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mediately conferred on them by him the preacher of this gospel, “ in which they believed); that is, as he adds, that I may be com“ forted together with you, by the mutual faith both of you and
*: : for he says, he is sure, when he comes, he shall come to " them in the fulness of the blessing of Christ +." And though the generality of the believing Romans had not the gifts of the Holy Ghost, no apostle having been among them at the time that Paul writ to them (they having been probably converted by some of those who might be dispersed on some of the persecutions) ; yet some among them had these gifts, as appears from Rom. xii. 348. Perhaps it might be those who converted them ; and who had received those gifts from fome of the apostles elsewhere. The same may be faid of the Laodiceans, in case the epistle commonly called the Epistle to the Ephesians was really written to the Laodiceans, as I suppose it was 1
Peter plainly refers to these gifts $; for he says, “ that it was re“ vealed to the prophets of old, that not unto themselves, but unto " them of this age, they did minifter the things that were reported “ unto them by them that preached the gospel unto them, with
(or by) the Holy Ghoft fent down from heaven.” And he afterwards gives this exliortation (which supposes these gifts to have been very common 1) : “ As every man hath received the gift
(xapiouz), even so minifter the same as faithful stewards of the " manifold grace of God. If any man speak, let him speak as " the oracles of God: if any man minister (as a deacon, å tis
diaxové), let him do it as of the ability (or with the gifts of pru
dence) thet God giveth.” And that Peter imparted these gifts to the believing Jews, as well as to these devout Gentiles to whom he writes, may be confirmed by Paul's testimony; who says, that “ Ile that wrought effeétually in Peter to the apostleship of the cir
cumcision, the fame wrought effeétually in me towards the “ Gentiles **"
St. John tells all those he writes to, i John ii. 20. to shew them in how little danger they were of being deceived under the faireit pretencer, that “ they had an unction (a prophetic unction or fpirit), ** from the Holy One (Chrift, called the Holy One, whole Spirit *** the Holy Ghost was, and which he sent down); and ye know " all things, that is, all things necessary to be known.” And afterwards he favs, “ This anointing, which you have received of him, " abideth in vou, and ye have no need that any man teach you ; " but as the fame anointing teacheth you all things, and is truth, "s and is no lie,” ver. 27. And he adds, “ Hereby we know that
we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us his Holy
Spirit, chap. iv. 13. And chap. v. 10. afferts, that “ he that * believet'ı on the Son of God, hath the witness in himself, that " is, the Spirit, which he faith beareth witnets,” ver. 6. And
chap. vi. 7. " For there are three that bear witness, the Spirit, the
water, and the blood.”
St. Jude speaks of sensual men, who separated themselves from the Christians, as the only kind of men“ who have not the
Spirit *.". And directs all those he writes to, that, “ building " theinfelves up in their most holy faith, they should pray in the
Holy Ghost 7,” which is what St. Paul calls, “praying with the Spirit [."
And St. James does not only speak of “the prayer of faith (by “ which, the anointing with oil in the name of the Lord, the elders ¢¢ shall heal the fick); but of the effectual fervent prayer of the “ righteous, as we translate it (or the inwrought, or inspired
prayer of the righteous, as it would be better rendered, dénois “ Sixais iyepyepévn), which availeth much 9." And speaks of it, not as a thing peculiar to some few righteous, but common among them.
All which quotations are but agreeable to what our Saviour told the Jews ll, on the laft day of the feast of tabernacles, which was the day of an holy convocation, or of a great congregation of the people, when it was the custom of the people to fetch water from Siloam (which St. John says signifies the soul **), some of which they drank with loud acclamations and hosannahs (or fave-now ++); and some of which they brought for a drink-offering to God, both as a commemoration of the rock that flowed and followed them through the wilderness, to relieve their thirst ; and also as an offering, with prayers for rain against the following seed-time; when Jelus, observing this solemnity, stood in a convenient place, and, alluding to this rite, cried (aloud) saying, “ If any man thirst, let “ him come unto me and drink (if any man earnestly desire the “ fpiritual water of wise instruction, which, to the souls of all those " that pant after it, is a greater refreshment than water is to a " thirsty body; let him but be my disciple, and he shall have it). ! And then adds (nay, he shall not only have it to quench his own " thirst, but to communicate to others). He that believeth on me, "' as the Scripture faith, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living
waters. Which, the Evangelist adds (who wrote this Gospel “ after the accomplishment of this prediction), he spake of the “ Spirit, which they that believe in him should receive.” They that believe, is here an expression of the same force, as all they that believe; for here is no distinction or limitation made. Our Şaviour's doing this at the feaft of tabernacles is the more remarkable, because the Jews called the days of the Messiah the feast of tabernacles; and this was the last day of those feasts that preceded our Lord's death, and consequently that preceded the mission of the Holy Ghoft; and it is also very observable, that the Jews thought this water a type of the Spirit. And St. Mark speaks in the lame
* Jude 19..
