[Table of Contents]
|Benjamin Lyon Smith
The Millennial Harbinger Abridged (1902)
EARNEST OF THE SPIRIT.
Having ascertained the Scriptural import of the following words and phrases, "gift of the Holy Spirit," "spiritual gifts," "the Spirit by measure," "distribution of the Spirit," "demonstration of the Spirit," "manifestation of the Spirit"--we proceed to the examination of some other apostolic phrases relative to the same subject. The phrase "earnest of the Spirit" next deserves our attention. 
If the reader has some preconceived system in his mind which he desires to see established by these examinations, I think it is probable he will be disappointed; for we are not seeking to establish any. We prosecute this inquiry as if we had never written nor spoken one word upon the subject. We are taking a new course of examination, and if it result as did our former inquiries by another process, it will be then confirmatory of the views already offered; just as if the working of a question by the Rule of Three should give the same result as already ascertained by the Rule of Practice, it establishes the certainty of the former solution; but if it should give a different result, then it must call for a reconsideration of the matter. The reader, then, if he do justice to himself, will place himself in the same circumstances as the writer, and, with the candor and docility of a student, open the Living Oracles, and ask, What say the Scriptures?
Arrabon, the word translated earnest in the phrase before us, found II. Cor. i. 22, occurs only in two other passages; viz.: II. Cor. v. 5; Eph. i. 14. It is a Hebrew word adopted into the Greek language of the New Testament, as the word baptism is a Greek ward adopted into the English New Testament. It is translated usually pledge, earnest. In the common and in the new version, this word is always rendered earnest. The ancient Hebrew and Phoenician word is a commercial term, and indicates that part of the price of any article which was given in hand at the time of purchase. The goods were marked or sealed, and a sum in hand paid, when the purchase was made; hence the Hebrew verb from which it is derived signifies to make sure, or to become surety. It is found three times only in the translation of the Seventy, and always adopted as in the New Testament, from which writings doubtless the Apostles had it.
Before we attempt to ascertain the precise import of this phrase, there is a word which occurs in the same connection with it, both in the Epistles to the Corinthians and Ephesians, which must be distinctly understood antecedent to a full intelligence of "the earnest of the Spirit." It is the word sealed. "God," says Paul, "has anointed us Apostles"--"Christ establishes us, God anoints us, and has also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts" (II. Cor. i. 21, 22). And Eph. i. 13, 14, speaking of the Ephesian converts in the second person, contrasted with the Jewish converts who before expected the Messiah, Paul says, "Having believed, you were sealed with the Spirit of the promise, the Holy Spirit [the promised Spirit], who is the earnest of our inheritance, for the redemption of the purchase to the praise of his glory."
The reader now perceives the intimacy between God's anointing, sealing, and giving of the earnest of the Spirit, and feels the importance of understanding the terms sealed, anointed, as well as the term  earnest. We shall therefore attend to them in order; and first, to the word seal:
Sphragis (seal) occurs in the New Testament sixteen times. Of these, thirteen are in the Apocalypse; and always denote a public mark or external sign, such as the seal upon a letter. The instrument by which a visible mark or impression is made is literally a seal. This seal has an inscription upon it; and therefore we have the instrument, the inscription, and the impression made by it, all denominated "seal." They are, however, all visible. The instrument, the inscription, and the impression on the wax or on the paper, are called seals. Metaphorically it denotes secrecy, and is so used in the Apocalypse. It also imports confirmation.
Let us now examine all the places in which it occurs. Rev. v. 5, "Seven seals"--visible impressions or marks indicative of security and secrecy. It is found chap. v. 1, 2, 5, 9, and chap. vi. 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 12; viii. 1--eleven times in this sense: chap. vii. it denotes the instrument by which impressions are made; chap. viii. 1. and chap. ix. 4, the impression made on the forehead; II. Tim. ii. 19, it seems to be used for the inscription on the seal; and Rom. iv. 11 it denotes a confirmatory mark. Circumcision was in the person of Abraham a seal or confirmation of the faith he had in uncircumcision. It is only found once more (I. Cor. ix. 2), "For the seal of my apostleship you are in the Lord." The converted Corinthians were a confirmation of Paul's apostleship. From this comes the verb,
To seal (sphragizo), which occurs seventeen times. Ten of these are found in the Revelation in the sense above defined--Rev. vii. 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8; x. 4; xx. 3; xxii. 10; Matt. xxvii. 66, it is applied to the stone on the sepulchre. John vi. 27, God has sealed his Son, confirmed his mission by the Holy Spirit without measure. Rom. xv. 28, metaphorically, to secure. The remaining passages bear upon the subject directly, and are found Eph. i. 13 and iv. 30, in the sense applied to Jesus, John vi. 27. God sealed his Son by the manifestations of his Spirit. The Apostles were sealed as his ambassadors by the same Spirit; and the converts from among the Jews and Gentiles were also sealed as God's people by the manifestations of the same Spirit.
