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** Jesus returned in the power of the spirit into Galilee,” fully qualified for the discharge of his high office, both for teaching his excellent doctrine, and for confirming it by miracles. And there went out a fame of him through all the regions round about. And he taught in their syna. gogues, being glorified of all.” So our Lord said to his disciples, as recorded Acts i. 8. “ Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you.” Or, as it is in the margin of some of our Bibles : “ Ye shall receive the power of the Holy Ghost coming upon you."
3. Matt. xii. 31. “ Wherefore I say unto you: All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men. But the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.” And see ver. 32. Compare also Mark jii. and Luke xii.
Dr. Wall, who upon John xvi. 13. p. 113. asserts the personality of the Spirit, explains this 'text of St. Matthew after this manner, p. 15. • A man that sees plainly the effects of a present
supernatural power, which, he must be convinced in conscience, is the finger, or spirit, or im• mediate miraculous power of God: (which is that, which is here called the Holy Spirit, or • Holy Ghost :) and yet will maliciously blaspheme, or speak blasphemous words against it : (that it is the devil, or that the devil helps the man that does it: such an one blasphemes God • himself, showing himself, or his miraculous power, at that time from heaven.'
. In Luke xi. 20. What is here called “ the Holy Ghost,” is there called “the finger of God.” • And so the Egyptian magicians, when convinced, called it. Ex. viii. 19.'
Afterwards, in the same note, at p. 16, he says: In Acts ii. 13. there was a miraculous power of God, enabling the apostles to speak with tongues. Some, who did not conceive it to • be any spirit, or miraculous power, mocked at it. These were not denounced to be in any unpardonable state.'
Nothing more needs to be said for the explication of that text in St. Matthew, and the parallel • places in the other gospels.
4. Matt. xxviii. 19. « Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” That is, Go ye therefore into all the ' world, and teach, or disciple-all nations, baptizing them into the profession of faith in, and • an obligation to obey the doctrine taught by Christ, with authority from God the Father, and .. confirmed by the Holy Ghost.'a.
By the Holy Ghost, as I apprehend, we are here to understand the miracles of our Saviour's ministry, and likewise the miracles wrought by his apostles, and the spiritual gifts bestowed upon the apostles, and other disciples of Jesus, and all believers in general, soon after our Lord's ascension, and all the miraculous attestations of the truth and divine original of the doctrine taught by Jesus Christ.
It is observable, that the baptismal form, which is in St. Matthew, never appears in those very words, either in the book of the Acts, or in any of the Epistles. But men are required to be “ baptized in the name of Christ,” or said to have been “ baptized into Christ." That is, they made a profession of faith in Jesus as the Christ, and acknowledged their obligation to obey him, by being haptized. Acts ii. 38. ~ Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ." Ch. viii, 16. “Only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus." See likewise ver. 35–38. Rom. vi. 3. “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ, were baptized into his death ?”. Gal. iii. 27. “ For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ, have put on Christ."
But though the form which is in St. Matthew, never appears elsewhere, the thing intended thereby is always implied. Nor could any be brought to make a profession of faith in Jesus, as the Christ, but upon the supposition that he had taught in the name and with the authority of God the Father, and had proved his commission by miraculous attestations, which could not be denied nor gaipsayed.
5. John xvi. 7. “ Nevertheless I tell you the truth: it is expedient for you that I go away,
aro Baptizing (them with water,] in the name of the
Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost :'' that is, • receiving them to a profession of the belief of, and an obli
gation to the practice of that religion, which God the Father • has revealed and taught by the Son, and confirmed and es.
tablished by the Holy Ghost.' Dr. Clarke's Paraphrase,
"The true meaning is, baptizing into the profession of that doctrine, which is the mind and counsel of God the • Father, made known to mankind by the Son, and confirmed
by the mighty operations of the Holy Ghost. Mr. Jo. Bwr. roughs's two Discourses on positive Institutions, p. 41,
For if I go not away the Comforter will not come unto you :" which agrees with what our Lord says, John vii. 37–39. and with the evangelist's own remark; “ For the Holy Ghost was not yet given, because that Jesus was not yet glorified.”
The fitness and wisdom of deferring the plentiful effusion of the Holy Ghost for illuminating the apostles, and removing their prejudices, and enabling them to teach the doctrine of Christ with perspicuity, and to confirm it by wonderful works, must be apparent to all who consider what evidence was thereby afforded to the truth of their testimony concerning the resurrection and ascension of Jesus.
Ver. 8–11. “ And when he is come, he will reprove, for convince the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment : of sin, because they believe not on me : of righteousness, because I go to the Father, and ye see me no more: of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.”