+ Ver. 20. I Cor. xiv. 15.
§ James v. 14, 15. ***Ibib. ix. 7.
tt Plal. cxviii, 25.
ljonn xxvii. 37.
general terms when he relates, that after our Saviour had given his commission to the apostles, to go and preach the Gospel to every creature ; he added, " And these figns Thall follow (not only you
apostles, in confirmation of the truth of what ye shall preach, * pursuant to my command, but) then that believe : in my name
they shall caft' out devils, they fhall speak with tongues, &c.” And so likewise our Saviour says t; “ He that believeth on me, the “ works that I do Thall he do also, and greater works than thiese hall “ he do, because I go to my Father."
When I lay all these facts together, and fee that where the apostles had been they always conferred the gifts of the Holy Ghost, and that the members of thofe churches where they had not been were the only members of churches that feem not to have had them ; I can scarce forbear thinking, that this general communication of the Holy Ghoft is what John the Baptist referred to, when he told the Jews, that “he indeed baptized with water, but that • Chrift would baptize them with the Holy Ghost and with fire.” Which seems to import at least thus much, that as he (John) a witness to Jesus, baptized all that came to him, that believed the kingdom of heaven was at band, with water; fo the apoftles, the chofen witnesses of Christ's resurrection, being first baptized with the Holy Ghoft and fire immediately from heaven, should baptize with the. Holy Ghoit all believers that should come to them, and that had not been first baptized with it in the same immediate manner as themselves (as the reft of the hundred and twenty, Saul, and the first fruits of the devout and idolatrous Gentiles, were). And so our Saviour tells the apostles after his resurrection ş: “For
John truly baptized with water, but ye shall be baptized with “ the Holy Ghoit and with fire, not many days hence.” And that ge here is not reftrained to the apostles, we learn from the quotation Peter makes of this prediction of our Saviour, and his application of it to the Holy Ghott's descending on Cornelius and his house || ; and to this also I think Paul refers **, though he does not quote the passage quite out. And may not our Saviour also refer to this in his conversation with Nicodemus, John iii. 5. who comes to him privately, when he tells him (in answer to that which must be fupposed to be Nicodemus's question, ver. 7. I fee you are a teacher come from God by your miracles; but pray what is the sum of the doctrine you come to teach ?) when he tells him, that “if a man " is not born of water, and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the “ kingdom of God.” Which perhaps is to say, that “a man " cannot become a subject of the kingdom that he was going to let “ up, by private instruction, without being openly initiated, and " making a public profession; and that that would not only be by
baptism with water, which was an actual and public declaration “ of a change of opinion and manners, and when with the mouth
".confeffion was to be made; but also by baptism with the Holy “ Ghost, when his kingdon was actually come, after his ascension, « when men would be bronght to speak the great things of God, “ as the Spirit should give them urterance;" which baptism would be, as I jult now faid, either immediately, as in the case of those on wbom the Holy Ghoft came without the intervention of hands ; 'or by the intervention of the hands of some on whom the Holy Ghost had lo defcended. The expression being general, the occasion on which it is spoke, and some passages in the converfation, point this way. For that tlic general notion that is always included in baptism is initiation, I believe, will appear beyond doubt, to him that considers it in any of the three kinds of it mentioned in Scripture;
in that of water, in this of the Holy Ghost and fire particularly ; • and most clearly of all in that which our Saviour mentions Matth.
