A Slight Sketch of the Holy Spirit's Ways.

1876 75 etc. The Spirit, to pneuma, the Holy Spirit, to pneuma to hagion, seldom to Hagion pneuma, but very frequently, pneuma Hagion, is the Person in the Godhead mentioned last in order wherever the three are named (Matt. xxviii. 19; 2 Cor. xiii. 14).

Of His personality the word does not leave us in doubt. The New Testament is very plain about it. He acts, He directs, He controls, and that, not only in the character of the Spirit of God, but as a divine Person Himself (Acts ii. 4; Acts 5:3, 4; Acts xiii, 2–4; Acts xvi. 6; 1 Cor xii. 11); and even in the Old Testament His personality is acknowledged (Num. xi. 26; 1 Chron. xxviii. 12; Isa. xlviii. 16), though, for the most part, He is therein described as the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Jehovah, His Spirit, His Holy Spirit, His good Spirit. Throughout scripture, then, we meet with the Holy Ghost. In the first chapter of the Bible we read of Him; in the last chapter of the sacred volume we hear of Him. In Genesis i. 2 He is described as moving, or brooding, over the face of the waters, when all was in a chaotic condition on earth. In Revelation xxii. He speaks from earth, on which He now dwells, and in company and concert with the bride asks the Lord Jesus to come in His character of the morning star.

To prepare the earth for man's abode and use, the Spirit of God brooded over the face of the waters. He acted in power on creation. He acts in power still. The fact, however, of His activity, whether moving upon the face of the waters, or dealing with men's hearts, indicates the existence of a state of things which is not perfect in God's sight. "By his Spirit," Job declares, God "garnished the heavens" (Job xxvi. 13). Of the Spirit men are born again (John iii. 5). Yet it is not in every age of the world's history that we read of the Spirit being at work. He did work, He does work constantly, on men upon earth, as the catalogue of saints from Abel to our day bears witness; but His activity is not at all times a subject of divine teaching. Till the days of Moses we hear but little of the Spirit. Throughout the biographical notices of Abraham and Isaac, He is not so much as once named. In the book of Joshua He is never mentioned. And neither in the books of Jeremiah, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Nahum, Habakkuk, nor Zephaniah is His existence even hinted at. Yet all these were horn of Him. He was in Joshua, and the prophets were one and all His penmen and mouthpieces, speaking as they were moved by the Holy Ghost (2 Peter i. 21). In the New Testament His presence and actings are more generally acknowledged and the Epistle to Philemon, and the Second and Third Epistles of John, are the only portions of the word in which He has not been pleased to make mention of Himself in one way or another. For His manner of working is manifest, and the terms in which it is described are various. To these the reader's attention is now sought to be directed. Of evil spirits there are many, characterized in the word by their manner of acting, as displayed in men. For we read of a lying spirit, an evil spirit, an unclean spirit, a dumb spirit, a spirit of a demon, a spirit of Python, and, in the case of the Gadarene demoniac, it was not one, but many, which were in him. The Holy Ghost, on the other hand, is but one (1 Cor. xii. 11). Each unclean spirit can act in accordance with its character. The Holy Ghost can act in very different ways in different people and at different times. To a consideration of these let us now turn.

Before the flood He acted on men certainly in three distinct ways. He strove with man in his rampant wickedness, till God would strive with him no longer (Gen. vi. 3). What a scene for God to be engaged in! In garnishing the heavens, and in brooding over the face of the waters, the Spirit of God had been once engaged; now He is described as striving with God's puny, fallen, and actively wicked creature man. But man would not yield, so the flood came upon the world of the ungodly, and took them all away, except Noah and those with him in the ark. Besides this, in two other ways He had acted, whilst striving with man. By the Spirit dead souls had been quickened: of this Abel and others are witnesses. And not only did He act in vivifying power on souls, but He fitted saints as well to be channels for divine communications to their fellows around them. God had spoken to Adam, and in the presence of the guilty pair announced to the old serpent, in the day of his apparent triumph, his final doom, which is to be accomplished by the Seed of the woman. God had also spoken to Cain, and acquainted the fratricide with His future governmental dealings with him. To Adam and to his son communications had been given. Now through Enoch, with whom we may perhaps class Lamech (Gen. 5:29), prophetic announcements were made, which concerned others beside themselves. And Noah was raised up, a preacher of righteousness, a witness for God in the midst of abounding and unrestrained wickedness.

The waters receded from off the face of the earth. Noah and his family came forth from the ark to people the world afresh, and the Spirit of God, who had acted on men, and by men, before the flood, acted in similar, but also in new, ways after it.

Men were born again. Of this Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, and Job are examples; and a testimony for God was raised up in the midst of idolatry, which now began to corrupt and debase mankind. Prophecy, too, in the common acceptation of the term, again burst forth. Isaac, though his eyes were dim with age, blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come. And Jacob, ere gathering up his feet into his bed, acquainted his family with that which should befall them in the last days.

But another feature of the Spirit's ways was manifested during the patriarchal age. Saints were made acquainted with God's purposes hitherto concealed, without becoming, as far as we know, channels of inspired communications. Thus God talked with Abraham as His friend, and began that unfolding of His counsels to man, which was not completed till the New Testament canon was closed. Communications had passed between the Lord and H is saints before the flood. To Enoch a testimony was given that he pleased God. Noah received definite instructions as to the measures of the ark, and its inhabitants. In these communications the individuals so favoured were personally concerned. In the case of Abraham it was different. God not only revealed things which concerned the patriarch, but, before the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, He distinctly declared that He would not hide from Abraham that which He would do. And Abraham is the first person to whom the appellation of prophet is given in the Pentateuch (Gen. xx. 7), an appellation evidently of significance in those days, and one, as we learn from the Psalms (Ps. cv. 15), which was common to the patriarchs. A prophet then does not only mean one who can predict future events. The messenger of God who reproved Israel in the days of Gideon (Judges vi. 8) was a prophet. And Abraham, as we see, is so called, who would pray for Abimelech, the Philistine king. Anil God it was who so styled the patriarch, who had acquaintance with the divine mind, being in possession of God's thoughts, as far as the Lord had been pleased to impart them to God's friend. On men too, and through men, the Spirit continued to work. By dreams and visions, as well as by prophetic inspiration, God's mind was revealed. Jacob, whether sojourning east or west of Jordan, received instruction from God by dreams (Gen. xxviii. 12-15; Gen. xxxi. 11-13). And Laban, the Syrian (Gen. xxxi. 24); Abimelech, the Philistine (Gen. xx. 3); Pharaoh, the Egyptian (Gen. xli.); and Eliphaz, the Temanite (Job iv.), alike attest the reality of such channels of intercourse between God and the soul.

With Moses, however, there commenced a new era. Dealing with souls individually, and using men as instruments by which God's mind could he made known, still characterized the ways of the Holy Ghost. For Balaam, besides Moses, prophesied, and Saul too, as well as others who were really saints. In addition to this, miraculous powers were exhibited, wonders being accomplished by the finger of God (Ex. viii. 19), as the magicians rightly confessed; that is through the energy of the Holy Ghost, as the New Testament teaches us (Matt. xii. 28 compared with Luke xi. 20). And now in several new ways the activity and the power of the Spirit were displayed. In Bezaleel we have an example of one filled with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, and understanding, and knowledge, for the work that he was called upon to undertake in connection with the erection of the tabernacle (Ex. xxxi. 3; Ex. xxxv. 31). The Holy Ghost was in Joshua (Num. xxvii. 18), who was thereby full of the spirit of wisdom (Deut. xxxiv. 9). On the elders He rested, to fit them for their official duties in the congregation (Num. xi. 25, 26). Again, the Spirit was on Othniel, who judged Israel and conquered Cushan Rishathaim (Judges iii. 10); on Jephthah, who warred against Ammon (Judges xi. 29); on Amaziah, the son of Oded, who encouraged Asa (2 Chron. xv. 1); as well as on Jahaziel, the Levite, who directed Jehoshaphat in his campaign against the children of Ammon and Moab, and those of Mount Seir (2 Chron. xx. 14). Further, we read that the Spirit of the Lord clothed, or enwrapped, Gideon (Judges vi. 34), and Amasai, chief of the captains, who answered so beautifully to David's challenge (1 Chron. xii. 18), as well as Jechaniah, the son of Jehoiada the priest, who reproved the people and Joash, the king (2 Chron. xxiv. 20). He pressed, too, or fell upon, Samson (Judges xiv. 6, 19; Judges xv. 14); on Saul (1 Sam. x. 6, 10; 1 Sam. xi. 6); and on David (1 Sam. xvi. 13). He entered into Ezekiel (Ezek. ii. 2; Ezek. iii. 24), and set him on his feet. He fell upon him (Ezek. xi. 5), and he prophesied. Moreover, the Spirit lifted him up, and transported him to any place that the Lord desired him to visit (Ezek. iii. 12–14; Ezek. viii. 3; Ezek. xi. 1, 24; Ezek. xliii. 5). Very marked, then, were the ways of the Spirit with certain men, who manifested by what they did, when energized by Him, how His power could be exercised on and through individuals. Besides this, the Spirit of the Lord, which had instructed Israel (Neh. ix. 20), remained among the returned remnant, according to God's solemn engagement, in spite of all that they and their fathers had been (Hag. ii. 5).

Greater blessings are yet, however, in store for that people. For, great as have been the displays of the Spirit's power among them, they can look forward to a blessing they have never yet enjoyed. God will put His Spirit within them individually (Ezek. xxxvi. 27), and pour it out on them collectively (Isa. xliv. 3), when their time of trial, and of the desolation of the land, consequent on their sins, shall cease (Isa. xxxii. 15), never to return (Ezek. xxxix. 29). Nor will this blessing be confined to Israel, for God will pour out His Spirit on all flesh, as Joel clearly predicts, who also tells us after what public event that will take place. God must first act in victorious power on Israel's behalf, and overthrow the northern army which will invade the land. The aggressive power overthrown, and the fertility of the land restored, the Holy Spirit will be poured out on all flesh, and prophecies will be uttered, dreams be dreamed, and visions he seen (Joel ii. 28-30).

With the promises of the outpouring of the Holy Ghost on Israel, and on all flesh, we close the volume of Old Testament scripture, leaving Israel to wait for their fulfilment, which the New Testament teaches us are still to be desired by them. Bet what, in the meantime, is the Spirit of God doing? Is He working, or only awaiting the advent of those times of which Isaiah, Ezekiel, and Joel have foretold? This is an important question for all to understand. So, now turning to the New Testament volume of inspired writings, in what terms, let us ask, is the Holy Ghost mentioned, and in what ways do we therein learn He was, and is, manifested?

And, first, as to the terms in which He is pleased to speak of Himself. For be it remembered that the inspired writings are the words of the Holy Ghost. (1 Cor. ii. 13.)

Besides those mentioned at the commencement of this paper, we read of Him as the Spirit of God, of the living God, of the Father, of His Son, of the Lord, of Jesus (Acts xvi. 7), of Christ, of Jesus Christ (Phil. i. 19), of truth, of grace (Heb. x. 29), of promise (Eph. i. 13). He is called the eternal Spirit (Heb. ix. 14), and is said to be "the truth" (1 John 5:6). Furthermore He is the earnest of our inheritance, the seal wherewith God seals believers, and the unction by which believers know all things (Eph. i. 13, 14; 1 John ii. 20, 27). Moreover He is the other Comforter, or Paraclete (John xiv., xv., xvi.)

Next, if we inquire about His ways of acting, we learn that what He did before the flood, that He did after the cross, and that in a way He does still. By Him men are born again. He acts on the heart, and deals in life-giving power with souls. And as saints were enabled to bear witness for God in the midst of the evil around them, so, by His power and instrumentality, a testimony for God is carried on still. The character of the testimony may vary according to the wants and condition of men, and the times in which the Spirit is working. Thus, before the flood we read of Noah, a preacher of righteousness. Since the cross we have' been made familiar with preachers of grace. The character and object of the testimony has changed, but the energizing power is one and the same. Again, before the flood, and in patriarchal times, we meet with prophets. After the Lord had ascended we learn that there were fresh ones raised up, not only to foretell future events, like Agabus (Acts xi. 28), but to communicate divine teaching by revelation, as well as to set forth God's truth in such a way as to make men feel that it is His word which is spoken to them. For on the foundation of apostles and prophets saints are built (Eph. ii. 20; Eph. iv. 11), and prophets are used of God to edify His people (1 Cor. xiv. 3, 24).

After the fall, and before the flood, the Spirit manifested Himself in ways of testimony amongst men. After God took up Israel as His people, the Holy Ghost, in addition, displayed Himself in works of power, as we have seen. In power, too, we learn from the pages of the New Testament, did He work when the Lord was upon earth, and whilst the apostles continued with the church. Hence terms, similar to those met with in the Old Testament, are used to describe His workings in the New. Of Bezaleel, it was said, that he was filled with the Spirit, and of Joshua that he was full of it. Of both of these states have we examples in the New Testament. John the Baptist, Elizabeth, Zecharias (Luke i. 15, 41, 67), the hundred and twenty on the day of Pentecost (Acts ii. 4), Peter (Acts iv. 8), those assembled together (Acts iv. 31), and Paul (Acts ix. 17; Acts xiii. 9), were filled (eplesthesan) with the Holy Ghost. The six deacons, on the other hand, with Stephen and Barnabas (Acts vi. 3, 5; Acts vii. 55; Acts xi. 24), are said to have been full (pleres) of the Spirit. Filled with the Spirit is used in both Old and New Testaments of those fitted for special service, as Bezaleel, John the Baptist, and Paul (Acts ix. 17), or taken up, and used for a passing purpose, as Elizabeth, Zecharias, the hundred and twenty, Peter, and Paul at Paphos (Acts xiii. 9). Full of the Spirit seems characteristic of the general tenor of the life.