If we recollect the many texts which have been already alleged, and particularly what our Lord says in John vii. 37-39. just now taken notice of, we shall find no great difficulty in understanding this text.
“ And when he is come.” It is not to be hence argued, that the Holy Ghost had never come before. But hereby is meant a certain coming, a plentiful effusion of the Holy Ghost, foretold by the prophets, and by our Lord.
The Spirit had in former times come upon Moses and the prophets. For, as St. Peter says, 2 Epist. i. 21. “ Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”
And after a long withdrawing of the Spirit of God, or withholding extraordinary powers and gifts, from the Jewish people, about the time of our Saviour's nativity, we see divers instances of the divine influence and operation in Zacharias, father of John the Baptist, and Elizabeth, and Anna, and Simeon, and then on John the Baptist; who undoubtedly taught, and preached, and prophesied by the Holy Ghost, though he did no miracles. The Holy Spirit came down also upon our Lord in a glorious manner, and there were visible tokens of it: whereby John knew him to be the Messiah, the great person, who was to come : and he had “ the Spirit without measure," John iii. 34. The Holy Ghost must likewise have been given, during the time of our Lord's abode on this earth, in a certain measure, upon several, particularly the twelve apostles, and the seventy other disciples, in order to qualify them for the discharge of the commis. sion, which our Lord gave them for a time, to go over the cities of Judea, and prepare men for him. And of the seventy it is expressiy said, “ they returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the dæmons are subject to us through thy name," Luke x. 17.
« By the coming of the Holy Ghost," then, is to be understood, in this place, a general and plentiful effusion of spiritual gifts upon the apostles themselves, and upon other believers in the Lord Jesus, such as that related in the Acts: when the disciples, who had followed the Lord in the time of his ministry, and still continued together, and afterwards many others likewise, were enabled on a sudden to speak in divers languages, which they had never learned, and to perform many great and extraordinary works in the name of Jesus Christ.
Indeed this coming of the Comforter, or the Holy Ghost, comprehends in it all manner of spiritual gifts ; not only those just mentioned, but also a clear and distinct knowledge of divine things, even the truths of the doctrine of Christ, and the whole scheme of the gospel dispensation : and prophesying, or foretelling things to come, as well as working miracles, and also readiness of speech, and a becoming degree of courage and boldness in the midst of dangers, and in the presence of the greatest personages; qualifications, of which the disciples had been hitherto very destitute.
The several particulars, sin, righteousness, and judgment, of which the world would be convinced by the plentiful effusion of the Spirit, here spoken of, need not to be distinctly explained. The sum is, that hereby the progress of the Gospel would be secured. This large and general effusion of spiritual gifts would be a persuasive and satisfactory evidence of the resurrection and ascension of Jesus, and that he was the promised Messiah, through whom all nations of the earth were to be blessed. Or, as John the Baptist expresseth it: And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me: Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. And I saw, and bare record, that this is the Son of God,” John i. 33, 34.
And with great force, as well as propriety, do the apostles say to the Jewish council, as rc.
corded Acts v. 29–32. “ Then Peter, and the (other) apostles said: We ought to obey God, rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus whom ye slew, and hanged on a tree. Hii hath God exalted with his right hand, to be a prince, and a saviour, to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. And we are his witnesses of these things. And so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God has given to them that obey him: “That is, say those judicious comimentators, Lenfant and Beausobre, - the miraculous gifts which Jesus had bestowed upon his « zpostles, and which they conferred upon believers.'
6. Acts i. 2. after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles, whom he had chosen."
Or, as in the Syriac, version, « after that he had given commandments to the apostles, whom he had chosen by the Holy Spirit:” that is, by special direction from heaven. Which is very agreeable to what St. Luke writes, chap. vi. 12, 13. “ And it came to pass in thosc days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God:' or, in an oratory of God. " And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples. And of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles.” Indeed a right choice of the apostles of Christ depended upon no less than infinite wisdom. And when another was to be added to the eleven, after the apostasy, and “ death of Judas, they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, and Matthias. And they prayed, and said: Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, show, whether of these two thou hast chosen.” Acts i. 23, 24.
7. Acts v. 3, 4. “ Then Peter said: Ananias, why has Satan filled thy heart, to lie unto the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?- Thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God-Then Peter said unto her: [Sapphira] How is it that ye have agreed together, to tempt the Spirit of the Lord ?"
They tempted the Spirit of the Lord. They acted, as if they had doubted of the divine omniscience, like the Israelites in the wilderness, of whom it is said, Psal. lxxviii. 18, 19, 20. “ And they tempted God in their heart, by asking meat for their lust. They said, Can God furnish a table in the wilderness ?—Can he give bread also? Can he provide flesh for his people?" And as the apostles were plainly under an extraordinary divine influence and direction, when Ananias and Sapphira attempted to impose upon them by a false account, they were justly said to lie to God himself, and not to men only.