To give a ring with an inscription, or to give a seal, indicated in all ages of the world the conferring of an office. Pharaoh gave Joseph a ring (Gen. xli. 42) when he made him governor. A similar example is found Esth. viii. 2; iii. 10. The Lord Chancellor of England, Lord Keeper of the Great Seal, Lord of the Privy Seal, and the Secretaries of State receive their office by the king's delivering to them the seals of their respective offices.
The seal of the Spirit was then a public sign, mark, or pledge that God had sent his Son--that Jesus had sent the Apostles; and on their  converts it was a sign or a pledge that God had received them as his people. Every "manifestation of the Spirit" was a confirmation of the mission of the Apostles, a seal of their apostleship. The spiritual gifts bestowed upon the converts by the hands of the Apostles, was a seal of the apostleship of the persons who conferred them, and it was also a pledge that God had received the persons sealed as his property.
Connected with sealing is the figure of anointing: for kings, and prophets, and priests, on receiving their office, or on being sealed, were also anointed with oil. The pouring of oil upon the head was a literal anointing; but figuratively, the bestowing of the Holy Spirit, or some spiritual gifts, is the anointing spoken of in the New Testament. An examination of all the places where it is found makes this unquestionable. The word chrio (to anoint) is only found five times in the apostolic writings: Luke iv. 18; Acts iv. 27; x. 38; 11. Cor. i. 21; Heb. i. 9. It is four times applied to Jesus, and once only to the Apostles; and certainly alludes to "the gift of the Holy Spirit" in the ascertained sense of that phrase. Luke iv. 18, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me," says Jesus, "because he has anointed me to preach the gospel." Acts iv. 27, "Against thy holy Son Jesus, whom thou hast anointed." Acts x. 38, "How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power." This explains the matter fully. Heb. i. 9, "God has anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows"--his other public servants. The oil is the ointment or anointing, called the chrisma, found only in John's Letter, ii. 27--the gift of the Spirit--"The anointing teaches you all things." The remaining passage is II. Cor. i. 22, and is connected with the seal and the earnest: "God has anointed us, sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts." As "the Holy Spirit and power" are not two things, neither is the anointing and the seal. "God anointed and sealed us" (Apostles) are not two distinct acts, but the same act presented under two figures.
Those who regard John the Baptist as pouring water upon the Messiah call that his anointing, or christening; and therefore those who sprinkle water upon the head of infants formerly called it christening, from the Greek word chrisas, which signifies anointing!
The oil, the pouring of the oil, and the head on which it was poured, are all external and visible. Hence the Holy Spirit descended on the head of the Messiah visibly, and sat upon the head of the Apostles in the resemblances of fiery tongues. Thus were Jesus and the Apostles anointed.
There is, however, a difference in meaning between the word anointing and the oil, and between the oil and its effects. Oil had sensible effects upon the person. Hence, as the emblem of the gift of the Holy Spirit bestowed on Jesus, it is called "the oil of gladness." Joy in the heart, arising from consecration to the Lord, was the natural  effect of this anointing. This joy in the heart is a prelude of the fullness of joy, an earnest of the inheritance. This brings us within sight of the meaning of the association of the anointing, the seal, and the earnest.
A seal and an earnest are not the same thing, though the same thing may be both a seal and an earnest. Anointing and sealing are not the same act, though the same act may be both an anointing and sealing. A sign and a seal are not the same thing; yet circumcision to Abraham was both a sign and a seal. There is this difference between a seal and an earnest: they are the same so far as an assurance is concerned; but the seal assures of an inheritance without being any part of it: whereas an earnest assures us of an inheritance, and is a part of the inheritance itself. A seal may be a pledge to others, but an earnest is a pledge to ourselves.