And here another Person must be mentioned, very different from the rest — the man Christ Jesus. To Him, "filled with the Spirit" is a term never applied. Scripture writes of Him as "full of the Holy Ghost" (Luke iv. 1). A reason for this it is surely not difficult to discover. And in confirmation of the difference to which attention is here directed, the reader is requested to note the description of believers at Antioch (Acts xiii. 52), and to mark the exhortation given to God's saints in the Epistle to the Ephesians (Eph. 5:18). For though in a translation the distinction may, perhaps, not be made, in the original it can readily be seen. Of believers we read, "they were being filled" (eplerounto) with the Holy Ghost. To the saints it is said (plerousthe), "be ye filled" with the Spirit. The general character of the former is told us. Of that which should characterize Christians the apostle reminds us. Pleroo can be used when saints are exhorted, pimplemi is only employed when a special condition is described.

Again, as we read of the Spirit being on Othniel and others, so we find that He was on Simeon (Luke ii. 25), and He came upon Mary the Virgin (Luke i. 35), on the twelve disciples at Ephesus (Acts xix. 6), and, as the Lord promised, on the eleven after His ascension (Acts i. 8). Besides this, what Ezekiel describes, that the Spirit fell upon him (Ezek. xi. 5), saints of New Testament times, believers in Samaria and at Caesarea, could speak of as experienced by them. He fell on them, and Peter adds, with reference to the company in the house of Cornelius, "as on us at the beginning" (Acts viii. 16; Acts x. 44; xi. 15). The pouring out, too, of the Spirit we are made familiar with in thought through the writings of the prophets, before we meet with an illustration of it recorded in the Acts. "An illustration" we must say, for the outpourings of Acts ii. and x. were neither of them the fulfilment of the predictions of Joel, or Ezekiel, or Isaiah. These prophecies still await their accomplishment. Meanwhile we have to own that the outpouring of the Holy Ghost is not peculiar to Christianity, though as yet it has been confined to christian times. And, further, we can add that the act was never repeated after that of which we read in Acts x. 45. On two occasions only did it take place, and in two chapters only of the Acts (ii., x.) does the historian describe it; and Paul, the only other New Testament writer who mentions such an action (Titus iii. 6), lends no support to the common idea that it may be looked for in our day. Poured out first on believers from amongst the Jews, poured out too on believers from amongst the Gentiles (thus putting the latter company on the fullest equality with the former, each receiving the gift direct from God) the Holy Ghost has never been poured again. To be filled with the Holy Spirit, or for the Spirit to fall on any one, is spoken of individuals; but the outpouring of the Spirit, is mentioned, in the New Testament, in connection only with a class, Jews or Gentiles (Acts x. 45), and hence is never repeated. And the former statements, it is clear, do not necessarily imply any descent of the Spirit from above, they only describe His reception by saints for the display of His power, through the individual in whom He was acting, as Bezaleel, Ezekiel, and others can bear witness.

Many, then, of the ways in which the Spirit acted before the first advent of the Lord Jesus Christ, can be illustrated from the manner of His working after. In what, it may be asked, have His ways of working since that event differed from His ways before it?

With the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ a new thing was manifested. A man was upon earth, the woman's Seed, conceived of the Holy Ghost. Believers throughout all ages had been, and are, born of the Spirit. The Lord Jesus, however, as man, was conceived of the Holy Ghost. (Matt. i. 20.) Born of the Spirit is true of every one who partakes of the new birth. But begotten of the Holy Ghost, as the virgin's child, is true only of the Lord Jesus Christ. At His baptism by John another action of the Spirit was manifested, differing from any which had been hitherto known, and described in language peculiar to itself. On Him the Spirit descended, katabainon, as Matthew iii. 16, Mark i. 10, Luke iii. 22, and John i. 33, all carefully record. The Lord was full of the Spirit; so was Barnabas, so was Stephen, so were the rest of the deacons. The Spirit too was on Him. Of this, which Isaiah foretold (Isa. lxi. 1), the Lord Himself announced the fulfilment. (Luke iv. 18.) But the Spirit was also on Simeon. So far then the Lord Jesus might seem to he in the same category with these holy men; but in truth the difference between Him and them was immense, and He stands out alone in this, that on Him the Spirit descended. The Spirit which had clothed Gideon, and had worked in power on David and others, the Spirit which had moved upon the face of the waters, now descended on the Lord Jesus in a bodily form like a dove, and, as John the Evangelist adds, giving us the testimony of his namesake the Baptist, that it abode on Him, thus furnishing the son of Zecharias with the double token, by which he should discern the One who would baptize with the Holy Ghost. (John i. 32-34.) And now not only could it be said of Him that He was begotten of the Holy Ghost, and that on Him at His baptism the Spirit descended, for we are taught that, by the descent of the Spirit upon Him, He was both anointed with the Holy Ghost (Acts x. 38), and sealed by Him likewise (John vi. 27). In all this whilst on earth He was alone, others however according to the counsels of God were to be both anointed and sealed, the fruit of His atoning work and the consequence of His ascension to heaven.

Hitherto any action of the Spirit on men beyond that of the new birth has been, as far as we read of such things in the word, restricted to special objects of God's choice. All saints had been born of the Spirit, but all did not prophesy, nor were all energized for special service by Him. The Lord however announced a blessing which would be common to all God's people, and one which He could even impart whilst still on earth. And the time when this was announced, as well as the place, and the terms too in which the communication was conveyed, were in character with the blessing of which God was now pleased to speak. The time chosen was, when the Lord had appeared in humiliation, but in grace, amongst men; and had met with a poor sinner, who could not procure such a thing for herself. The place was a well-side, to which all were free to resort. The figure used was that of water, which is met with in all parts of the earth. And the class which could benefit by it was so comprehensive, as to include within its limits every one who was willing to receive it. So free, so full, so general was to be the blessing, that a poor Samaritan could share in it, and whosoever should once drink of that living water could never thirst, for the water which the Lord would give would he in the recipient a well of water springing up into everlasting life. (John iv. 10, 14.) This could be enjoyed before the cross, and the woman, if she knew the gift of God, and Who it was that accosted her, might have asked, and have received it — the Spirit of God within her for communion with the Father and with the Son.

But in other ways would the Spirit be manifested, only, however, after the cross. Of such the Lord spoke whilst on earth. (John vii. 38; John xiv. 16, 17, 26; John xv. 26; John xvi. 7-15.) The prophetic word told Israel that on them and on all flesh He was to be outpoured. John the Baptist had announced the baptism of the Holy Ghost. The Lord spake of both (Acts i. 58), and dwelt more at length on the objects and results of the Spirit's coming to earth. "When he is come," He said (John xv. 26; John xvi. 13), intimating most clearly that the Spirit is not a mere influence but a divine person, Who could not abide on earth whilst the Lord was here (John xvi. 7), and Who never had been dwelling on earth in any previous age of man's eventful history. (John vii. 39.) The Holy Ghost, John the Evangelist in that passage of his Gospel declares, "was not yet, because that Jesus was not yet glorified." Clearly it is not of the Spirit's existence, but of His dwelling on earth that the apostle writes. "He was not," a phrase any one familiar with Old Testament phraseology would readily understand. Enoch "was not," when he ceased to live on this earth. The Spirit was not, till He came to dwell upon it. (See also Ps. xxxvii. 10; Ps. ciii. 16; Jer. xlix. 10; Matt. ii. 18.) And not as a passing guest, a wayfaring man that tarries just for a little time, was the Holy Ghost to be known, but as the divine Person who would abide "with you," as the Lord said "for ever" (John xiv.16). As such then He is surely present in the assembly of God's saints which is His habitation. No need then was there for Him to write of His presence. God's saints were conscious of it as Peter lets us know. (Acts 5:32.) Are we wrong then in speaking of it? It is true, parousia is a term never applied to the Holy Ghost, though it is used of the Lord. But it should be observed that even to the Lord it was never applied when on earth, and it is used only of Him in connection with the looking for His return. If we meet a person in his house, we do not expect him to be telling us of his presence. If he is absent for a time, he might well apprise us that he would by-and-by be present.

With the Spirit's coming however was to commence the time when He would dwell with the Lord's people on earth, and also be in them, teaching them too all things, and reminding them likewise of all that the Lord had said unto them. (John xiv.) Moreover the Spirit would Himself bear witness of Christ (John xv.), and that not merely through the Lord's people, for they were to bear witness in addition; and by His presence on earth He would demonstrate to the world its sin, and at the same time He would guide the disciples into all the truth. (John xvi.) Great indeed and marked were to be the results of His coming, and believers who received Him would become reservoirs or cisterns, out of which refreshing fertilizing vivifying water should flow to others. (John vii. 31.) A man on whom the Spirit could descend and abide, anointed with and sealed by Him also, energized too by Him, and begotten of Him in a manner peculiar to Himself, able to give the Holy Ghost, and about to baptize with the Spirit, led of Him, and full of Him — such was the Man Christ Jesus, the Son of God most high. Alone begotten of the Spirit, the only one too on whom He has ever descended, as well as the sole Baptizer with the Holy Ghost, there are, on the other hand, certain statements made about Him, which are applied to others as well. Men in earlier days had been energized, and fresh ones would be energized by the Spirit, who would also be written of as indwelt by the Spirit of God, anointed with Him, and sealed by Him. But for all this the Son must go to the Father. Yet ere He went to heaven, He breathed on His disciples, and gave them the Holy Ghost, communicating thus the Spirit from Himself the risen One, that, sent by Him, they might be authorized to act in discipline in His assembly upon earth. (John xx. 21-23; Matt. xviii. 18.)

And now we meet with a term used more than once on future occasions — "Receive ye the Holy Ghost." Does this of necessity imply an outpouring of the Spirit each time He is received? The use of the term in John xx. clears up that point. The disciples received the Holy Ghost from the Lord before the outpouring took place; after that had taken place, believers received the Spirit, and each one does in whom He dwells; but to receive the Holy Ghost, an outpouring each time is clearly not requisite, and further the Spirit may be received without the imposition of hands, and apart from the miraculous powers with which at times believers were endowed. Of this too John xx. is a witness. And though the Galatian saints had received the Spirit, and those of Ephesus and Rome as well, with the exception the twelve at Ephesus, we have no hint of miraculous powers being shared in by these saints at all.

At length the day of Pentecost arrived, and the Lord Jesus having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, shed forth that which the astonished multitude both saw and heard. The Holy Spirit had come, the third person in the Godhead now took up for the first time His dwelling-place on earth, an event fraught with important issues for believers collectively, for the world, and for saints individually.

And first as to the bearing of the coming of the Holy Ghost on believers collectively. The Lord Jesus, as we have seen, had been marked out by the descent of the Spirit upon Him at His baptism by John as the One who should baptize with the Holy Ghost. This baptism, peculiar in its character, and for a special purpose, now for the first time took place. Baptism with water was nothing new; John had administered such a rite. The disciples too were empowered to baptize with water. The Lord Jesus alone has baptized with the Holy Ghost. But on two occasions only have we any hint of such a baptism having taken place. On the day of Pentecost in the upper room in Jerusalem it was first administered. In the house of Cornelius (must we not say?) it again took place. (Acts xi. 16.) John the Baptist had foretold it, the four Evangelists record his testimony about it, the church's historian, Luke, recounts the occasions and circumstances under which it took place (Acts i. 5; ii., xi. 16), and Paul in writing to the Corinthians states doctrinally the results of it. (1 Cor. xii. 13.) But as with the outpouring of the Holy Ghost, so with the baptism of the Spirit, no hint have Christians to ask for repetition of it, nor is there ground to look for it. For its effect being the baptizing believers into one body, this, when once done, was not to be repeated. Believers from amongst Israel were baptized into one body on the day of Pentecost; believers from amongst Gentiles were also baptized by the same Spirit into the body in the house of Cornelius. Had it been otherwise, converts from the Gentiles might have never been allowed a place of equality, or the recognition of oneness, with converts from the race of Israel. To mark the equality and oneness both companies received the Holy Spirit in the same way, direct from above, without human intervention of any kind. One sees the reason for the second outpouring and baptizing. One may surely, too, easily discern why they did not, and could not, take place afresh. And whatever may be said by men, we should remember that One person only in scripture is said to baptize with the Spirit (Matt. iii. 11), and nowhere in the word is there any statement from which to draw the inference, that an apostle could baptize with the Spirit, or that laying on of hands was ever requisite for this baptism to be bestowed.