xx. 22-24.and Luke xii. 50. For I think baptism cannot poshbly be uuderstood, in those two last places, in any other senfe than the sufferings by which Jesus was to be initiated into his kingdom, and the fulness of power he was to receive upon his going through them. It may be of some use too here to observe, that though John Baptist and Jesus, speaking, in the places just now quoted, of the baptism of the Holy Ghoft and fire, before it happened, and before it was explained, speak of it in such general expressions as comprehend both the immediate communication of the Holy Ghost from heaven, and the conferrirg it by the apostles; yet when the predictions of John Baptist and our Savlour about this baptism were fully explained by the event, then the distinction that was made between them plainly appears; and particularly Heb. vi. 2.' which I confidered whilft I treated of the immediate defcent of the Holy Ghost on the first Christians among the Jews, and among the devouf and idolatrous Gentiles. Nor is this the single instance of general expressions used by our Saviour, which afterwards came to be more diftin&t and specific.
If, after all this, any one should be of opinion, that the apostles did not confer these gifts on all the believers where they came; I desire he would let me know, by what rule le can prove, or even. suggest with any probability, that the apostles governed themselves in conferring these gifts on some where they came, and not on others. They who imagine, that the apostles conferred the Holy Ghost only on the bishops, presbyters, and deacons ; or on pastors, teachers, and elders, as a distinct order of men from the brethren or believers; . do not read the Scriptures with that freedom from the prepossession of modern fyftems, or modern practice, which becomes the dify ciples of Chrift; much less with that knowledge of the state of things in the times of the apostles, which they must have who will make themselves masters of them. He who reads them with, out prejudice, and with this previous preparation, will undoubtedly. fee, that there were many churches without any such orders of men in them. This is owned now by those who contend the most
fiercely for such orders * : and they will see too,' that these gifts were conferred on too many to allow them to fuppofe, that all on whom they were conferred were of the clergy; unless they will make them all of the clergy, and scarce leave them any laymen to exercise them on.
Thns it seems to me, that the gifts of the Holy Ghost were ordinarily conferred by the laying on of the hands of the apoftles ; and that the apostles laid them on all believers where they came, and on no others. But it appears to me, at the same time, that whenever the gifts of the Holy Ghost were conferred by the laying on of their hands, they were conferred in a lower degree : for we do not find, that any of those, to whom the apostles imparted the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of their hands, are ever faid to be full of the Holy Ghost. They only, as we observed before, feem to have this expression used of them, on whom we either know, or have great reason to think, the Holy Ghost fell without the intervention of hands. And no wonder, that where the apoftles laid their hands, there should not be so plentiful a communication of the Spirit ; fince where they laid on their hands, it was only to confirni particular persons or churches in the faith of the Gospel : whereas the Holy Ghost always descended to confirm fome things that were to be of universal instruction and importance; or confer gifts on persons that were to be of the greatest use and service to the whole Christian church : as will appear upon the least reflection on the only instances which occur of his immediate defcent.
However, though the gifts conferred by the apostles were conferred in a lower degree than when the Holy Ghost fell on them"; yet I am apt to think, that whenever the apostles conferred such gifts of the Holy Ghost as they could impart, they always prayed that those to whom they were going to impart them might receive them. Our Saviour, who told his disciples, that their heavenly Father would give them the Holy Spirit, adds, that “it should be “ on their asking it t.” It is very observable, that the Holy Ghost did not descend on our Saviour till after his praying, on coming out of the water I. And it is expressly related of Peter and John, that " when they had prayed, they said their hands on the Sama“ ritans, and gave them the Holy Ghost $." And though it is not mentioned in any other case, yet I am strongly inclined to believe, that prayer always preceded; to Thew that this great gift came from God, and was dispended according to his will. And I the rather incline to this, from the laying on of hands, which always accompanied the conferring these gifts ; that being a ceremony which always attended folemn blessing and prayer ; or, if you pleate, a solemn prayer for a blessing; as I shall prove in the third Effay St. Auftin, to this purpose, Ipeaking of the apostles imparting the Holy Glost to the Samaritans, says, “ Orabant quippe ut veniret
* See Mr. Dodwell, de Jur. Lac. Sacerd. and Dr. Whitby, on the Cor, and Theff. + Luke sil. I jo # Ibid. iii. 26.
§ Afts viii. 150