The seal of the Holy Spirit, as explained by Paul (Eph. 1. 13), is the earnest of the inheritance until the full possession of it. The seal may be upon my head, but the earnest is in the head and in the heart. If the head be anointed, the whole person is perfumed with its graces. The oil poured on the head of Aaron descended in its perfumes and influences to the tuft of his robe. The heart was always filled with joy when the head was anointed. All the members of Christ's body are anointed with him, and all experience the joy of that unction in their hearts; and this to them is an earnest, an assurance of the Dullness of joy. But to this subject we can not do full justice till we have examined "the fruits of the Spirit."
Thus far we have progressed--God anointed and sealed his Son and the Apostles by his Spirit, and sealed the converts made by their ministry as his people, by various manifestations of his Spirit; and these manifestations filled the heart with the fruits of God's Spirit. which constituted an earnest in their hearts of the full fruition of the heavenly inheritance.
The argument or assurance which the earnest of the Spirit in the saints gives, is thus expressed: "if the Spirit of him who raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in us, he who raised up Christ from the dead will make even our mortal bodies alive through his Spirit who dwells in us."
Before we speak of "the fruit of the Spirit," and of "the first fruits of the Spirit," we think it necessary to extend our vision, and bring into our horizon what is spoken about the Spirit in the ages of the world antecedent to the Christian economy. We shall, therefore, glance through the ancient oracles.
There is not in the Jewish and Christian Scriptures a word of more diversified occurrence and of greater variety of meaning, than the word spirit. It occurs very often without any epithet, and we find it  in the following connections: Holy Spirit, Spirit of God, Spirit of Christ, Spirit of the Lord, Spirit of the Lord God, Spirit of adoption, Spirit of antichrist, Spirit of the Arabians, Spirit of bondage, Spirit of burning, Spirit of counsel, Spirit of divination, Spirit of Egypt, Spirit of error, Spirit of fear, Spirit of fear of the Lord, Spirit of glory, Spirit of grace, Spirit of jealousy, Spirit of judgment, Spirit of infirmity, Spirit of knowledge, Spirit of heaviness, Spirit of holiness, Spirit of life, Spirit of meekness, Spirit of might, Spirit of your mind, Spirit of the Philistines, Spirit of promise, Spirit of prophecy, Spirit of slumber, Spirit of his Son, Spirit of truth, Spirit of understanding, Spirit of whoredoms, Spirit of wisdom.
We have also another class of combinations of this word; such as broken spirit, dumb spirit, evil spirit, free spirit, foul spirit, faithful spirit, good spirit, humble spirit, meek spirit, new spirit, patient spirit, perverse spirit, quickening spirit, quiet spirit, sorrowful spirit, unclean spirit, wounded spirit.
Add to these the phrases, Born of the Spirit, Earnest of the Spirit, Fruit of the Spirit, First Fruits of the Spirit, Newness of Spirit, Love of the Spirit, Mind of the Spirit, Sword of the Spirit, Demonstration of the Spirit, Manifestation of the Spirit, Ministration of the Spirit, Sanctification of the Spirit, Grieve not the Holy Spirit, Quench not the Spirit, Resist the Holy Spirit, Blaspheme the Holy Spirit.
Cruden, in his Concordance, ascribes nineteen different acceptations or significations to the word Spirit as found in both Testaments. Calmet attempts to generalize them under four distinct heads of signification, but evidently fails. Brown also makes an abortive attempt of the same sort.
Even when the Spirit of God is spoken of, it does not always mean the same thing. The Spirit of God sometimes unequivocally means the breath of natural life. Thus in Job xxvii. 3, "The Spirit of God is in my nostrils, all the while the breath is in me." The four winds are in the same metaphor, called the four spirits of the heavens. (Zech. vi. 5.) The Spirit of God moving upon the face of the great deep, may also be a figurative expression; for the Hebrews were accustomed to express their superlative comparison by adding the word God as an adjective to a noun. Thus "the cedars of God," "the hills of God," "the mountains of God," were very lofty cedars, hills and mountains. However this may be, we find the phrase does not always mean the same thing.