But are the outpouring and baptizing, some may ask, distinct actions of the Spirit? At one and the same time both took place, though the ideas conveyed to us by the terms made use of are very different. The outpouring reminds us of the plenitude of God's gift; the baptism describes a special effect upon believers, who, thereby made one body, were henceforth to be conscious of it and declare it. The lines of demarcation between nations were not obliterated, but believers of whatever nationality were members one of another, being members of the body of Christ, the Spirit which was in Him uniting them to Him the Head, and to one another as members of His body. Thus a double tie existed. Believers at Antioch, in Syria, in Macedonia, in Achaia, and Galatia, owned the poor saints at Jerusalem as brethren, with whom they were closely connected by the tie of birth, being children of one Father. Believers too were members of the body of Christ, being united to Him, the Head by the Holy Ghost; and this so really, that one member could not say to another, I have no need of thee (1 Cor. xii. 21); nor, if the proper development of the body is to take place, can one member he dispensed with. (Eph. iv. 16; Col. ii. 19.) And although the body of Christ may be termed a mystical body, it is none the less a real body, and Christians are reminded that there is but one such, the unity formed by the Spirit, which all believers are exhorted to keep (Eph. iv. 3), and which, by partaking of the one loaf at the Lord's table, we openly declare that we really are. (1 Cor. x. 17.)

Besides this, the Spirit has builded believers into an habitation katoiketerion of God (Eph. ii. 22), called elsewhere God's house oikos (1 Tim. iii. 16), and God's temple naos. (1 Cor. iii. 16.) In this the Holy Ghost dwells. He is not said to dwell in the body. He forms that, but He dwells in the house. The outpouring then of the Spirit was not merely the bestowal of power, but the coming of a divine Person to take up His abode upon earth in the assembly of God's saints, as the Lord had previously declared. And so really is He on earth, that Ananias and Sapphira tempted Him, and lied to Him. (Acts 5:3-9.) So truly does He dwell in the assembly of God, whether local or general, that if any man corrupts the temple of God, him will God destroy, for the temple of God is holy, which temple, addressing the Corinthians, the apostle declares, "ye are." (1 Cor. iii. 17.) And so surely does the Spirit abide with the church whilst it continues on earth, that with the bride (not merely through the bride) He asks the Lord to come as the Morning Star. (Rev. xxii. 17.)

Secondly, the Spirit's presence on earth concerned the world, and had an important bearing both on mission work in general, and on the due regulation of local assemblies. He was to testify of Christ. This, which the Lord predicted (John xv. 26) Peter announced was actually taking place. (Acts 5:32.) His presence too on earth, as come, sent by the Lord Jesus Christ, attests the world's sin in rejecting God's Son, and witnesses of righteousness, because He has gone to His Father, as well as of judgment, for the prince of this world is thereby judged. Three solemn conclusions for the world does the Spirit by His presence here set forth. It is true the world has never seen Him, it cannot see Him, yet His presence is none the less sure, and does concern it most deeply, however it may refuse to heed His testimony.

Further, He directed in mission work, as well as appointed officers in the local assemblies. He selected Paul and Barnabas for their missionary work among the Gentiles, and sent them forth from Himself to accomplish that to which He had called them. (Acts xiii. 2, 4.) He directed Philip to join company with the eunuch (Acts viii. 29), and encouraged Peter to enter the house of Cornelius, escorted thither by the centurion's servants, whom the Spirit had sent for that purpose. (Acts x. 19, 20.) He hindered Paul and his company from labouring in Asia, and would not suffer them to enter Bithynia. (Acts xvi. 6, 7.) Neither to the left hand nor to the right was Paul to turn, for he was to journey straight on in order to enter Europe by way of Troas. On another occasion He forbade Paul by the instrumentality of others to go up to Jerusalem (Acts xxi. 4); a communication however to which the apostle gave no heed, and with what results to himself we all know. With the Spirit's action within the assembly the apostle Paul acquaints us. Overseers or bishops were placed by Him (Acts xx. 28) in different local assemblies, and He divides to each man gifts charismata severally as He will. (1 Cor. xii. 11.) Opportunity then should be given in the assembly for the manifestation of the Spirit by whomsoever He may select. And true worship now, that which God owns as such, is by the Spirit of God, as we should probably read in Philippians iii. 3.

But not only to work as believers, but to be in them individually, did the Holy Ghost come. "He shall be in you," the Lord declared. (John xiv. 17.) In accordance with this we read of saints receiving the Spirit (Acts xix. 2; Gal. iii. 2); of the Spirit being given to them (Rom. 5:5; 1 Thess. iv. 8), and supplied, or ministered, to them (Gal. iii. 5); of their having the Spirit (Jude i. 19), being led of the Spirit (Rom. viii. 14; Gal. 5:18), and walking in the Spirit (Gal. 5:16); of their being sealed with the Spirit (Eph. i. 13; Eph. iv. 30), and indwelt by the Spirit, as well as of the Spirit making intercession for them, helping their infirmities, and witnessing with their spirit of their relationship to God. (Rom. viii. 9, 11, 16, 26.) But any, and all, of this is true only of believers. For whilst souls are born of the Spirit, He dwells only in such as are already believers. He was in the prophets of old as the Spirit of Christ. (1 Peter i. 11.) He was with them as David declares. (Ps. li. 11.) But that which was true of every prophet of old, and of every vessel taken up by God for special service, was not true of all God's saints before the cross. Now it is different. And though all are not gifts from the ascended Christ, to minister in the assembly; nor are all pastors, to care in a special way for the flock; nor are all prophets, to edify God's saints, though all can prophesy, if qualified by the Spirit to do it (1 Cor. xiv. 31); yet to each one a gift, or gifts, charismata, are given to profit withal. And it is the distinctive mark, as well as the common privilege, of every believer to have the Spirit of God within him. (John xiv. 17.) And everyone, who now with the heart believes God's testimony of forgiveness of sins through the atoning work of the Lord Jesus Christ, does share in this great, this blessed, gift (Acts ii. 38; Acts x. 43, 44; Gal. iii. 2; Eph. i. 13) which it needed as a rule no apostle of old to give.

So, addressing the Corinthians, Paul reminds them that the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. (1 Cor. xii. 7-11.) Writing to the Galatians, he mentions the gift of the Spirit as common to them all. (Gal. iii., Gal. iv.) And, though desirous to impart to the Romans some spiritual gift, to establish them whom he had never as a body seen, and to whom as an assembly none of the eleven had ministered, he writes of them as having the Spirit given to them by God. (Rom. 5:5.) In a similar strain John writes in his Gospel (John vii. 39), and presses on the youngest believer in his Epistle. (1 John ii. 20, 27.) And so really does the Spirit dwell in each believer, that his body is a temple of the Holy Ghost (1 Cor. vi. 19), and will, if it dies, be raised up, because He has dwelt in it, as Romans viii. 11 really states. Further, any Christian who deals deceitfully with a brother in the matter of his wife is told that he despises not man but God, who hath also given unto us His Holy Spirit. (1 Thess. iv. 8.) How practical is the teaching in connection with this truth!

Again, the Spirit is the earnest of our inheritance; by Him too we are sealed, as well as anointed. Of the two first Paul alone writes. He is the earnest, as in us, of the inheritance we shall share by-and-by with the Lord Jesus. By the Spirit too we are sealed of God, thus marked as those who are His. Besides this, the Spirit is the unction. Paul just mentions this (2 Cor. i. 21), but John expatiates somewhat on it. (1 John ii. 20,27.)* Thus of our future portion are we reminded and assured, as well as of our present relationship to Him whose Spirit dwells in us. God would have us informed of all this, and by the Spirit it is effected. He bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and because we are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying Abba Father. (Rom. viii. 16; Gal. iv. 6.) What mighty and what blessed results flow from the coming of the Holy Ghost! He wrought on men, and worked through men, before the flood. He acted in person by men in addition after the flood. After the cross, in addition to all that, He came to dwell in believers, as well as in God's habitation upon earth. All then which follows from His dwelling upon earth is distinctively christian truth.

[* But, though knowing all things as thus anointed, so that the youngest believer is not to depend on the teaching of men, the apostle never meant, nor did he ever say, that they were independent of apostolic teaching. "He that knoweth God heareth us," is his statement in that same epistle, written, as he also tells us, that we might know that we have eternal life, who believe on the name of the Son of God. The fact of his writing the epistle shows we are not independent of divine and apostolic teaching. His writing in the way he did to the babes in Christ, shows how perfectly God has provided in His word, through the gift of the Holy Ghost, given to the individual, for his being led on in truth.]

Just one more fact should be mentioned, ere this slight sketch is concluded. Scripture predicts a time of apostasy (2 Thess. ii.; Rev. xiii.), and the appearance of a minister of iniquity called the lawless one. (2 Thess. ii. 8.) What has hindered his manifestation up to this very hour? The germs of the evil, which will develop into that apostasy, were on earth in apostolic days. But what hindered then has hindered, and still hinders, the full carrying out of Satan's plans? Scripture seems to intimate that it is the Holy Ghost. It is a power, and a person, to katechon, ho katechon. What so well answers to this double description as the Holy Spirit of God present on earth, who restrains, because present, the bursting forth of that flood of iniquity, which for a time in Christendom will seem to carry all before it?

The Spirit, however, though He will then have ceased to dwell upon earth, will yet work here as a field for the manifestation of divine grace and power. Souls will be converted, testimony for God and for the Lord will go out and very extensive results will he the consequence, and at length, when the Lord shall have come to reign over Israel, and God's opponents have been by Him overthrown, the outpouring of the Spirit, of which the prophets have spoken, will taken place, and rest and peace will find a dwelling-place upon this earth. E. S. (C. E. Stuart?)

Receiving the Holy Ghost.

1876 101 Till the advent of the Lord Jesus in humiliation none had ever received the Holy Ghost, though in all ages the Spirit had worked, and at times had made use of men as instruments for the display of His power. In apostolic days believers did receive the Holy Ghost. Do they still? Such a question, one would have thought, could have been answered but in one way by any believer who studied the word. The contrary, however, it would appear, is the case, judging by the following extracts from a pamphlet, entitled, "Are 'the Brethren' right?" recently written by Mr. H. Govett, who introduces the subject, he tells us, not "as an enemy, but as a brother in Christ" (p. 2), and who desires the profit of his brethren, "whom, as I suppose," are his concluding words, "I have led to consider the scriptures bearing on these solemn questions, so important to our present welfare. The Lord and my brethren in Christ accept what is according to scripture." (Page 65.)

Accepting the scriptures as the only standard to which we can appeal, and by which all that may be written on such a subject must be measured and weighed, what position does the author of that pamphlet take up on this subject, that constrained him to ask the question which he has put on the forefront of his brochure? "In short," he writes, "since we have neither apostles, nor the falling of the Holy Ghost upon any, we have not the gift, or the gifts, of the Holy Ghost." (Page 16.) "Was the laying on of an apostle's hands the ordinary way of procuring the Spirit of sonship? O, then! apostles are as much needed now as then. [The italics in these quotations are the author's.] They were not merely workers of signs, they were agents of sanctification, and edification. Do we not need edification and sanctification still? Do we not need power to witness for Christ still? Then we need either the Holy Ghost's falling on us still, or apostles to bestow that power." (Page 17.)

"As then, we have no falling of the Holy Ghost on any, and no apostles, we have not the baptism of the Holy Ghost; which is the great promise of our dispensation." (Page 21.)

"In like manner it may be proved that we have not received the Spirit. This appears on the face of the record concerning Samaria. Those in our day who have advanced the farthest have believed, and been baptized. But as yet the Spirit has not fallen on us; and no apostles have arisen to pray for us, and to bestow the Holy Ghost by the imposition of hands. (Acts viii.) In the sense which 'Brethren' put on the words 'receiving the Spirit,' He is received. But not in the scripture sense. Nor have we 'the sealing of the Spirit.'"(Page 22.) "Believers now have no sealing." (Page 23.)

These and kindred statements are not wanting in clearness; but surely the reader, as he perused them, must have opened his eyes in astonishment. The possession now of the Spirit of sonship is denied. Let the child of God, who cries Abba Father, witness if the author's teaching on this point is to be accepted. Are all Christians in the condition to which Mr. Govett would by his words reduce them? The great promise too, as the author calls it, of the dispensation we have not. Has God then failed to perform His word? Baptism of the Spirit, the author tells us, was only by the falling of the Holy Ghost on any, or by imposition of apostolic hands. How then could Paul write? "By one Spirit are we all baptized into one body." (1 Cor. xii, 13.) Paul owed nothing to other apostles (2 Cor. xii. 11; Gal. ii. ii), yet he shared in the baptism of the Holy Ghost. Hands were laid on him, but they were those of Ananias at Damascus, and subsequently those of the prophets and teachers at Antioch. On his head we may feel pretty certain that no apostolic hands were laid to impart to him the Holy Ghost. Of an illapse of the Spirit on Paul the word is silent. The last illapse of the Spirit, by which believers were baptized with the Holy Ghost, took place, our author tells us, at Caesarea, in the house of Cornelius. (Page 51.) Paul clearly was not there present. Yet he shared in the baptism of the Holy Ghost.