Athanasius, speaking of this matter, says: So that he who lied to the Holy Spirit, lied "unto God, who dwells in men by his Spirit. For where the Spirit of God is, there is God. • As it is said: “Hereby know we, that God dwelleth in us, because he has given us of his spirit.” 1 John iv. 33.
8. Acts viii. 18, 19. " And when Simon saw, that through laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money, saying: “ Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I shall lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost.”
Mr. Le Moine explains this text in his treatise on miracles, p. 189. • And when he saw; that through laying on of their hands, the Holy Ghost, or the power of working miracles, was • given, he offered them money, to have the same power.'
So then the Holy Ghost, which was bestowed upon believers by the apostles, was the power of miracles, or an extraordinary power, by which the believers might perform miraculous works.
9. Acts ix. 31. “ Then had the churches rest throughout all Judea, and Galilee, and Sa. maria, and were edified. And walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost were multiplied.
What is here said of the churches does in a great measure coincide with what we find in chap. ii. 42, 43, and 46, 47.
" and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost.” EV Ty ne pennygel 78 0718 WVEULRTOS. Which might
e Le S. Esprit.'7 Ce sont les dons miraculeux, dont J. C. avoit revêtu ses Apôtres, et qu'ils conféroient aux fidè. les. Act. ii. 33. viii. 15, 17. Note sur les Actes des Apôtres. Chap. v. ver. 32.
o Act. i. 2. Verba, dia aveuLaTos ay8, quæ plerique ad EYTELNAU svos referunt, construxit - Syrus cum EEELEEato: * quos [apostolos] elegerat per Spiritum Sanctom- Ex niente Syri interpretis hoc dicit Lucas: Christum non ex
suâ voluntate apostolos legisse, sed ex nutu Patris, qui per Spiritum Sanctum tanto munere dignos candidatos Filio demonstraverit. J. D. Michaelis Curæ in Versionem Syriacam Actuum Apostolorum, p. 1.
• Ωςε ο ψευσαμενος τω αγια πνευματι, τω Θεω εψευσατο w XAT 01X8VTI EX av Qpu'TTOIS dia 78 WYEUMATOS AUT8. ʻOT8 yap ESITO WvEvua 6€8, EXEI ESIY Ở Deos. X. d. Athan. De Incarnat, et cont. Arian. n. 13. p. 881. A.
Lo 10. Acts as Barnabas, up with hd: Separate, and prayedGhost, departe
be rendered the patronage or assistance of the Holy Ghost : agreeable to what our Lord hai promised the disciples, as recorded Join 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 persecuie • 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 miraoulous gifts and powers, with which they had been fa. ovoured, they were greatly inortased 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 veen long sick of the palsy. “ And all that dwelt at Lydda and Saron saw him, [recovered, 1 and turned unto the Lord.” Afterwards Peter went to Joppa, where he raised to Tife Tabitha, otherwise named Dorcas. " And it was known throughout Joppa : and many believed in the 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, 6 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 uis, 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. « 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 proplietas. Grot. in loc.
no greater burden, than these necessary things: that is, a. 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 coası, came to Epliesus. 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 accorda
generally hlege, and
• Visum est enim Spiritui Sancto, et nobis.'] Id est, nobis per Spiritum Sanctum. Ŝy dla duoix, Grot. in loc.
Adeo uit verborurn sensus esse videatur : nobis, qui Spiritu Sancto donati sumus, visum est. Limborch. in Act. Apost. p. 152, fin.
b. Si Spiritum Sanctum accepistis credentes :'] Spiritus Sanctus hic, et in sequentibus, ita ut Johannis vii. sg. sunt clona ista Ecclesiæ Christianæ reservata ; quæ Paulus haud dubium quin pluribus vocibus descripserit.
• Sed neque si Spiritus Sanctus est, audivimus.] Non audivimus dari nunc talia dona. Grot, ad Aci. xix. 2.
Quos interrogat, ecquid Spiritum Sanctum accepissent postquam crediderunt.' Illi vero negant, audivisse, se ' sitne Spiritus Sanctus. Respondent ex catechesi majorum, quâ edocti erant, a morte Ezræ, Haggæi, Zachariæ, et Malachiæ, Spiritum Sanctum ab Israëlitis esse ablatum. Porro, restitutum esse, negant sibi compertun. Palam est, non de persona Spiriiûs S. sed de singularibus et visibilibus illius donis utrimque sermonem esse. Wits. De Vitâ Pauli, Sect. viii. p. 107.