The "Spirit of God" in the Old Testament is spoken of thirteen times only. When Pharaoh discovered the divine wisdom which was found in Joseph after he interpreted his visions, he said to his servants, "Can we find such a man as this Joseph, in whom the Spirit of God is?" The Lord also called Bezaleel of the tribe of Judah and "filled  him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, understanding, and knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship." The "Lord put wisdom in the hearts of all who were wise-hearted," who with Aholiab and Bezaleel were to construct the tabernacle and its furniture as the Lord commanded Moses. "The Spirit of God came upon Balaam [Num. xxiv. 2], upon Saul [I. Sam. x. 10; xi. 6] and upon the messengers of Saul [xix. 20], and they all prophesied." The Spirit of God in like manner "came upon Azariah, and he preached to Asa, to Judah, and Benjamin" (11. Chron. xv. 1). Ezekiel says (xi. 24), "The Spirit took me up and brought me in vision by the Spirit of God into Chaldea." This is all we learn of the Spirit of God from the Old Testament.
But although we have not this phrase more frequently in the Old Testament, much is said of the Spirit, in the ancient revelations. The Lord took of the Spirit that was upon Moses, and put it upon the seventy senators appointed to the government of Israel with Moses; and when the Spirit came upon them they prophesied without intermission. (Num. xi. 17, 25.) When Moses heard of their prophesying, he said, Would to God that all the Lord's people were Prophets, and that the Lord would put his Spirit upon them!
Caleb and Joshua are spoken of as men possessing another spirit--it is spoken doubtless allusively to the Spirit of God. The spirit of Elijah means the spirit which God bestowed upon him, which also rested upon Elisha. The spirit came upon Amasa, one of David's captains, as the spirit of courage; and the same spirit gave a pattern of the Temple to David, according to which it was erected. (I. Chron. xviii. 21.) This spirit dwelt in all the prophets. (Neh. ix. 39.) David prayed to be upheld by God's free Spirit. An excellent spirit was found in Daniel, and God by Solomon, promised to pour out his Spirit upon all who turned to the Lord. "Turn, you sinners, at my reproof, and I will pour out my Spirit upon you."
But the phrase "Spirit of the Lord" frequently occurs in the Old Testament. It is found twenty-six times, and is always used synonymously with the Spirit of God. It, as well as the Spirit of God, sometimes signifies the wind. Isa. xl. 7, "The grass withereth, the flower fadeth, because the spirit of the Lord bloweth upon it. Surely the people is grass!" It came on the great warriors and judges of Israel--on Othniel, on Gideon, on Jephthah, on Samson, on Saul, on David, on Jehaziel, upon Isaiah, upon Ezekiel, and upon Micah, and upon all the prophets. All who had "the Spirit of the Lord," or "the Spirit of God," in this age of the world, were supernaturally endowed in some respect or other.
"My Spirit," in the mouth of the Lord, occurs ten times in the Old Testament He promises to pour out his Spirit upon all flesh--upon all who returned to him--upon all the seed of Israel--upon the Messiah  --upon the prophets. This, of course, will be found in the same acceptation of the phrase "Spirit of God," "Spirit of the Lord," unless we regard it prospectively in reference to other influences promised in the times of the Messiah. This, however, only applies to those promises applicable to the Christian age.
"Holy Spirit," in the first four thousand years of the world, is only found three times. David and Isaiah are the old prophets who use it. David says (Ps. li.), "Take not thy Holy Spirit from me;" and Isaiah (lxiii. 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 remembered 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 his 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 exceptions, 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 promise, the holy:" and as the King's translators promised only the Holy  Spirit in the 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 back to Isa. lxiii. 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. lxiii. 10, 11, being the same found in Eph. iv. 30. They prefer to agree with themselves in the Old Testament, rather than with themselves in the New. And in the last place (I. 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, therefore, no good reason for preferring Ghost to Spirit ninety times to four 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 Tirshatha (Neh. ix. 20), speaking of the instructions given to Israel in the wilderness by Moses and Aaron, says, "Thou gavest 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 Spirit, the holy Spirit, the Spirit of God, the Spirit of the Lord, thy Spirit, and my Spirit, as applied to God in the Jewish Scriptures, 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 wisdom 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: the Joshuas, the Gideons, the Samsons, the Davids, etc.; it was the spirit of natural science and the fine arts in Bezaleel, 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 renown to the splendid names enrolled on Israel's historic page--which shed a celestial radiance around those magnificent constellations which will shine in the Jewish firmament forever and forever.