Again, the sealing by the Spirit now is denied. The gift of the Holy Ghost we have not, nor any of His gifts. Of edification we are deprived, and the Spirit in the present state of matters we cannot obtain. And yet the author admits the need of edification. Christian reader, can you endorse the character thus drawn of your God? Not such was the character that the Son gave of the Father. (Matt. vii. 11.) Have saints since apostolic days been deprived of that which they really needed? And must we continue thus lacking, till fresh apostles are raised up? For these the author looks, basing his expectation on Luke xi. 49, 50; Matt. xxiii. 34–36; Matt. xxiv. 45–51; Luke xii. 42–46: passages surely, a reference to which is enough to demonstrate the instability of his ground. Luke xi. 49, 50; Matt. xxiii. 31–36; refer to the Jews, not to the church. Matt. xxiv. 45–51; Luke xii. 42 — 46 treat of the Lord's servants, and not of any company of apostles as such. Peter's question and the Lord's answer make this pretty plain. "Lord speakest thou this parable unto us, or even to all?" was the son of Simon's interrogation. "Who then is that faithful and wise steward," etc., was the Lord's immediate rejoinder.

On this point, however, we have not to pit the opinion of one man in the nineteenth century of our era against that of another. The valedictory address of Paul to the Ephesian elders at Miletus (Acts xx.), the exhortation given by Jude (ver. 20), and last, but not least, the strain of Peter's Second Epistle, the very apostle who put that question, and received that answer, all make it evident, that they knew nothing of a second twelve to arise. And Peter surely, by what he wrote (2 Peter i. 15), had not viewed the Lord's answer to him in the same light as Mr. Govett regards it. (Page 52.) Apostolic teaching, then, lends no countenance to the supposition of the rise of new apostles, by whom the gift of the Spirit, or His gifts, would be conferred on believers.

Nor is there so much as a hint in the Lord's addresses to the seven churches, delivered when most, if not all, the apostles, but John, had departed to be with Christ, that the saints would lack any thing as from God, which was needful for faithfulness and service upon earth. Hear the Lord addressing the godly company in Thyatira: "That which ye have, hold fast till I come." In what terms does He address the angel in Sardis? "Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard; and hold fast and repent." But, says Mr. Govett, if we have not apostles we have not the baptism of the Spirit. (Page 52.) Did apostles, it may be asked, ever baptize with the Holy Ghost? One alone do we read was to do that — the Lord Jesus Christ. (John i. 33.) Apostles in common with all believers shared in that baptism (Acts i. 5; Acts xi. 16; 1 Cor. xii. 13); but we never read that they are needful now to bestow it.

Dismissing, then, as unsupported by scripture, any expectation of the rise of fresh apostles whilst the church is on earth, let us endeavour to find from the written word the answer to a question put by our author (p. 13): "What is the meaning of 'receiving the Holy Ghost?'"

Of this John in his Gospel (John vii. 39) has made mention, where we first meet with that term. Now, to receive the Holy Ghost is to be indwelt by Him (Rom. viii. 9), and hence such are no longer in the flesh but in the Spirit, and their bodies become His temples. (1 Cor. vi. 19.) Was it then simply divine power coming on individuals that is meant by the term, receiving the Holy Ghost? Old Testament saints had known that, but of none of them do we read that they received the Holy Ghost. Was it an endowment of spiritual gifts, as tongues, miracles, etc.? These might be, and were at times shared in by some who had received the Spirit. But in truth it was far more. It was the Holy Ghost that was received. And nothing less than this is the common privilege of believers since the day of Pentecost. To the multitude, who were pricked to the heart that day, Peter announced that, on certain and specified conditions, they would receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. (Acts ii. 38.) For this same gift Peter and John prayed on behalf of believers in Samaria. (Acts viii. 15, 20.) The company in the house of Cornelius received it. (Acts x. 47.) The twelve disciples at Ephesus were asked if they had been recipients of it. (Acts xix. 2.) And this gift was shared in by all who obeyed God, as Peter asserted before the rulers assembled in council at Jerusalem. (Acts 5:32.) The Galatians too had received the Holy Ghost, (Gal. iii. 2.) To the Romans God had given the same gift (Rom. 5:5); and the Spirit had been given to the saints at Corinth (1 Cor. ii. 12), and at Thessalonica (1 Thess. iv. 8), as well as to those to whom James (James iv. 5), John (1 John iii. 24), and Jude (ver. 19) severally wrote.

In short, apostolic testimony on this point is uniform, clear, and decided, that believers received nothing less than the Holy Ghost, which was the gift of God. (Acts viii. 20; xi. 17.) Hence they received all that the Spirit could be to them, and might, if He pleased, share in all that with which He could endow them. Receiving the Holy Ghost they had the earnest of the inheritance, for the Spirit is the earnest. (2 Cor. i. 22; 2 Cor. 5:5; Eph. i. 13, 14.) They were sealed too, for He is the seal. (Eph. i. 13; Eph. iv. 30.) They were anointed also, for He is the unction. (2 Cor. i. 21; 1 John ii. 20, 27.) Again, receiving the Holy Ghost, the love of God was shed abroad in their hearts (Rom. 5:5), and they could know the things that were freely given to them of God. (1 Cor. ii. 12.) The Spirit of sonship too was theirs, for He is the Spirit of God's Son; hence they could cry 'Abba, Father.' (Rom. viii. 15; Gal. iv. 6.) Moral likeness to Christ they could seek after, for they had the Spirit of Christ. (Rom. viii. 9, 10.) Members of Christ they each and all were (1 Cor. vi. 15 — 17; 1 Cor. xii. 12, 27); and their mortal bodies would be quickened, they were taught, for they were indwelt by His Spirit, who had raised up Jesus from the dead. (Rom. viii. 11.) All this was theirs through receiving the Holy Ghost.

Here it may be well to point out the distinction between the gift of the Holy Ghost, the gifts of the Spirit (1 Cor. xii.), and the gifts bestowed on men by the ascended Christ. (Eph. iv. 8.)

The first of these called dorea, intimating that it is freely bestowed, is the gift of God. The second, termed charismata "favours," the Holy Ghost divides to every man severally as He will. The third, spoken of as domata gifts, are from Christ in glory. The two former were given only to Christians, the third is bestowed on men. The first, dorea, is given by God, and is common to all believers. The second, charismata, are various, and were divided to different individuals. Thus, as believers, some might have one of these gifts, some another. Some more than one. But probably it was a rare thing to meet with one Christian endowed with them all. Perhaps, we may rightly question the existence at any time of such an individual. At Corinth some had the gift of tongues, others that of interpreting tongues. A man might have both (1 Cor. xiv. 13), but it is clear, that at Corinth all who were endowed with the former, did not possess the latter. (1 Cor. xiv. 28.) All however had the gift of the Holy Ghost, dorea, (1 Cor. vi. 19), but His gifts, charismata, were divided amongst them. So, whilst of some it was true that they had a gift of tongues, others that of prophecy, others the power of working miracles, we never read that one had the earnest, and another the unction. A believer could not have the earnest without the unction also, for the Holy Ghost is both; so having the Spirit he had both. All such then were sealed, all such had the earnest, all such had the unction, all such had the Spirit of sonship, whereby to cry 'Abba, Father.'

The third, the gifts of Christ are quite distinct from the gift of God, which is the Holy Ghost, and the gifts of the Spirit, for they are individuals, apostles, prophets, etc., given by the Lord to men for the furtherance of His work here below. So an apostle, or an evangelist was a gift of Christ to men. That same servant might have the gift of tongues, or some one or more manifestations of the Spirit, to enable him to labour effectively amongst men. But, though himself a gift of Christ to men, and partaking of the gifts of the Spirit, he had also received the gift of the Holy Ghost. In one labourer then as Paul, Apollos, Cephas, or others, we could have traced out these three, the gift of God, the gifts of the Spirit, and the gift of Christ, and distinguished them.

Leaving aside however the gifts of Christ as foreign to our subject, we would direct special attention to the difference between the gift of God, which is the Holy Ghost, and the gifts of the Spirit, for where this is not seen, confusion is apt to be engendered. But scripture makes things clear; and, from the language uniformly used, it is evident, that receiving the Spirit must be something different from having divided to us of His gifts. Into this confusion however Mr. Govett has fallen, as he tells us, "The gift dorea is a general term, including all varieties of the gifts." (Page 16.) Again he writes, "What was received (that is, in the house of Cornelius)? The gift of tongues? Do we receive them? Did any one ever know an assembly called to hear the Gospel, which broke forth in foreign languages?" (Page 8.) "Apostles then ask for this gift of God and bestow it, that is, the gifts of tongues, prophecy, etc." (Page 18.)

Now scripture says, that what was received in Samaria, and in the house of Cornelius, was the Holy Ghost. (Acts viii. 17; Acts x. 47; Acts xi. 17.) How the reception of the Spirit at Samaria was manifested, the sacred historian does not inform us. On such a point we then may well be silent. What, however, took place in the house of Cornelius Luke has recorded, and the manner of its manifestation he has carefully noted. While Peter was speaking to them (having just mentioned the universal testimony of the prophets, regarding forgiveness of sins through the name of Jesus Christ for all who believed on Him), the Holy Ghost fell on all them that heard the word, and they spake with tongues and magnified God. By the illapse of the Spirit they were empowered to speak with tongues. But of what was that gift, charisma, a witness? Let the historian tell us: "And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost; for they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God." (Acts x. 45, 46.) What then had taken place? An illapse of the Spirit? Granted. But there was more. On these believers the Spirit had been poured. They had also just received the Holy Ghost, of which the manifestation through His falling on them, so that they spake with tongues, and magnified God, was on the present occasion the outward demonstration. Concerning them four things are affirmed. The Holy Ghost was poured on them, they were baptized with the Spirit, they received the Holy Ghost, and He fell on them.

At Pentecost cloven tongues of fire had appeared, which sat upon each one in the house, besides which they spake with other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. At Ephesus the Spirit came upon the twelve disciples, on whom Paul had laid his hands, and they spake with tongues and prophesied. The manifestations, therefore, of the Spirit were not exactly the same on each occasion; one manifestation was common to all these three, and the reason of it the word makes apparent. They all spake with tongues, which was a sign that would commend itself even to unbelievers (1 Cor. xiv. 22); for there were, as the apostle tells us, what may be called sign-gifts and edification-gifts. Of these, speaking with tongues is an example of the first, and prophecy an illustration of the last. There was a propriety, then, on these occasions in marking the Spirit's power in a way every one could understand, so those who received the Holy Ghost also spake with tongues. But at Pentecost, besides that, cloven tongues as of fire appeared, and sat upon each of them. Of the like of this we never read again. At Caesarea they magnified God; at Ephesus they prophesied.

Here, then, naturally arises the question, on the right answer to which a great deal depends, is the term, receiving the Holy Ghost, identical in meaning with the Spirit falling, or coming upon, saints? Can we have the first without participating iii the second? Is the latter a needful prelude to the former? We must answer the former of these questions in the affirmative, and the latter in the negative. Receiving the Spirit, and the falling of the Spirit on any one are very different. The Spirit is given by God. He is never said to give Himself. The Spirit is given to believers — that is an act on God's part. The Spirit might fall on the same believers — that would be an act on His own part. In apostolic days both actions could, and did, at times take place, yet they are not to be confounded. We say at times, because Paul's question to the disciples at Ephesus would surely have been superfluous if the Spirit had fallen on them, or had come on them. Why ask them whether they had received the Holy Ghost, if they could not have the former without the latter? For, wherever the Spirit fell on souls, or came on them, those around them, in some way or other, were made sensible of it. (Acts ii.; Acts viii. 16–18; x. 46.) But if, as indeed is the case, receiving the Spirit is one thing, and His falling on people quite another, we can well understand the question put, and its propriety likewise. For the fact that the apostle put it suggests this very forcibly, that souls in apostolic days could receive the Holy Ghost without sharing in any illapse of the Spirit. The former is the common privilege of all true believers on the Lord Jesus Christ, and is treated of, where no falling of the Spirit on individuals is so much as hinted at. Witness the Romans, the Thessalonians, and those to whom John wrote. All these had received the Spirit, yet we have no authority for supposing that on any of them had He fallen.

But was there not more in that question than some may perhaps have surmised? On those to whom it was addressed the Spirit did subsequently come; in order, however, for Him to come on them they had first to receive the Holy Ghost. This seems pretty evident from the evangelist's statement about those in Samaria to whom Peter and John went down, and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Ghost, "for as yet," Luke adds, "he was fallen upon none of them." Had He already fallen on them, it would have been evident that they had received the Spirit. But He had not. How, then, were they to share in all the fulness of blessing, and manifestation of it, in common with their brethren ill Judea? They must receive the Holy Ghost before becoming instruments for the display of His power. The apostles therefore prayed, not that He should fall on them, but that they might receive the Holy Ghost. To uninstructed minds it might have seemed, that what was wanted, was an illapse of the Spirit. Peter and John, taught of the Spirit, prayed for something else, namely, that they might receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. Thus the narrative of events in Samaria throws light on the fitness of the apostle Paul's question at Ephesus. That question suggests that there may be the receiving of the Spirit without His coming on the individuals; and Peter and John's procedure at Samaria intimates, that no illapse could be looked for, till believers had been made partakers of the gift. Believers might receive the Holy Ghost without sharing in any illapse of the Spirit. To share, however, in the latter it was necessary for them to be recipients of the gift of the Holy Ghost.

