationes in Baron. p. 45.

Zach. iv. 6. “Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.” Here Mr. Lowth's note is to this purpose. • Zerubabel and Joshua, with the Jews under their • conduct, shall finish the temple, and re-establish the Jewish state, not by force of arms, or of • human power, but by the secret assistance of my providence.' Luke i. 35. “ And the angel answered, and said unto her : The

Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee.” The latter words explain the former. And the Holy Ghost is said to be the same as the power of God. Where likewise it follows: “ Therefore also that holy thing, which shall be born of thee, shall be called the Son of God.”

Matt. xii. 28. “ But if I cast out dæmons by the spirit of God, then is the kingdom of God come unto you.” Luke xi. 20. “ But if I with the finger of God cast out dæmons, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you.

So that the finger of God, or the Spirit of God, is the same as the power of God, or God himself. As St. Peter says, Acts ii. 22. “ Ye men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders, and signs, which God did by him, in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know.”

To which two texts of St. Matthew and St. Luke, just alleged, may be added, as very similar, if not exactly parallel, some others. 2 Cor. iii. 3. “ Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the spirit of the living God: not in tables of stone, but in fleshly tables of the heart.” Undoubtedly alluding to what is said of the two tables containing the ten commandments. Ex. xxxi. 18. and Deut. ix. 10. that they were written by the finger of God, or miraculously by God himself. So also Ps. viii. 3. “When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained.” See Patrick upon Ex. xxxi. 18.

Thirdly, by the Spirit, or the Spirit of God, or the Holy Ghost, is oftentimes meant an extraordinary gift from God of power, wisdom, knowledge and understanding.

Sometimes hereby is intended courage, or wisdom, or some one particular advantage only. At other times hereby is intended a plentiful effusion of a variety of spiritual gifts.

For which reason it will be needful to allege, under this article, many texts both from the Old and the New Testament.

Ex. xxxi. 1–7. “ And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, See I have called by name Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. And I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship, to devise cunning work in gold, and in silver, and in brass — And behold, I have given with him Aholiab, and in the hearts of all that are wise-hearted, I have put wisdom, that they may make all that I bave commanded thee.” See also ch. xxxv. 30–35, and xxxiv. 1, 2.

Numb. xi. 16, 17. " And the Lord said unto Moses, Gather to me seventy men of the elders of the people :—and I will take of the spirit which is upon thee, and will put

it

upon them.” No one understands hereby that God intended to take from Moses a spiritual being, or part of a spiritual being : but that he determined to bestow upon those elders qualifications of wisdom and understanding, resembling those in Moses, by which he was so eminent and distinguished.

Afterwards it is said, ver. 25, 26. “ And the Lord came down in a cloud, and spake unto: him, and took of the spirit that was upon him, and gave it unto the seventy elders. And it came to pass, that when the spirit rested upon them, they prophesied, and did not cease:” meaning for some while. “ But there remained two of the men in the camp: and the spirit rested upon them ;-—and they prophesied in the camp.”

• Again, Matt. xii. 28, “If I cast out devils by the this power the man Christ was enabled to cast out devils. For spirit of God, then the kingdom of Gud. is come unto you." he speaks of himself here in his human, not in his divine naHere the spirit of God does not signify the Holy Ghost, or ture, according to the notion, which the pharisees had of him; the third person of the Holy Trinity, but the power of God; as is plain from his styling himself the Son of man, in the as appears from the parallel passage in St. Luke xi. 20, where sequel of his discourse to them.' Abraham Le Moine's Trea, instead of the spirit of God, we read the finger of God. By tise on Miracles. p. 50.

Deut. xxxiv. 9. " And Joshua was full of the spirit of wisdom: for Moses had laid his hands upon him.”

Judges iii. 10. " And the spirit of the Lord came upon him, [Othniel) and he judged Israel, and went out to war-And his hand prevailed against Chushan-rishathaim.

Judges vi. 34. “ But the spirit of the Lord came upon Gideon.” Ch. xi. 29. “ Then the spirit of the Lord came upon Jephthah.”

Ch. xiv. 5, 6. " Then went Samson down, and his father and his mother, to Timnath : and behold a young lion roared against him: and the spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him: and he rent him as he would have rent a kid : and he had nothing in his hand.” See likewise ch. xv. 14.