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 Spirit." 
Although we have the word diakonia, here rendered ministration, at least thirty-two tunes in the Apostles' testimony, we have it but once in connection with the word Spirit. (II. Cor. iii. 9.) This word is properly rendered by the word ministration, ministry, serving, service, waiting, attendance, charge, according to the connection. This is universally admitted. The most common and current acceptation of the word is indicated by the term ministry. Paul frequently 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 contrasted with the ministration of death; and what is called the ministration of the Spirit is also called the ministration of righteousness; and this again is contrasted with the ministration of condemnation. 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 Corinthians. 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 introduction of the law by the service or ministry of Moses.
The contrast throughout is between two 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 sustained by the 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 Testament is as often and as variously spoken of in this chapter as the New Institution or the gospel. It is explained as "the law written 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 alive."
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. We find him using the same leading contrasts 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 the Spirit of life"--i. 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 speaks of living according to the flesh, and according to the spirit; of living in the flesh and in the spirit; of having 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 the walking by the Spirit, he speaks of 
"THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT."
This is opposed to the work of the flesh, the offspring of that principle, 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, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, fidelity, meekness, temperance: against such fruit there i s 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 therefore 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 may 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 inhabitation 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 with him."  "Behold," 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 he with me." "Our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord."
But besides this indirect and figurative reception of the Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit, by the gospel; these gracious influences, suggestions, 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 "manifestation 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 Spirit since the LAST DAYS 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 substantive, 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 men.
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, however, other phrases and terms found in the Christian Scriptures which require our attention, and when correctly appreciated farther illustrate and confirm the preceding.
Although with respect to various misconceptions of what is written 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 consideration, 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 the Spirit."--"Strengthened with might by the Spirit in the inward man."--"Sanctification of the Spirit."--Immersing into the name of the Holy Spirit."--"Communion of the Holy Spirit."
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, and 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 discerned, 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, is our supreme object in instituting the present investigation of words and phrases; and as we have already affirmed, 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 whole work of the Holy Spirit in the Apostles' time, was not to originate new ideas, nor to clothe men with supernatural and extraordinary powers;--such as speaking foreign languages, and tongues unknown before, and in controlling or suspending the laws of physical nature; but in strengthening the mind and memory, and in reviving the recollections of things said and done, in  time long past,--and in reproducing the exact images of things which had vanished from the mind. This is now simply premised, in reference 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 establishment of the fact, that believing Gentiles are divinely constituted sons of God. The first is the Spirit of adoption, which they had individually 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 understand a particular revelation to individuals," the same translator distinctly affirms.
I have learned from Prof. Stuart's version of the Epistle to the Romans, and his notes on this passage, which appeared since my dissertation 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 interpretation;" that is, making the Spirit of God (verse 16) the same as the Spirit of adoption (verse 15). "But," he adds, "repeated and attentive 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 version. The Professor's version would, however, better express my views of the passage than the new version, if it could be as well sustained. 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 Gentiles, 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 support 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 testimony himself. For example. Let the question be, "Am I a child of God?" This is to be ascertained for my own satisfaction. I am the person to whom it is to be proved. There is something represented by the pronoun I, which is constituted judge in this case. This then can not be both witness and judge. A witness in me must be something distinct from me. Well: what is the witness in me distinct from myself, unless it be the Spirit of adoption breathing in me all filial dispositions? Now if Paul and his companions rejoiced in the testimony of their own conscience, why may I not rejoice in the testimony of this witness? But as this is but one witness, and as everything of importance requires two witnesses; and especially as this witness may be suspected of being under the influence of near relation and not easily cross examined, it requires a concurrent testimony. Now this is that which the Spirit of God has presented in the written word--sealed by its own demonstrations. An exact correspondence between these two witnesses begets full confidence, or satisfactorily answers the question, "Am I a child of God?"
But it must be observed, that the testimony of God in the authenticated word, and the testimony within, are both necessary to the full assurance of our sonship. Hence, John says, "If our heart condemn us not, then we have confidence." By loving "not in word only, but in deed and in truth," says the divine Apostle, "we know that we are  of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him." Happy frames and good feelings are no evidence of our sonship, unless sustained by the testimony in the Holy Scriptures. And this calls for unreserved obedience to all the commandments of Jesus.