How, then, can we receive the Holy Ghost? Our author tells us that it cannot take place unless the Spirit falls on us, or apostolic hands are laid on us. We trust it is made sufficiently clear that it was not by an illapse of the Spirit that souls received the gift of God in apostolic times. By the imposition of apostolic hands we cannot receive the gift — on this point we are agreed. Can we not, then, receive the Spirit? Must we be, and continue to be, deprived of this gift unless new apostles are vouchsafed us? To this Mr. Govett answers, Yes. We answer, No. There was a way by which the Spirit was received in the earliest days of Christianity; that way is available still. At Jerusalem Peter indicated it. At Caesarea it was exemplified. In Galatia it was found to be sufficient. The obedience of faith, submission to God's word and truth about His Son, is the available way to which we refer. To the multitude, pricked to the heart, Peter declared that if they repented, and were baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, they should receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. (Acts ii. 38.) No hint is there here of the need of laying on of hands, nor of any illapse of the Spirit being requisite. Their part was to believe God's announcement, and submit to it, and they would receive the Holy Ghost. The company at Caesarea heard the word, and believed it (Acts x. 44; Acts xv. 7), and received the Holy Ghost. By the hearing of faith the Galatians had received it. (Gal. iii. 2.) To those, in short, who obey God this gift is given. (Acts 5:32.) By the laying on of an apostle's hands the Spirit, it is true, was on two occasions given, but were not these exceptional cases, and for special reasons, as has been pointed out by another? The Samaritans had to see they were not independent of Jerusalem, as they and their fathers had so long pretended, so from two who came from Jerusalem they received the Holy Ghost. Paul's apostleship was evidenced at Ephesus to be in nothing inferior to that of any of the twelve, for by him believers could receive the Holy Ghost. But neither Paul nor Peter, both of whom were used in that remarkable way, ever bade disciples to look to such a channel in order to receive it. As far as light is cast on the subject from the written word, and there only can we learn about it, the conferring the gift of the Holy Ghost by the imposition of apostolic hands was an exceptional manner of bestowing it. The conferring of a gift (charisma) seems to have been part of the ordinary apostolic service. (Rom. i. 11; 1 Tim. iv. 14; 2 Tim. i. 6); the communication of the gift (dorea) of the Holy Ghost was an unusual act.

But Mr. Govett joins issue on this point, and adduces, as he thinks, scripture warranty for the supposition, that the normal way of receiving the Holy Ghost was by the imposition of an apostle's hands. For scripture warranty he turns us to Hebrews vi. 1, 2. For scripture examples he points to 1 Timothy iv. 14; 2 Timothy i. 6; Romans i. 11. Now the reference to Hebrews vi. 1, 2, assuming that his translation, "baptisms of instruction," could stand, is quite beside the point. The apostle is here writing of truths common to Jews and to Christians, called by him "the word of the beginning of Christ," that is, doctrines known and accepted when the Lord was upon earth. On these he would not then dwell, his object being to get those believers on to full and distinctive christian ground. So he tells them he would then leave aside such truths as they held in common with Jews. But was the gift of the Holy Ghost a truth known and shared in by Jews? It never was enjoyed till after the Lord had risen. So that scripture, it is clear, cannot apply to the matter in hand. A reference to it, to substantiate Mr. Govett's position, is clearly inadmissible. Besides this, the word baptismos, baptism, found in this passage is never elsewhere used for baptism, either of water or of the Holy Ghost. When that which we understand by baptism is treated of, we meet uniformly with the word, baptisma. Baptismos, wherever else it occurs, is applied to the washing of cups, etc. (Mark vii. 4, 8); and to ceremonial cleansings (Heb. ix. 10), carnal ordinances with which all Jews were familiar. Hence, on exegetical and etymological grounds, we must demur to our author's use of that passage in Hebrews vi. Similarly, for reasons already stated, we cannot accept as pertinent the illustrations to which he would turn us.

Many other points in his pamphlet might be remarked on; but we must forbear, and will conclude with noticing just two, which Mr. Govett presses strongly on the attention of his readers. The first is the use of a hymn-book; the second is the scriptural meaning of prophesying.

As regards the hymn-book, he asks, "Is the Spirit grieved at being thus confined to these five hundred hymns, and these two hundred tunes? Is it scriptural to come prepared with hymn-books and tune-books? or is it not?" (p. 38.) Again, "Why, then, must God's free Spirit be tied to the letter? Were not the hymns of Zecharias, of Mary, and of Elizabeth, inspired and extemporaneous? How is it the church has none? How is it she is confined to the same printed selection?" (p. 40.) Again, "We want to know, if singing by book is right, why praying by book, and preaching by book, are not right also?" (p. 38.)

In these remarks there is a fallacy, and there is a confounding of things that surely differ. It is assumed that the assembly is restricted to the hymn-book. And hymn-singing is here treated of as if it were similar to prayer or preaching, from both of which it is very different. To sing together, we must acquaint one another with that in which all are to join. We listen to one who preaches; we follow one who leads in prayer, so as to say Amen to that which he rightly utters. But we sing together. The exercises, then, are distinct, and that of singing most markedly different from the other two. Need we also point out the incongruity of calling attention to the song of Zecharias, and the utterances of Elizabeth and Mary, when writing on such a subject as congregational singing? Zecharias, we read, filled with the Holy Ghost, prophesied; his was an inspired communication. Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Ghost, gave vent to her thoughts by addressing Mary the virgin. Mary, in the fulness of her heart, poured forth her praise alone. It is difficult to understand anyone seriously referring to these three when writing on such a subject. Zecharias was uttering inspired predictions. Is that congregational singing? Elizabeth addressed Mary, whose visit formed the theme of her communication. Is that the character of congregational psalmody? Mary, in the presence of Elizabeth, poured forth alone the Magnificat. Is that, we ask, an instance or illustration of congregational singing? But further. As all sing together, it is necessary to communicate to all the words about to be sung. Hence we must know before we utter it what it is we are to sing. Does this, then, necessitate an assembly being restricted to a certain selection of hymns? By no means. If any one was led to give out words to be sung not in the collection — and such a thing has been done — there is nothing to hinder it, provided the scripture rule is observed, "Let all things be done unto edifying." (1 Cor. xiv. 26.) This rule, and the other, "Let all things be done decently and in order," are to be observed when the church comes together.

That they did sing psalms in the assembly is clear. There was room for singing, and that exercise is regarded as suited to the assembly. The apostle does not forbid it, nor does he say it was wrong to have a psalm; he only lays down principles to direct those who would teach or lead the rest. It is clear, moreover, from his notice of the practice, that the psalms commonly sung were not inspired communications, for he writes of each one having a psalm, etc., the pressing of which on the attention of the assembly, without reference to the edification of all, induced a state of confusion, against which for the future they were to watch, as well as to correct the bad habit into which they had fallen. But was God the author of confusion? Paul distinctly asserts He was not. And surely Mr. Govett would cordially agree in this. Then He could not have inspired each one to have a psalm, and sing it, for that was productive of great confusion. Nay, more, as there is but one Holy Ghost, we know that He does not, and would not, so act on different people at once as to produce discord instead of harmony, confusion instead of order, strife and contention instead of peace. The edification of saints is that which He aims at and provides for. Psalms might then be sung, and prophesying be in exercise, subject to the rules already referred to, and the only allowed interruption was on the occasion of a revelation then and there vouchsafed. That was to take precedence of all regular prophesying. If therefore the psalms were inspired, it was right, according to this direction, to bring them out as they did; Paul, however, blamed them for their practice, because, he knew, and they knew, they were not singing by inspiration.

But this leads naturally to the consideration of the question, what is the prophesying of which the apostle here treats? Mr. Govett affirms "that it always supposes God's inspiration, whether spoken of Old or New Testament prophets." (Page 53.) Here again we are compelled to differ from him. Prophesying might be the utterance of an inspired communication — of course it often was. But nothing can be more certain from the tenor of the word than this, that a prophet was not of necessity inspired of God. For, first, the apostle distinguishes in this chapter (1 Cor. xiv.) between prophecy and revelation. The prophet was to give way, and be silent, if a revelation was vouchsafed to another man in the assembly. Secondly, we are not left to elaborate for ourselves a definition of inspiration. God, by that same apostle, and in the same epistle, has furnished us with an explanation of what it is. It is the setting forth God's mind in words which the Holy Ghost teacheth. (1 Cor. ii. 13.) Now, keeping this in view, let us see in what terms prophets are addressed in the New Testament. "Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith." (Rom. xii. 6.) How could such an exhortation be addressed to one who was speaking in words which the Holy Ghost taught? How could he do otherwise, as the mouthpiece of the Spirit, than prophesy according to the proportion of faith? Again, "Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge." (1 Cor. xiv. 29.) Does the Holy Ghost authorize men to sit in judgment on God's word? A rationalist might claim for man the possession of a verifying faculty, whereby he could distinguish, as he would say, between what was of God and what was of man in the written or spoken word. But are we to believe God sanctions that? We must, if our author's statement be correct. Such injunctions, however, show pretty plainly that God did not regard all prophets as inspired. Nor must we. Mr. Govett complains that Mr. Kelly gives no proof that Romans xii. does not apply to inspired prophets. We should have thought none was needed. Surprise we should have felt had Mr. Kelly taught otherwise.

Here we must stop, citing only one more extract from the pamphlet. "You have no other gifts than Christians in general. But Christians in general confess they have not the anointing and sealing of the Spirit. So then neither have you." (Page 64.)

We must confess to a feeling of amazement as we read these words. Truth there is in them certainly, for we have no gifts which are not common to Christians. But is the experience of Christians in general to be taken as the standard by which to estimate what is truth? Surely our author did not think what it was he was writing. Who, too, deputed him thus to answer for his brethren in Christ? We must leave it with them to repudiate or not his statements on their behalf. For ourselves, believing Peter's words, who spake when filled with the Holy Ghost, "The promise is unto you, and unto your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call" (Acts ii. 39), we would ask, has God failed in His promise? If this pamphlet teaches correctly, He has. But what if its doctrine is wrong? The subject is confessedly of great importance. Let Christians look to it, and learn about it from the word for themselves. C. E. Stuart.

Letter on Receiving the Spirit.

1876 170 Mr. Editor,

Will you kindly allow me to give some reply to the paper of C. E. S. upon my tract?

I agree with him that the question of which it treats is a great one, and hope that my brethren in Christ will study it. Having found difficulties in getting a London house to sell my tract, I here offer to send to any one willing candidly to study the subject during the next three weeks, a copy of the tract by post.

I would first observe, that the paper of C. E. S., only touches here and there upon the tract, omitting often to answer the proofs from scripture which I give.

I next observe, that he has once or twice singularly misunderstood me. He says, that I deny the present possession of the Spirit of sonship. It is not true. I assert its present possession. (p. 17.) 'What then do you say with regard to your words, cited by him from page 17 of your tract?' I was there arguing against Mr. Kelly's views. He affirms that 'the gift of the Spirit' means settled rest and liberty in the Saviour. This I deny. The laying on of an apostle's hands produced not the Spirit of sonship, but supernatural energies. But if the laying on of hands produced the Spirit of sonship, then we of this day need apostles to lay on hands.

He supposes me to affirm that believers now cannot attain edification. This is a part of the same mistake. I was showing that Mr. Kelly's theory led to these consequences, which seem to me absurd.*

[*It is Mr. Govett, whose theory is as inconsistent with the statements of scripture as with the conviction of all sober Christians. There was no real distinction in the gift of the Spirit whether with or without the imposition of apostolic hands; the difference was in the mode of conveyance, and owing to special circumstances, which scripture principle explains, but there was none in the Spirit received. In early days outward signs accompanied, with or without such imposition of hands; but the great fact was the Spirit given to believers. The signs of whatever moment were of far inferior importance, and the Spirit thus given was of sonship, as well as of power in other ways according to the sovereign working of God. Compare Acts ii. Acts viii. Acts x. Acts xi. Acts xix.; Rom. viii. 15, 16; 1 Cor. ii, 12, 1 Cor. vi. 19; 2 Cor. i. 21, 22; Gal. iii. 2, 5; Eph. i. 13, 14; Eph. iv. 30; 1 Thess. iv. 8; 2 Tim. i. 6. It is false so to divide between them as to attribute supernatural energies only to the laying on of an apostle's hands; equally so to suppose that both these and the Spirit of sonship were not given without it. Mr. G. argues, as all errorists do, on a partial view of scripture against the full truth. The reception of the Spirit does not mean but imply rest and liberty in and by the Saviour, and that He is also a Spirit of sonship or adoption. Mr. G. separates unscripturally the Spirit of sonship from the gift of the Spirit, restricting the last apparently to supernatural or miraculous energies. It is not only absurd, but unbelief of the gravest kind, to deny that all real Christians of this day since Pentecost have received the Spirit and are thereby members of the one body. Reception of the Spirit in every true sense follows the new birth. Mr. G. counts the new birth to be "'brethren's' sense" of receiving the Spirit; but this is the common confusion which Mr. G. holds and we repudiate. He denies the gift of the Spirit. — Ed.]