2 Sam. xxiii. 1—3. “ Now these be the last words of David. David the son of Jesse said, and the man, who was raised up on high, the anointed of the God of Jacob, and the sweet Psalmist of Israel, said, The spirit of the Lord spake by me, and his word was in my tongue. The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me: he that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God.”

2 Chron. xx. 14, 15. “ Then upon Jahaziel, the son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, a Levite of the sons of Asaph, came the spirit of the Lord, in the midst of the congregation. And he said : Hearken ye, all Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem”- Another instance of what Maimonides calls divine influence, whereby a man is enabled to prophesy, or give counsel from God in a difficult circumstance, as that was with the people of Judah.

So Ezek. xi. 4, 5. “ Therefore prophesy against them, (prophesy,] O son of man. And the spirit of the Lord fell upon me, and said unto me: Speak, thus saith the Lord”- And St. Peter says, 2 Ep. i. 20, 21. Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation, [impulse or suggestion.] For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost,” or by the divine influence. As St. Paul also says, 2 Tim. iii. 16. “ All scripture is given by inspiration of God.”

1 Chron. xii. 18. “ Then the spirit came upon Amasai, who was chief of the captains, and he said : Thine are we, David, and on thy side, thou son of Jesse. Peace be unto thee, and peace be to thy helpers. For thy God helpeth thee. Then David received them.” Patrick's comment is to this purpose : • The spirit of power, saith the Targum : that is, God powerfully * moved him with an heroical boldness and resolution, in the name of them all to protest fidelity • to David, in such pathetical words, as convinced him they were friends.'

2 Kings ii. 9. “ And it came to pass, when they were gone over [Jordan) that Elijah said unto Elisha: Ask, what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee. And Elisha said : I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me.”

By which some have supposed, that Elisha begged to have as much more of the spirit as Elijah had. But as that would be arrogance, the best commentators rather think, he only desired, that he might be as the eldest, or first-born among his fellow-disciples : even as the first, born in a family had a double portion to that of other children. See thereafter, ver. 15. and Deut. xxi. 17, and Grotius and Patrick upon this text. All must be sensible, that a gift, not a person is here intended.

Prov. i. 23. “ Turn you at my reproof. Behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you. I will make known my words unto you." • That is, I will teach you, and enable you to under• stand the rules of virtue and holiness; which if you follow, you will be happy.'

Zech. xii. 10. “ And I will pour out upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and supplications.” Which cannot imply a promise of pouring out upon them a transcendent being or spirit: but of giving them the temper, the qualification, the disposition of grace and supplication.

There are also in the Old Testament promises of the spirit relating to the Messiah.

Is. xi. 1–3. “ And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse—And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge, and of the fear of the Lord. And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord.”

Is. lxii. 2. “ Behold my servant, whom I uphold, my elect, in whom my soul delighteth. I have put my spirit upon him. He shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.'

answer.

And the promises of the spirit, in the times of the Messiah, import also a plentiful effusion of spiritual gifts.

Is. xliv. 3. “ And I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground. I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thy offspring. 39. Acts ii. 17, 18. And see Is. lix. 2. 'Ezek. xi. 19. xxxvi. 27. xxxvii

. 14. xxxix. 29. Joel ii. 28, 29. “ And it shall come to pass afterwards, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh. And your sons and your daughters shall prophesy. Your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions. And also upon the servants, and the handmaids, in those days will I pour out my spirit.” See Acts ii. 17, 18.

In all which texts, as seems very evident, by the spirit, and the spirit of God, and the spirit of the Lord, is meant not a being, or intelligent agent, but a power, a gift, a favour, a blessing.

I proceed to the New Testament, in which likewise many texts are to be taken notice of by us.

Matt. X. 19, 20. “ But when they deliver you up, take no thought how, or what ye shall speak. For it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. For it is not ye that speak, but the spirit of your f'ather which speaketh in you.”

Mark xiii. 11. “ But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate. But whatsoerer shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye. For it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost.”

Luke xii. 11, 12. “ And when they bring you unto the synagogues, and unto magistrates, and powers ; take ye no thought how, or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall say. For the Holy Ghost shall teach you, in that same hour, what ye ought to say."' Luke xxi. 14, 15. “ Settle it therefore in your hearts, not to meditate before, what ye

shall For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, [or wise speech,] which all your

adversaries shall not be able to gainsay, or resist.'