But while this and much more may be necessary to illustrate the testimony borne to our spirits by the Spirit of God; the fact that such a witness exists, and the bare meaning of the phrase, are all that fairly lie within our present object. The Apostle's design in the connection in which the phrase occurs, clearly ascertains its import. His proposition is: "As many as are led by the Spirit, these are the sons of God." "To be led by the Spirit," or to be led by any person, is simply to be guided by what they say. Those thus led, are children of God. That they are the children of God, is proved to themselves by two witnesses;--what the Spirit has testified in the written word, and sustained by miracles,--and by the filial dispositions, called the Spirit of adoption, which it has inspired into the hearts of all the believers, whether Jews or Gentiles.
In ascertaining the import of the phrase, "The Spirit bears witness with our spirit," we quoted Dr. Macknight as asserting that "by the Spirit's witness we are to understand;" whereas it ought to have read, "By the Spirit's witness we are not to understand a particular revelation to individuals." This typographical mistake was not noticed till after we sat down to write the present essay. It was implied, if not distinctly stated in our last, that the phrase "spirit of adoption" indicates those filial dispositions which are engendered in the believers by the Spirit of God, and that to be "led by the Spirit," is, in our style, to be guided by what he says to us.
The phrase now before us is, "Grieve not the Spirit." In the common version of the Scriptures, God is said to have been grieved for forty years with the manners of the Jews in the wilderness. (Ps. xcv. 10; Heb. iii. 10, 17.) Again, the question is asked (Ps. lxxviii. 40), "How often did they grieve him in the desert?" Jesus also is said (Mark iii. 5) to have been "grieved at the hardness of their hearts." From these Scriptures we may easily perceive the meaning of grieving the Holy Spirit. As Israel of old grieved God in the desert, so Christians may grieve the Holy Spirit by suffering corrupt communications to escape their lips, or by disobeying his precepts.
Children grieve their parents by their foolish behavior, and Christians are figuratively said to grieve the Spirit when they act in a way unbecoming his presence with them. The Lord was present with the Jews in the wilderness, therefore they could grieve him. His Spirit is in the congregation, and therefore Christians may grieve him. The Spirit when grieved with Adam, forsook him--when displeased with the Jews, it forsook them. David, when conscious of his faults, prays,  "Take not thy Holy Spirit from me!" and the command, "Grieve not the Spirit," implies that Christians may also be forsaken by God.
"Quench not the Spirit." This phrase, like the preceding, is found but once in the New Testament (I. Thess. v. 19). The gift of the Holy Spirit having been like a flame of fire, this figure is most expressive and beautiful. Referring to those gifts extraordinary, enjoyed by many of the first converts, Jewish and Gentile, the Apostle could, with all propriety of metaphor, say to them who had any spiritual gift, "Quench not the Spirit," "Despise not prophesying," etc. And to Timothy, in the same style, he could say, "Stir up the gift which is in you." The word used in Timothy is anazopurein, blow up this fire--quench it not--put not out this sacred fire in yourself or in others, but rouse it to a flame.
To "walk in the Spirit," and "live after the Spirit," are, in effect, the same as to be "led by the Spirit." Christians who think, speak, and act according to the gospel, are walking after, or according to, the Spirit--living according to the Spirit--led by the Spirit. Thus the Platonist was led by Plato--walked according to Plato--lived as Plato directed.
"Strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man" (Eph. iii. 16); or, "Mightily strengthened by his Spirit in the inner man." Paul implores this blessing from God upon the Ephesians. There is much to be learned from the prayers of the Apostles, both for themselves and their brethren, as to their views, their practical views of the influence and aid of the good Spirit of God. That they expected some help from God of same sort, is clearly and fully expressed in all their petitions, both for themselves and for one another. Let the reader, intent on understanding the Apostles' views and style, carefully examine their prayers, as if to learn what they expected to be yet done for them. The following specimens will be sufficient to our present purpose:--
"On this account I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and upon earth is named, praying that, according to the riches of his glory, he would grant you to be mightily strengthened by his Spirit in the inward man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that being rooted and grounded in love, you may be completely able to apprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height--even to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you might be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to him that is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we can ask or think, according to the power which works effectually in us--to him be glory in the congregation by Christ Jesus, during all the endless succession of ages. Amen." 