I now address myself to the main question: What is receiving the Spirit?

To think of any man with his Bible open before him denying that Christians of our day have received the Spirit! What a strangely blind man that Mr. Govett must be!

Well, friends, the key to this mystery is hanging before the door. I had said, "In the sense which 'brethren' put on the words 'receiving the Spirit,' he is now received, but not in the scripture sense." (p. 22.)

What then is the sense which 'brethren' put on the phrase?

It is the same sense which is put upon it by C. E. S.
1. "Now to receive the Holy Ghost is to be indwelt by Him (Rom. viii. 9), and hence such are no longer in the flesh, but in the Spirit, and their bodies become His temples." (1 Cor. vi. 19.) (p. 102.)
2. "Believers received nothing less than the Holy Ghost which was the gift of God. (Acts viii. 20); xi. 17.) Hence they received all that the Spirit could be to them." (An unscriptural inference.)
3. "A believer could not have the earnest without the unction also, for the Holy Ghost is both: so having the Spirit, he had both." (This is the point to be proved.)

Now I had granted from the first that believers of our day have in this sense 'received the Holy Ghost.' He has wrought on them to regenerate them, to make them sons of God, to dwell within them, and to make them members of Christ and make their bodies His temples.

But I affirmed and do still affirm, that this is not the scripture sense of the phrase — 'receiving the Holy Ghost.'

The path of C. E. S. then was plain enough. He had to show that the 'brethren's' sense of 'receiving the Holy Ghost' is the scripture sense. It was for him to cite passages in which the phrase, 'receiving the Holy Ghost' occurs, and to show that it refers to the regeneration, indwelling, and sanctification of the Spirit.

This he has not done! 'If we have received the Spirit in one sense, we have received Him in all!' That is his theory and yours. And now will you prove it? It cannot be done as C. E. S. has attempted, by citing without distinction scriptures which speak of blessings enjoyed by believers then as the 'work of the Holy Ghost.' Are these all ours now in possession? is the question. All those which were the consequences of simple faith, are ours now, as they were theirs then. But was there not an operation of the Spirit subsequent to faith, imparting gift and power, which we have not?

My object is to present to 'brethren' this great truth: that
1. There are two operations of the Spirit quite distinct from one another. The one is now possessed; the other is not.
[They are distinct, but both included in the gift of the Spirit. — Ed.]
2. The one is internal and sanctifying.
3. The other is external, and communicates power. (Acts i. 8.)
[The difference between 2, and 3. is falsely stated. — Ed.]
4. The one is begun to be wrought when a man believes.
[The Spirit of sonship is as much after one has believed as any other form of the Spirit's power. See Gal. iv. 4; Eph. i. 13. — Ed.]
5. The other was wrought only by illapse of the Spirit, or by imposition of hands after faith. [No doubt it was after the Spirit was given that the believer received Him; but imposition was only in special cases, and in no way the rule. Acts x. proves the contrary, not to speak of Acts

Let us then look at the scriptures which contain the phrase in question, and see whether this view is borne out, or whether the 'brethren's' sense is the scriptural one.
1. John vii. 37-39. This receiving of the Spirit was to be bestowed after faith, and after Pentecost. It is not then the first operation of the Spirit, but the second.
[Quite true that it is after faith, perfectly absurd that it is "external." "Out of his belly," etc. Is this external? It is false that this is lost now. — Ed.]
2. John xx. 22. Jesus breathes on the ten, and says, "Receive ye the Holy Ghost." This was not the operation of the Spirit which communicates faith, but one coming after it.
[It is false that this is "external" or gone now. — Ed.]
3. The Holy Spirit descends at Pentecost. Peter says, "Repent, and be baptized, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise [of Joel] is to you," etc. (Acts ii. 38.) Here the reception of the Spirit is the promise to be realised after faith and baptism. And the apostle had already spoken of it as described by Joel. It is gift and not grace, but gift after grace received.
[It is false that it was not grace as well as gift. — Ed.]
4. We come to the critical case, that of Samaria. (Acts viii.) Philip preaches Christ, with miracles in proof of his doctrine. Many believe and are baptized. (Ver. 12.) Is not that enough? No! The apostles at Jerusalem send to them Peter and John, who pray for them that they may receive the Holy Ghost. For as yet he has fallen on none. They have had the baptism of water only: not that of the Spirit. "Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost." "When Simon saw that through laying on of the apostle's hand the Holy Ghost is given," he offers money, saying, "Give me also this power that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost."

Now is not this passage decisive? In the 'brethren's' sense these Samaritans had already received the Spirit. In the scripture sense they had not.* They were baptized believers; men and women whose 'hearts were right with God.' The Holy Spirit was dwelling in them as His temples. C. E. S. says, 'If I have the indwelling Spirit, I have the Holy Ghost in every sense.' That is proved [?] to be erroneous by this example. Apostles prayed for them, that they might 'receive the Holy Ghost.' Philip the evangelist was unable to impart the gifts of the Spirit. Therefore apostles are sent. Till the laying on of apostles' hands, they had not 'received the Holy Ghost.'

[* This too is "'brethren's' sense;" and it is hard to understand how Mr. G. did not know this when he said the reverse. What brother ever said that the Samaritans had already received the Spirit? In the Lectures on the N. T. Doctrine of the H. G. the direct contrary is urged at length. Such is the "'brethren's' sense" invariably according to scripture. It is Mr. G. who, like people generally in Christendom, does not understand and will not learn. It is not true that they had received the Spirit in any sense, (though born of the Spirit) before Peter and John came down. Till they received the Spirit, the Holy Spirit was not dwelling in them as His temple. The only thing proved erroneous is Mr. G.'s interpretation. There were special reasons for guarding against independence then; and the apostles by laying on of hands identified them with the work of God at Jerusalem. They were one assembly by one Spirit's baptism; but it is a mistake that we are not baptized into the same body by that one Spirit, though there are no apostles to lay their hands on us. As to this Mr. G. reasons like an Irvingite rather than a Christian, confounding as ever birth of the Spirit, which is in no sense receiving the Spirit, with His indwelling. Then too outward signs accompanied the gift; but it is the merest assumption that it was to be so always. Mr. G.'s dilemma is therefore only ignorance. The Samaritans did not receive the Spirit till after they believed any more than we or any do. At the beginning there was care taken especially to hold fast unity and guard against independence, Jews and Samaritans being mutually jealous. It was not so when the Gentiles were first called; on them no hands were imposed. The Samaritans received the Spirit both as power of holiness (not merely new nature) and in the way of sign-gifts, as all did at the beginning. So do we after believing receive the Spirit, though the sign-gifts be no longer vouchsafed, and we have not apostolic hands laid on us any more than Cornelius or his household. It is wholly unscriptural to view, as Mr. G. does, the baptism of the Spirit as "external" and to deny it to us all in the face of 1 Cor. xii. 13. Ed ]

If C. E. S.'s argument be good, and these believers had not yet received the indwelling of the sanctifying Spirit, but needed the prayer and laying on of apostles' hands, then we who are at the best only baptized believers whose hearts are right with God, have not yet the indwelling of the Holy Ghost, for we have no apostles, and none have received the Spirit save they on whom He has fallen, or who have received the imposition of apostles' hands. [What reasoning! — Ed.]

It is evident that something which was communicated was visible even to the eye of unconverted Simon. He could not see the inward communication of the Spirit of holiness, nor could Peter impart it. Nor did Simon desire to impart sanctification to whom he would. But he did desire to impart gift of miracle; and offered money to purchase the power.

Let me put the point as a dilemma.

The Samaritans received the Spirit by imposition of hands, either as the Spirit of sanctification, or as the Spirit of power. If they had not received the Holy Ghost as the Spirit of holiness before apostles laid on hands, then neither have we. But they had the Spirit's indwelling, for they were men of faith [!], whose hearts were right with God. Then they received through the apostles' hands the Spirit of power, and my case is proved. [!! ] There are two operations of the Holy Ghost; one of which we possess, and the other we do not; because the Holy Ghost has never fallen on us, nor have apostles laid hands on us. Apostles before Pentecost were renewed, but had to wait for the Spirit of power. (Acts i. 8.)

5. We come next to the preaching to Cornelius and his friends. Peter preaches to them Christ. At once "the Holy Ghost fell on all that heard the word." (Acts x. 44.) It was "the pouring out of the gift of the Holy Ghost." (Ver. 45.) It brought the power to speak with tongues.

It was the baptism of the Spirit. It emboldened Peter to say, "Can any one forbid the water that these should not be immersed, who have received the Holy Spirit just as we?" As they had received the baptism of the Spirit at God's hands, how could man refuse them the baptism of water, which it was in his power to bestow? 'But it is not called the baptism of the Spirit.' Not in Acts x. but it is in the next chapter. Peter, defending his entering into persons uncircumcised, says, "The Holy Spirit fell on them as on us at the beginning." (Ver. 51.) Then he remembered the Saviour's promise of the baptism of the Spirit, and saw that the baptism of water received in this its true completion. John the Baptist testified the incompleteness of the immersion in water ministered by him, and pointed all believers onward to the better immersion in the Spirit and in power. This Peter saw was the fulfilment of that word.

Here then is another reception of the Spirit. Is it such as we who believe now experience? Nay! It was external, the bathing of believers in the Spirit; their being anointed, clothed upon, and gifted. It was something which appealed to the senses of Peter and the six brethren of Joppa who accompanied him. Yet in one respect it was an exception. Ordinarily the Spirit was received after faith. Here both operations of the Spirit, the indwelling of the Spirit and the other reception of the Spirit, took place at once. [This is not correct. The operations might follow ever so closely, but they are never at once. It is unbelievers who need to be born of the Spirit. Believers receive the Spirit. The gift of the Spirit in "brethren's' sense" as well as in that of scripture, is always after faith. Luke xi. 13; John iv. 10; John vii. 32; John x. 16, 17; John xv. John xvi.; Acts 5:32, etc., etc. — Ed.] To these Gentiles "was granted repentance unto life." (Acts 10:18.) It was God who knew the faith of their hearts, bearing witness to them as His by the outward sign. They occupied the same level with the apostles and the saints of Judea. They had the indwelling of the Spirit; they had also the anointing of the Spirit, bestowed through direct illapse of the Holy Ghost.

C. E. S. says, "The last illapse of the Holy Ghost by which believers were baptized with the Holy Ghost, took place, our author tells us (m. i.) at Caesarea."

Can C. E. S. inform us of any illapse of the Spirit after this? Does he mean that in consequence I suppose there was no baptism of the Spirit after this? I do not. By laying on of hands the baptism of the Spirit was received, where there was no illapse. (1 Cor. 12:13.) [It is merely begging the question, and in fact false, that the baptism of the Spirit necessarily required the imposition of hands. In Acts ii. not a word implies it; in Acts x. what is said disproves it; and these were the two principal occasions, for Jew and Gentile. Mr. Govett's basis is unsound. — Ed.]

6. We proceed to Acts xix. At Ephesus Paul finds certain disciples. He says to them, "Have ye received the Holy Spirit since ye believed?" They replied, that they had not heard of the existence of any Holy Spirit. His next question is of much import, "Into what then were ye baptized?" This supposes that the baptism of the Spirit by the laying on of apostles' hands followed as a usual and proper thing, upon the baptism of water. Their answer that they had received only John's baptism at once explained the matter. Paul then instructs them, that John was only sent to lead Israel to faith in Christ. Thereupon the twelve at Ephesus were immersed into the name of the Lord Jesus. "And when Paul had laid his hand on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spake with, tongues, and prophesied."

What is the sense of 'receiving the Spirit' here? It is not any receiving upon believing, but after it, and as the consequence of faith, as Paul's question shows, "Have ye received the Holy Spirit since ye believed?" He dwelt in them already, for they were believers.[?] Wherever any reception of the Spirit after faith is spoken of, it is always the reception of the Spirit of power, as here. This passage explains therefore to us Paul's word to Ephesian believers, "In whom also after that ye believed ye were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise." (Eph i. 13.) The Holy Ghost's coming on them left an abiding mark, the seal of God. [It is always of power and of love and sound mind, that is sanctifying power, but not at all necessarily of miraculous power. It is absurd to deny this to any Christian. — Ed.]

7. The next occurrence of the expression, 'receiving the Spirit,' occurs in 1 Corinthians ii. 12, 13. "Now we received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth."

There is no difficulty with regard to its meaning in this place. It has the same sense as in previous ones. The apostle is speaking of the Spirit as the inspirer of believers, and revealer of secrets. This epistle at some length discovers to us the manifestation of the Spirit in the various forms of gift. [It is no difficulty to "brethren," but insuperable to Mr. Govett, unless he go so far as to deny to the Christian the mind of Christ, which hangs on receiving the Spirit. His dismal theory would deprive us of this. — Ed.]

8. The next occurrence of the expression is found in 2 Corinthians xi. 4. "For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him."

This passage exhibits the same signification. Paul was troubled by false apostles. They infested the church of Corinth. He says then, 'If these coming apostles can preach to you as good news as I have preached, and can bestow on you such gifts of miracle and inspiration as I did, you may well listen; but not otherwise.'