How these and the like promises were afterwards fulfilled, when the apostles of Christ, and other his disciples, were brought before the Jewish or other rulers and governors, we see in their history, recorded in the book of the Acts. Of St. Stephen, in particular, it is said, ch. vi. 9, 10.

“ Then there arose certain, disputing with Stephen. And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit, by which he spake.

John iii. 34. “ For he, whom God hath sent, speaketh the words of God. For God giveth not the spirit by measure unto him.” Here by the spirit, as I

Here by the spirit, as I suppose, all understand a gift. John vii. 37–39. “ In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood, and cried, saying: If any man thirst, let him come to me and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. But this spake he of the spirit, which they that believe on him should receive. For the Holy Ghost was not yet given, because that Jesus was not yet glorified.”

Here also, as is very plain, by the spirit, and the Holy Ghost, is meant a gift, or a plentiful effusion of spiritual gifts.

John xx. 19-22. “ Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the weekcame Jesus, and stood in the midst, and saith unto them: Peace be unto you-As my Father hath sent me, even so I send you. And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them: Receive

ye the Holy Ghost :” that is, he encouraged them to rely upon him for the fulfilment of the promise he had made, that they should receive from above sufficient qualifications for the discharge of their high office. Which actually came to pass on the day of Pentecost next ensuing

Acts i. 4, 5. “ And being assembled together with them, he commanded them, that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, Which, saith he, ye have heard of me.” (Luke xxiv. 49.] “ For John truly baptized with water : but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost, not many days hence." Which cannot be understood of a per. son. The meaning therefore is : ye shall be favoured with a plentiful effusion of spiritual gifts. As the event likewise shows. See John i. 33. and Acts xi. 16.

Ver. 8. “ But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you."
Acts ii. 1-4. “ And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one

accord in one place. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the spirit gave them utterance.”

When all men wondered at this strange appearance, and some mocked; ver. 14–18. Peter, standing up, says,

“ This is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel. And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh. And your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your old men shall dream dreams. And on my servants and my handinaidens I will pour out my spirit, and they shall prophesy."

Ver. 33. “ Therefore being by the right hand of God, exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth, Cor poured out,] this, which ye now see and hear."

Ver. 38. “ Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized— in the name of Jesus Christ and

ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” Acts iv. 8. “ Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel

- Ver. 21. “ And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together, and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost. And they spake the word with boldness. Ver. 33. And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon all.”

Acts iv. 3. “ Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.” Ver. 5. And the saying pleased the whole multitude. And they chose Stephen, full of the Holy Ghost, and Philip.” Ver. 8. “ And Stephen full of faith and power did great wonders and miracles among the people.” Ver. 9. “ Then there arose certain, — disputing with Stephen.” Ver. 10. “ And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake.”

Acts viii. 14. “ Now when the apostles, which were at Jerusalem, heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John.” Ver. 15. - Who when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: for as yet he was fallen upon none of them. Only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

Ver. 17. “ Then laid they their hands on them; and they received the Holy Ghost." Ver. 18. “ And when Simon saw, that through laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Gost was given, he offered them money.

And what follows. Acts x. 44, “ While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.” Ver. 45. “ And they of the circumcision which believed, were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.” Ver. 46. “ For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God.” Ver. 47. “ Then answered Peter : Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?”

Acts xi. 16, 17. • Forasmuch then, as God gave them the like gift, as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus; what was I, that I could withstand God ?” Ch. xv. 18. And God, which knows the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, as he did unto us.'

I have omitted Acts ix. 17. and x. 38, for the sake of brevity, and as not being necessary to be now insisted upon. The paragraph in Acts xix. 1—7. will be considered hereafter among the texts that are to be explained.

Rom. v. 5. “ And hope maketh not ashamed, because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given to us."

Tit. iii. 5, 6.—" according to his mercy he has saved us by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost, which he shed on us, [has poured out upon us, ou EŽELEEV EQ mpas,] abundantly, through Jesus Christ our Saviour.”

Heb. ii. 4. “ God also bearing them witness both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will."

• And gifts of the Holy Ghost.” It should be rather rendered, and distributions of the Holy Ghost : και πνευματος αγια μερισμοις. A remarkable expression, plainly declaring that by the Holy Ghost, or the Holy Spirit, was meant those spiritual gifts which came down upon men from heaven immediately, or were communicated in great variety, by the laying on of the hands of the apostles.

« PreviousContinue »