That the Apostle expected the strengthening of the faculties of the mind, by the Spirit of God in the hearts of these saints at Ephesus, can not be doubted; but that this was to be effected by faith--by Christ dwelling in the heart by faith, is not to be questioned. If such petitions were necessary in the age of spiritual gifts, they are no less so in the present time; and that the Spirit of God does in some way by faith work in men both to will and to do, and that he does and may do for us above all that we ask or think, is not to be questioned, if Paul in this passage is to be understood according to what we call common sense.
The thanksgivings, as well as the petitions of the Apostle Paul, imply all this and more. When he heard of the faith and love of the Ephesians, he said, "I cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers--that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, would give you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in. the knowledge of him; that the eyes of your understanding being enlightened, you may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance among the saints, and what the exceeding greatness of his power in relation to us who believe, according to the working of his mighty power which he wrought in Christ when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in heavenly places, far above all government, and power, and might, and lordship, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come," etc.
The Apostles taught the Christians by precept or example to pray for the following things:--for eloquence and boldness for those who labor in the word and teaching; for wisdom for themselves; for favor, mercy, and peace for the brotherhood; for the healing of the sick; for an offending brother; for being filled with. the knowledge of the will of God; for their own strength and that of their brethren; for the good behavior of the brotherhood; for the protection and salvation of kings, governors, and all sorts of men, for every promised blessing, and for every necessary thing, either for the present or the future; for themselves and for their brethren.1
These apostolic prayers are full of edification: they are, in comparison of mere didactic communications, as experiment to theory, or as example to precept. The views of the Apostles on the subject of divine influences will be found in their petitions, supplications, acid thanksgiving. That they expected much in answer to their prayers, and that they and their converts did not ask in vain, need not be argued to those who will carefully examine this matter. 
But the phrase "communion of the Holy Spirit," will still more fully illustrate their views. It is koinonia, fellowship, joint participation. We have this word twenty times from the day of Pentecost to the close of the Epistles. It is twice applied to the Holy Spirit--II. Cor. xiii. 13; Phil. ii. 1. It is applied to the Father and to the Son--I. John i. 3-6; I. Cor. 1. 9. We have the communion of the Father, the communion of the Son, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, or the fellowship of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit; for it is the same term uniformly in the passages quoted. The communion of saints; of the blood of Christ; of the body of Christ, denote their joint participation of the influence, presence, and comforts of the good Spirit of God.
We have communion with one another when we mutually give and receive consolation, whether in sentiment, in sympathy, in communication, or in any of the blessings of society. Man was made for communion with God and his fellows, but he lost it in Adam the first. In Adam the second he is restored to that communion; but while in his mortal body his communion with God is only by his Spirit through Jesus Christ our Lord.
But we have not yet caught the precise idea expressed in the Apostle's benediction--"The communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all"' There is suggested in this phrase a participation of the Holy Spirit common to all the members of the body of Christ. It is not some gift or special influence of the Spirit, imparted only to a few; but that fellowship of the Spirit which, under Christ, is common to the many--to all the family of God--of which the Apostle spoke. The best definition of the word communion which I can give, is, union in that which is common. Wherever there is union in common, there is communion. As the glory of the Lord equally filled all the tabernacle and the temple, so the Spirit of God animates, consoles, and refreshes the whole body of Christ. These consolations, joys, and refreshments from the presence of the Lord, the Apostle imprecated upon all the Corinthian converts. He wished them a full fellowship, an equal participation of those measures of the Holy Spirit which belonged to the body of Christ as such. The three greatest blessings which Paul could invoke on the Corinthians, were, "the favor of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit." These are not one and the same idea; but three distinct ideas--as distinct as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. He that enjoys the favor of Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, has all the fullness of God, and is as blessed as mortal man can be.