9. The ninth occurrence of the phrase is in Galatians iii. 2, 3: "This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain. He therefore that is imparting to you the Spirit (see Greek) and working miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?"

Here is the same signification. Paul enquired of the misled Galatians believers on what ground they received the miraculous gifts. Was it because they had become disciples of Moses, or because they were believers in Christ? Law cannot impart gift to those under it: the gospel did.

Herein then is a decisive ground of superiority to the law, on which Paul was ready to rest the whole question between him and them. There was some one even in Paul's absence who was both working miracles and bestowing the gifts of the Spirit on believers. Let them inquire of him, on what ground he was so doing? Was it as a disciple of Moses, or as a believer in Jesus?

This reception of the Spirit then is not the indwelling of the Holy Ghost which belongs to faith, but a something imparted after faith and by imposition of hands. No human agent can impart converting and sanctifying grace. Here then we are on the same ground as in Acts xix. "Have ye received the Holy Spirit since ye believed?" These had received Him, and from the hands of the same apostle that uttered the question at Ephesus. [It is manifest that Mr. Govett errs altogether in imagining that the indwelling of the Spirit belongs to faith; instead of being included in the gift of the Spirit to the believer. No one denies apostolic impartation. The apostle himself shows that it was not invariably needful. — Ed.]

This passage gives an answer to another question, "Could any but Jesus baptize in the Holy Ghost?" Directly and meritoriously, none but Christ could; but instrumentally, apostles both could and did. (Acts viii. 18; Gal. iii. 5.)

I have now gone over all the passages, as far as I know, in which the naked expression 'receiving the Spirit' occurs in the New Testament. And I suppose I have proved that not one of them takes the sense which the brethren' give. [Every case on the contrary is in the sense of 'brethren' as opposed to Mr. Govett, whose delusion is not only to hold himself the indwelling without the gift of the Spirit, but to misread every known brother's writings, and to impute a sense which they all reject. This is strange in a man of any ability. — Ed.] In no instance as yet does 'receiving the Spirit' mean, that indwelling of the Holy Ghost as the Spirit of holiness, which believers of our day possess. They all refer to the communication of the Spirit of power after faith by the illapse of the Holy Ghost, or by the laying on of apostles' hands which we have not. In the scripture sense then we have not received the Holy Ghost. [Quite untrue. — Ed.]

But here is one passage which may be alleged as an exception, which I now proceed to adduce.

"For ye have not received the Spirit of bondage again to fear, but ye have received the Spirit of adoption whereby we cry, Abba, Father. (Rom. viii. 15.) Now I gladly admit, that believers now have the Spirit of sonship. But, be it observed, here we have not the absolute phrase receiving the Spirit,' but a qualification is added to it by way of distinguishing it from the other reception. This was said to a church not yet visited by an apostle; and to that church Paul says not, that since believers had the indwelling of the Holy Ghost, therefore they had all that the Spirit could bestow; or that this Spirit of adoption would develop into the Spirit of power. But he tells those who had received the Holy Ghost as the Spirit of sonship, that they lacked yet the Spirit as the Spirit of power, and that he hoped to visit them, and to communicate this distinct operation of the Holy Ghost. "I long to see you that I may impart to you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established." (Rom. i. 11.) [See the disproof in Rom. xii. 4-8. Ed.]

Two distinct givings of the Spirit are then mentioned in the New Testament. The one is ours by faith; the other is a giving which we of this day have not, communicated after faith.

Let me cite the passages; and first those relating to that communication which we possess.
1. "The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts, by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us." Romans 5:5.
2. "But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any have not the Spirit of Christ, lie is none of his. Now if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead, dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead, shall give life to even your mortal bodies because of his Spirit that dwelleth in you." (Rom. viii. 9, 11, Greek.) "God hath put into us his Holy Spirit," says Paul to the Thessalonians. (1 Thess. iv. 8, Greek.)

In the passages which follow is something given which we have not now. "God bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost." (Heb. ii. 4.)

And after naming baptism and the laying on of hands we find, "It is impossible for those who were once enlightened [by faith], and have tasted of the heavenly gift [after faith], and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good word of God [by faith], and powers of the age to come" [after faith.] (Heb. vi. 4, 5.) [All agree as to this. — Ed.]

There is a passage which may perhaps be said to include both forms of giving the Spirit. "Wherefore I put thee in remembrance, that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. For God hath not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." (2 Tim. i. 6, 7.) [Clearly against Mr. G. who feels it. — Ed.]

But what say you to such passages as these? C. E. S. may say.
1. "He that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us." (1 John iii. 24.)
2. "Hereby we know that we dwell (abide) in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit." (1 John iv. 13.)

These passages refer to the miraculous gifts; for the gift here is made the proof of something invisible. Now the medium of proof must be clearer than the point to be proved. The visible possession then of these divine gifts proved the invisible indwelling of God, to the conviction both of friend and foe. How do we know that the Spirit of God dwells in us? Not in the way they of old did; but by the testimony of the scripture. When her Majesty is residing at Windsor Castle, a flag is hoisted. The flag is the proof of her unseen residence. We have lost the flag, though the Spirit of God dwells in us, the world does not perceive it, and it does not believe the scripture testimony.

Believers in John's day had, as he tells them, the Spirit's anointing which rendered them independent of the written word. We are not. John gave them too tests whereby to discriminate between persons inspired by the Holy Ghost, and those who spake by evil spirits and so were "false prophets." (1 John iv. 1–6.) These do not apply now, for we have no inspired men.

How was the Spirit of power received? Only in two ways. 1. Either by direct illapse of the Holy Ghost as at Pentecost and Caesarea. Or 2. By imposition of hands. 'How did Paul receive the Spirit?' By imposition of hands. (Acts ix. 17.) Ordinarily, it was by the laying on of apostles' hands. This is the one exception, and here it was due to a direct commission from Christ Himself. "The Lord even Jesus . . . . hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost." We can see a very sufficient reason for this exception. It was that Paul might be able truly to assert his independence of those that were apostles before him.

Of the proofs given in my tract on this point, Hebrews vi. 2 has alone been met. That the rendering "baptisms of instruction, and of laying on of hands" is the true, is to my mind certain. There are two substantives joined together, both in the genitive case. Which of them is to come first can be learned only by their position, as first and second. Nothing but impossibility of making sense could excuse a deviation from this order. But taken in their present order they make excellent sense.

But granting that C. E. S. says, that "the word of the beginning of the Christ" means 'truths common to Jews and to Christians,' does not C. E. S. know when the burden of proof lies on him? I deny that these words have any such meaning, and denial is enough. But I will advance beyond what I am called to prove. The phrase (tes arches) is used as an adjective, 'the word of the beginning,' means 'the commencing doctrine.' The addition "of the Christ" presents the object of which these first principles treat, the elementary principles relating to Christ, that is, the first elements of Christianity.

The scope of the argument proves the same. The writer is urging onward to deeper views of christian truth those who had already for years received and professed it. They ought to be able to be teachers: they were needing in reality to be taught the first principles of the faith of Christ. (Heb. 5:11–14.) He then specifies some of those elements.

That the expression means 'the first principles of Christianity' has been held and taught by a majority, I suppose, of critics.

But baptismos in other cases is not the word used for 'baptism,' or the christian rite. Baptisma is 'the word used.'

The reason why baptismoi is here used is, I suppose, because two different immersions are intended. It is the word employed where different immersions are spoken of. (Heb. ix. 10.) 'But those there spoken of were fleshly ordinances.' But these are spiritual. Whether the ordinances are of the law or of the gospel cannot be learned from the word 'immersion,' but only from the context.

My other proofs are called "illustrations," and are bowed out of court.

'But the Holy Spirit came upon holy men of the old covenant: while the receiving of the Spirit was something not enjoyed till after Pentecost.'

It is true. As the result of the Spirit's coming upon them, they had miracle and inspiration. (1) But they had not the Spirit as a gift abiding, capable of being used at their will. There were prophets in Israel, but they were few and far between. (2) Here every one of the family of Christ might become a prophet, and those who were possessed of some supernatural gift (3) are directed to ask for more, and to abound, in order to edify the church. Under the old covenant there was no visible source whence these gifts of power might be derived to all. (4) Under the gospel, as long as there were apostles there was an open door at which to apply for and receive gift. 'Then we cannot in the present state of things obtain the Spirit in power.' We may! we are commanded to desire and pray for it, and God is able to give. (1 Cor. xii. 31; 1 Cor. xiv. 1–12.)

'Will there be apostles again?'

I had quoted in proof four texts, Luke xi. 49, 50; Matthew xxiii. 34–36. These first two are set aside, because Jesus is in them 'speaking to Jews, not to the church.' And what then? Are apostles no apostles, if Jesus tells the Jews that apostles shall be sent to them? Was Peter no apostle because he was sent to the circumcision? Was Paul no apostle because Christ sent him both to Jew and Gentile? (Acts xxvi. 17.) But I quoted also Matthew xxiv. 45–51; Luke xii. 42-46. Here our Lord is speaking to His disciples. These are set aside, because they 'treat of the Lord's servants, and not of any company of apostles as such.'

They are addressed to "disciples," who afterwards constituted the church. By the name "disciples "the constituents of the church are called even in the Acts. (Acts xi. 26, 29; Acts xiii. 52.) The parable included in Luke xii. 42–46 refers to apostles, as our Lord's reply to Peter's question shows. Jesus had spoken of His coming in reference to His servants generally. Peter therein inquires whether His previous words were to be taken generally, or in regard of apostles alone? The Saviour then gives a parable relating to apostles specially, describing them as the "steward set over the household to rule and feed them." (Ver. 42.) Can this refusal of texts be called subjection to God's word? [Again, what reasoning! — Ed.]

A few words on the Hymn Question.

Do books of pre-arranged and printed hymns and hymn-tunes grieve the Spirit? or do they not?

C. E. S. answers, as his predecessors, 'No they do not!' Thereon we say, 'Then preparation for worship and ministry does not grieve the Spirit.' Then the Spirit is not grieved by using prayer-books and reading sermons out of a book! 'Ah, but,' C. E. S. replies, 'what different exercises praying and preaching are in their nature from singing!' Very true, but nothing to the point. We are inquiring whether preconception, preparation and use of books in ministry and worship grieve the Spirit or not. If in one arm of ministry and worship they do not grieve Him, show cause why they should in another! [It is enough to show scripture. Hymns and psalms were in use among early saints, and recognized in the New Testament; not so, for the church, written prayers and sermons. — Ed.]

We inquire next, Are these hymn and tune-books scriptural? We get as answer, 'They are quite necessary, if we are to have congregational singing at all.' And I reply, 'Very true,' but that does not show that they are scriptural. To prove scripturalness, you must point out not hypothetical necessity, but some passage of the New Testament. [This has been done from 1 Cor. xiv. for the assembly, and from other scriptures in a general way, as Mr. Govett well knew, if not convinced. — Ed.]

Then comes another question, 'Is congregational singing scriptural?'*

[* Meaning by that, united singing of the believers who can read and have books, and know the tune]

I cannot find that it is. C. E. S. says, that in order to congregational singing there must be the knowledge before we utter it of what is to be sung. And in our assemblies some one gives out a hymn marked with a certain number, so that all may turn to it in their books. This is quite necessary, it is true, in order to the exercise as in use now among us. But was it so then? Had they books of hymns and hymn-tunes? Will any assert it? I suppose not! What becomes then of congregational singing in apostles' times?

The only singing I read of in the assembly was individual, extempore, unwritten, both the music and words given of the Holy Ghost, and generally in a foreign tongue. (1 Cor. xiv. 26.) Hence none could join in it. There was also responsive singing, which must in like manner have been individual. (Eph. 5:19; Col. iii. 16.) [Mere imagination! not a word supposes extempore hymns; and a foreign tongue is blamed unless under special circumstances. — Ed.]

Thus then an answer is furnished to C. E. S.'s question. 'What have the songs of Zacharias, Mary, and Elizabeth to do with congregational singing?' What indeed? But then Mr. Govett was not advocating congregational singing, but only showing how we of this day have fallen from inspired songs given of the Holy Ghost to uninspired and oft erroneous hymns written by men. Had they inspired hymns under the law? And is the church which occupies so much loftier a standing to have none?

Mr. Kelly had said that the church, unlike the Jew, has within her the ever-springing fountain. Yet, strange to say, she is confined to a selection of so many hundred printed hymns. As I said, 'this is the well, not the fountain.'

But it seems, I have assumed more than I ought. I have assumed that 'the assembly is restricted to the hymn-book.' Herein it appears, I was in error. "Does this necessitate an assembly being restricted to a certain selection of hymns? By no means! If any one was led to give out words to be sung not in the collection — and such a thing has been done — there is nothing to hinder it, provided the scripture rule is observed, Let all things be done unto edifying."

Now is not this evasion very far-fetched? 'The brethren' have existed as a denomination about 45 years, and during that time recourse has been had, suppose five times, to a hymn out of another than a chosen selection. It is so rare a thing that, I suppose, most of the 'brethren' never heard of it, and it was quite needful to assure us that it has been done.