Into these relations to the Father, to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit we are immersed; for the Lord commanded the believers to be immersed into the name of the Holy Spirit as well as into the name  of the Father and the Son. To be immersed into the name of the Holy Spirit, prepares for the enjoyment of this communion; as being immersed into the Father, introduces into the enjoyment of the love of God; and as immersion into the name of Jesus Christ, introduces us into the favor of the Lord Jesus. This love, grace, and communion are the superlative glory of the Christian institution. They are equally apprehensible, though in their nature and modes of development incomprehensible. It is the duty, honor, and privilege of Christians to enjoy all that into which they are immersed. There is as much wisdom or folly in disparaging the communion of the Holy Spirit, as in undervaluing the love of God or the favor of Jesus Christ.
There is also as much reason, and Scripture, and honor in being immersed into the Holy Spirit, as into the name of the Lord Jesus. Should any one think that the communion of the Holy Spirit has ceased, he may as well imagine that the love of God has ceased and that the favor of Jesus Christ is extinct. If he can not comprehend the one, he can not comprehend the other. But as we are immersed into the name of the Holy Spirit, we must look for and constantly expect the communion of that Spirit, as well as the love of God and the favor of Jesus Christ our Lord.
There yet remains the phrase "sanctification of the Spirit." This understood, I presume the whole New Testament phraseology on the subject of the Spirit will be easily understood by every attentive reader. The original phrase is hagiasmos pneumatos, and is found only in II. Thess. ii. 13; I. Pet. i. 2. In both places it appears to refer to the sanctification of the spirit of believers. It is literally rendered "sanctification [or holiness] of spirit." There is no article in the original and no epithet that suggests the Holy Spirit in either passage. God has chosen men to salvation through (or by) holiness of spirit; not through the holiness of his Spirit, but through the holiness of their spirit. When Jesus prayed (John xvii.) for the sanctification or holiness of his disciples, it was through the truth: "Sanctify them through the truth; thy word is truth." The belief of the truth is, therefore, by Paul associated with this holiness or sanctification of spirit. The Spirit of God is frequently denominated in these days, "the Sanctifier." Let it be granted that it is the Spirit that sanctifies or sets apart men to God, still it must be argued from the Record that he sanctifies them only through the truth or gospel believed. A sanctified unbeliever is inconceivable; and, as "without holiness [or sanctification of spirit] no man can see the Lord;" so, without faith, there can be no holiness, and no action acceptable to God.
All persons sanctified to God to any high office or function, were anointed, and thus consecrated to his special service. So all Christians, being priests, are anointed or sanctified by the Holy Spirit  through the obedience of the truth, and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus, cleansing their consciences from dead works to serve the living God. In this we find the secret of the most usual epithet of the Spirit. It is the Spirit of holiness, because it is the Spirit of truth. It is the Holy Spirit, because by its influence it makes us holy; and these influences which sanctify are always by and through the truth. When God chose men to salvation, it was through sanctification of spirit; and as a means to this, it was through the belief of the truth.
In 1842 and 1843 Robert Richardson presented a series of essays on "The Spirit of God." For his very full discussion, see the book, "The Work of the Holy Spirit," [sic] by R. Richardson.
Alexander Campbell. Extract from "The Gift of the Holy Spirit--No. 3: Earnest of the Spirit"
|2. ----------. "The Gift of the Holy Spirit--No. 4." The Millennial Harbinger 5 (July 1834): 299-303.|
----------. Extracts from "The Gift of the Holy Spirit--No. 5."
The Millennial Harbinger 5 (August 1834): |
|4. ----------. "Gift of the Holy Spirit--No. 6." The Millennial Harbinger 5 (October 1834): 508-511.|
----------. Extract from "Gift of the Holy Spirit--No. 7."
The Millennial Harbinger 5 (November 1834): |
The first serial publications of Robert Richardson's essays on the Holy Spirit are as follows:
"The Spirit of God--No. II: The Spiritual System." The Millennial Harbinger 13 (December 1842):
"The Spirit of God--No. III." The Millennial Harbinger 14 (March 1843): 124-128.
"The Spirit of God--No. IV." The Millennial Harbinger 14 (October 1843): 433-437.
"The Spirit of God--No. V." The Millennial Harbinger 14 (November 1843): 505-510.
"The Spirit of God--No. VI." The Millennial Harbinger 14 (December 1843): 548-553.
"The Spirit of God--No. VII." The Millennial Harbinger 14 (December 1843): 557-567.
[Table of Contents]
|Benjamin Lyon Smith
The Millennial Harbinger Abridged (1902)