This shows, that there is a good deal to hinder it; and if any one not very well known and accepted among 'brethren' were to attempt it, he would soon find plenty of hindrances. 'Why cannot he be content with the many hymns we have? we must get new books if this is to go on.'

But let us accept the correction. And then the matter stands thus: 'The Spirit is not grieved with printed hymn-books, and printed tune-books, provided that once in 100,000 times it good hymn out of another selection be given out.' Then still we say if the Spirit be not grieved by the use of printed books in singing, neither is He grieved by printed prayers and sermons read out of a book! [No real analogy. — Ed.]

Has God failed that we have not the gifts of old? says C. E. S. Man certainly has through evident unbelief. "A brother guilty of such folly [as to pretend to be inspired] would be put out forthwith, as led of Satan."

In conclusion, has not evidence been adduced sufficient to prove that there are two receptions of the Spirit: the one internal, producing holiness, which we believers of this day possess; the other which we have not, external, sensible communicating power, received through the Holy Spirit falling on a man, or by the imposition of apostolic hands after faith, and usually after baptism? Have we received the Spirit of adoption on believing? Yes! Have we received the Spirit since we believed? No! (Acts i. 8.) [Mr. G.'s fundamental fallacy lies in separating the indwelling from the gift of the Spirit. This gift was not always, nor on the chief occasions, by apostolic imposition of hands; and wisely and graciously was it so ordered; for otherwise we could not have received the Spirit, nor consequently be Christians or members of the one body. "For by one Spirit were we all baptized into one body." Why dues Mr. Govett pretend to be a Christian if he takes the ground of not having its distinctive mark and power, the gift of the Spirit? How be a member of the body without His baptism? The claim of the relationship is vain without the power and seal; but the truth is that the hypothesis is a mere blunder and the reasoning no better, however pretentious. If we have not received the Spirit since we believed we have not the Spirit of adoption at all, any more than the Ephesian disciples before they were baptized to the name of the Lord Jesus. At Pentecost the Spirit was given, and not merely powers. The powers in many respects may be withdrawn, but not the gift of the Spirit who was to abide for ever. — ED.]

Believe me, Yours truly in Christ, R. Govett.

Reply to the Letter on the Spirit.

1876 190 Dear Mr. Editor

Just a few remarks on Mr. Govett's letter in your periodical. And first, as to the term, 'receiving the Holy Ghost;' for in any discussion to be productive of beneficial results, we must be clear and precise in our use of a term, the meaning of which forms the subject of our inquiry.

Now it will surely be granted, that, since scripture, and scripture only, can teach us authoritatively about 'receiving the Holy Ghost,' to that book we must go for all our instruction regarding it. Hence the only admissible sense in which we can use the term in question must be that in which scripture uses it. But when we peruse Mr. Govett's pamphlet, and his letter, written to correct wrong thoughts about it, as he thinks they are, we learn that he writes of souls receiving the Holy Ghost in a sense unknown to the word. These are his words, "Now I had granted from the first that believers in our day have in this sense 'received the Holy Ghost.' He has wrought on them to regenerate them, to make them sons of God, to dwell within them, and to make them members of Christ, and make their bodies His temples. But I affirmed, and do still affirm, that this is not the scripture sense of the phrase 'receiving the Holy Ghost.'" Mr. Govett then evidently for himself is willing to declare, that souls do receive the Holy Ghost in a sense not warranted by the word. On what ground, it might be asked, is he authorized to make such a statement? Again, he writes, "In the sense which 'Brethren' put on the words 'receiving the Spirit,' He is now received, but not in the scripture sense." Where are we to learn what receiving the Spirit means but from the written word? We must refuse therefore to admit any such elasticity in the phrase in question.

Next, Mr. Govett does not leave his readers in the dark, as to what he conceives your correspondent ought to have written. "The path of C. E. S. then was plain enough. He had to show that the Brethren's sense of receiving the Holy Ghost is the scripture sense. It was for him to cite passages in which the phrase 'receiving the Holy Ghost' occurs, and to show that it refers to the regeneration, indwelling, and sanctification of the Spirit. This he has not done." With these five last words we cordially agree. To have gone on the line thus traced out would have been wrong, and, if scripture is really our guide, impossible. One could not class together regeneration, indwelling, and sanctification of the Spirit, as results of receiving the Holy Ghost. You must eliminate from the present discussion the first and the last of these three important subjects, which he has bracketed together. Regeneration, by which one concludes Mr. Govett means being born again, and the sanctification of the Spirit, in the only passages where I believe it occurs, 2 Thessalonians ii. 13; 1 Peter i. 2, are operations of the Spirit antecedent to the bestowal by God on believers of the gift of the Holy Ghost. For by believers it is, scripture teaches us, that the gift of the Spirit is received. (John vii. 39; Eph. i. 13.) It is because we are sons, that God bath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts crying, Abba, Father. (Gal. iv. 6.) If Mr. Govett is so clear as to what I ought to have done, it would have been considerate to his readers to have pointed them to the scriptures on which he bases his statement. This he has not done.

For it is evident, though one regrets to have to say it, that Mr. Govett has frequently in his letter out-stepped the bounds of scripture, and affirmed things for which he has no authority in the word. He tells us that the Holy Ghost was dwelling in the believers at Samaria before the visit of Peter and John. The sacred historian takes pains to inform us that the two apostles prayed for them after their arrival that they might receive the Holy Ghost, which, after they had laid upon them their hands, they then and there received. (Acts viii. 15-17.) How, it may be asked, could Mr. Govett make such a startling statement? His pamphlet explains the phenomenon, in which he refers us (p. 7) to the last clause of Romans viii. 9, "If any man have not the Spirit of Christ he is none of his (or, he is not of him)," houtos ouk estin autou. The words of the apostle have reference to one who is not a Christian in reality, and the indwelling of the Spirit is brought up as evidence, that those addressed were not in the flesh but in the Spirit. The apostle is proving what their condition was from what they had received. Mr. Govett's application of the passage is just the opposite of this, seeking to establish from the fact of their being believers, that the Spirit dwelt in them, a conclusion which scripture teaches us we are not authorized to draw. For to believers only is the Spirit given. Of one who has received the Spirit, one could of course say that he is a believer. But to state as truth the converse is not what scripture warrants. Again, he asserts that by laying on of hands the baptism of the Spirit was received, where there was no illapse. (1 Cor. xii. 13.) The scripture to which he refers us is entirely silent about any imposition of hands. Further, he tells us, but, for reasons which all may understand withholds any authority for the statement that Paul, by his language in 2 Corinthians xi. 4, told the Corinthians that he had bestowed on them the gift of inspiration; and that the same apostle inquired of the misled Galatians, on what grounds they had received the miraculous gifts. The apostle really wrote to them, "Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?" Again after quoting 1 John iii. 24, 1 John iv. 13, he, thus comments on them, "These passages refer to the miraculous gifts; for the gift here is made the proof of something invisible. Now the medium of proof must be clearer than the point to be proved. The visible possession, then, of these divine gifts, proved the invisible indwelling of God to the conviction of friend and foe." Surely he might have spared himself and your readers all this comment, and more which I do not reproduce, for one word in the original upsets it all. "We know," ginoskomen, John wrote in both these verses. He did not write of something visible, but of what believers themselves knew.

Such statements are evidence that the writer of them is not subject to the teaching of the written word. Proofs of this abound in the letter from which I quote. Mr. Govett makes the astounding announcement that "believers in John's day had, as John tells them, the Spirit's anointing, which rendered them independent of the written word." Why then did John write to them? But this is all a mistake. John never made such a statement in any epistle of his, which forms part of the canon of scripture. Mr. Govett, however, tells us, that we me not independent of the written word. Here we are at one with but on that very account must refuse to assent to his teaching about the reception of the Holy Ghost. And what shall we say of his method of interpreting, or rather interpolating, as applied to Hebrews vi. 4, 5, "It is impossible for those who were once enlightened (by faith), and have tasted of the heavenly gift (after faith), and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good word of God (by faith), and powers of the age to come (after faith)." One might ask, Is this sober interpretation? Is this sound doctrine?

Let us now turn to what Mr. Govett calls the critical case, that of Samaria, which in his eyes is decisive. "In the 'brethren's sense,"' he writes, "these Samaritans had already received the Spirit." Indeed! Not content with putting his own sense on scripture, Mr. Govett would take upon himself to be the exponent of what he calls the 'brethren's sense' of "receiving the Spirit." With what success one may leave others to see. But to proceed. "They were baptized believers," men and women, "whose hearts were right with God." The Holy Spirit was dwelling in them as His temples. C. E. S. says, 'If I have the indwelling Spirit, I have the Holy Ghost in every sense.' That is proved to be erroneous by this example." Letting pass the inaccurate way in which he quotes what I wrote, I would observe that his whole case rests on a gratuitous and unscriptural assumption, namely, that the Holy Ghost was dwelling in them as His temples before the visit of Peter and John to Samaria. What proof has he of this? None. The word tells us they had not yet received the Holy Ghost.

Again he writes, "If C. E. S.'s argument be good, and these believers had not yet received the indwelling of the sanctifying Spirit, but needed the prayer, and the laying on of apostles' hands, then we who are at best only baptized believers, whose hearts are right with God, have not yet the indwelling of the Holy Ghost, for we have no apostles, and none have received the Spirit, save they on whom He has fallen, or who have received the imposition of apostles' hands." This is assuming what has to be proved, and then arguing from it. Again he writes, "The Samaritans received the Spirit by imposition of hands, either as the Spirit of sanctification, or as the Spirit of power. If they had not received the Holy Ghost as the Spirit of holiness before apostles laid on hands, then neither have we. But they had the Spirit's indwelling, for they were men of faith, whose hearts were right with God. Then they received through the apostles' hands the Spirit of power, and my case is proved."

Now not only does Mr. Govett assume what has to be proved, but he has allowed himself to do that which, judging from his remarks on Romans viii. 15, in his letter, he would readily object to in the statements of an opponent. He introduces qualifying words when treating of Acts viii., for which he has no authority, and of which, one would have supposed, his critical and decisive case could have no need. He writes of the Spirit as the Spirit of 'holiness,' 'of sanctification,' 'of power.' Scripture throughout that passage speaks only of the Holy Ghost. Is this, it may well be asked, fair dealing with God's word? This critical case, then, must be in itself far from a decisive one, if, in order to present it to his readers, he has to assume what ought to be proved, and to modify the language of scripture to make it, as he thinks, bear out his teaching. And further, what the historian does not tell us, Mr. Govett boldly asserts: "Simon," he says, "desired to impart the gift of miracles, and offered money to purchase that power." The historian relates that he asked for power to give the Holy Ghost by imposition of hands. But why assume that he desired to impart the gift of miracle? Is that the only manifestation of the Spirit? In none of the accounts in Acts of the bestowal of the Holy Ghost, is the gift of miracles even mentioned. On this occasion we are quite in the dark as to any particular manifestation of the Spirit. What then Luke does not mention Mr. Govett boldly asserts. What the historian does state Mr. Govett qualifies, and really alters. And then, after indulging in what he must pardon one calling pure imagination, he triumphantly exclaims, "My case is proved." It may be to his satisfaction, it is not to that of your correspondent.

Scripture however is clear. Receiving the Holy Ghost means what it says: nothing more, nothing less. The written word too distinguishes between the gift dorea of the Holy Ghost which is bestowed of God, and the gifts charismata which He the Spirit divides to each believer severally as He will. And in the list appended of gifts so bestowed, that of working miracles is distinguished from both prophesying, and the speaking with tongues. If then the reader keeps in mind the difference between the gift and the gifts of the Spirit, he will see that Mr. Govett's ground is untenable. Little wonder is it, if one who thus deals with scripture misunderstands the statements of those who have really set forth scriptural teaching on the subject. Nor will a bare denial as to the meaning of Hebrews vi. 1, 2, avail with any who would draw from the word what that passage really means. Distinctive christian teaching is not to be found in it. Truth common to Jews and Christians known and acknowledged when the Lord was upon earth, is found in it. Any reader, if he has not understood it before, may be helped, if he remarks, that it is faith in God which is spoken of, not faith in Christ.

A few words in conclusion on what may be called more personal matters.

Mr. Govett remarks that I had only touched here and there upon his tract. This is so far true. For my purpose was to draw from scripture an answer to his question, "What is receiving the Holy Ghost?" That, if done, makes plain the correctness or otherwise of his teaching. And having gone somewhat at length into scripture about it so recently in your periodical, that must be accepted as a reason for not travelling at present over the same ground. He further observes that I have singularly misunderstood the purport of his remarks in pages 18, 19, of his pamphlet. I would wish to express my regret if I have misunderstood what he there wrote. On the subject of congregational singing little need now be said. He tells us he was not advocating it. He was however writing about it. It was therefore quite within the bounds of criticism to point out the irrelevancy of the instances of singing in the New Testament to which he sought to turn the attention of his readers. Mr. Govett tells us that the only singing he reads of in the assembly "was individual, extempore, and unwritten, both music and words given of the Holy Ghost, and generally in a foreign tongue (1 Cor. xiv. 26): hence none could join in it." I, sir, fail to perceive all this in the verse to which he refers. Others may have more penetrating powers of vision. C. E. Stuart.