A Slight Sketch of the Holy Spirit's Ways; and receiving the Holy Ghost.

with remarks on Mr. Govett's, "Are 'the brethren' right?"

By C. E. Stuart.

London: G. Morrish, 24, Warwick Lane, Paternoster Row, E.C.

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. 28:19; 2 Cor. 13:14).

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 2:4; 5:3-4; 13:2-4; 16:6; 1 Cor. 12:11); and even in the Old Testament His personality is acknowledged (Num. 11:26; 1 Chron. 28:12; Isa. 48:16), 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 1:2 He is described as moving, or brooding, over the face of the waters, when all was in a chaotic condition on earth. In Revelation 22 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 26:13). Of the Spirit men are born again (John 3:5). 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 born 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 1:21). In the New Testament His presence and acting are more generally acknowledged, and the Epistle to Philemon, and the Second and Third Epistle 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. 12:11). 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. 6:3). 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 His 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. 20:7), an appellation evidently of significance in those days, and one, as we learn from the Psalms (Ps. 105:15), 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 6:8) was a prophet. And Abraham, as we see, is so called, who would pray for Abimelech, the Philistine king. And 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. 28:12-15; 31:11-13). And Laban, the Syrian (Gen. 31:24); Abimelech, the Philistine (Gen. 20:3); Pharaoh, the Egyptian (Gen. 41); and Eliphaz, the Temanite (Job 4), 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 be 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. 8:19), as the magicians rightly confessed; that is through the energy of the Holy Ghost, as the New Testament teaches us (Matt. 12:28 compared with Luke 11:20). 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. 31:3; 35:31). The Holy Ghost was in Joshua (Num. 27:18), on whom Moses laid his hands, who was thereby full of the spirit of wisdom (Deut. 34:9). On the elders He rested, to fit them for their official duties in the congregation (Num. 11:25-26). Again, the Spirit was on Othniel, who judged Israel, and conquered Cushan-rishathaim (Judges 3:10); on Jephthah, who warred against Ammon (Judges 11:29); on Azariah, the son of Oded, who encouraged Asa (2 Chron. 15:1); as well as on Jahaziel, the Levite, who directed Jehosaphat in his campaign against the children of Ammon and Moab, and those of Mount Seir (2 Chron. 20:14). Further, we read that the Spirit of the Lord clothed, or enwrapped, Gideon (Judges 6:34), and Amasai, chief of the captains, who answered so beautifully to David's challenge (1 Chron. 12:18), as well as Zechariah, the son of Jehoiada the priest, who reproved the people and Joash, the king (2 Chron. 24:20). He pressed, too, or fell upon, Samson (Judges 14:6, 19; 15:14); on Saul (1 Sam. 10:6, 10; 11:6); and on David (1 Sam. 16:13). He entered into Ezekiel (Ezek. 2:2; 3:24), and set him on his feet. He fell upon him (Ezek. 11:5), and he prophesied. Moreover, the Spirit lifted him up, and transported him to any place that the Lord desired him to visit (Ezek. 3:12-14; 8:3; 11:1, 24; 43:5). 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. 9:20), remained among the returned remnant, according to God's solemn engagement, in spite of all that they and their fathers had been (Hag. 2:5).

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. 36:27), and pour it out on them collectively (Isa. 44:3), when their time of trial, and of the desolation of the land, consequent on their sins, shall cease (Isa. 32:15), never to return (Ezek. 39:29). 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 be seen (Joel 2:28-30).

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. But 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. 2:13.)

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 16:7), of Christ, of Jesus Christ (Phil. 1:19), of truth, of grace (Heb. 10:29), of promise (Eph. 1:13). He is called the eternal Spirit (Heb. 9:14), 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. 1:13-14; 1 John 2:20, 27). Moreover He is the other Comforter, or Paraclete. (John 14 - 16.)

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 11:28), 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. 2:20; 4:11), and prophets are used of God to edify His people (1 Cor. 14:3, 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, Elisabeth, Zacharias (Luke 1:15, 41, 67), the hundred and twenty on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:4), Peter (Acts 4:8), those assembled together (Acts 4:31), and Paul (Acts 9:17; 13:9), were filled (eplesthesan) with the Holy Ghost. The six deacons, on the other hand, with Stephen and Barnabas (Acts 6:3, 5; 7:55; 11:24), 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 9:17), or taken up, and used for a passing purpose, as Elisabeth, Zacharias, the hundred and twenty, Peter, and Paul at Paphos (Acts 13:9). 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 4:1). 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 13:52), 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 2:25), and He came upon Mary the Virgin (Luke 1:35), on the twelve disciples at Ephesus (Acts 19:6), and, as the Lord promised, on the eleven after His ascension (Acts 1:8). Besides this, what Ezekiel describes, that the Spirit fell upon him (Ezek. 11:5), 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 8:16; 10:44; 11:15). 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 2 and 10 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 10:45. On two occasions only did it take place, and in two chapters only of the Acts (2, 10.) does the historian describe it; and Paul, the only other New Testament writer who mentions such an action (Titus 3:6), 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, and for the Spirit to fall on any one, are 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 10:45), 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 it. 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. 1:20.) 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 (3:16), Mark (1:10), Luke (3:22), and John. (1:33), 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 (61:1), the Lord Himself announced the fulfilment. (Luke 4:18.) But the Spirit was also on Simeon. So far then the Lord Jesus might seem to be 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 Zacharias with the double token, by which he should discern the One who would baptize with the Holy Ghost. (John 1:32-34.) 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. 10:38), and sealed by Him likewise (John 6:27). 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 that living water could never thirst, for the water which the Lord would give would be in the recipient a well of water springing up into everlasting life. (John 4:10, 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 7:38; 14:16-17, 26; 15:26; 16:7-15.) 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 1:5-8), and dwelt more at length on the objects and results of the Spirit's coming to earth. "When he is come," He said (John 15:26; 16:8, 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 16:7), and Who never had been dwelling on earth in any previous age of man's eventful history. (John 7:39.) 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. 37:10; 103:16; Jer. 49:10; Matt. 2:18.) 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 would abide "with you," as the Lord said, "for ever" (John 14:16). 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 to them. (John 14) Moreover the Spirit would Himself bear witness of Christ (John 15), and that not merely through the Lord's people, for they were to bear witness in addition; and by His presence on earth would demonstrate to the world its sin, and at the same time He would guide the disciples into all the truth. (John 16) 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 fertilising vivifying water should flow to others. (John 7:38.) 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 20:21-23; Matt. 18:18.)

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 20 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 20 is a witness. And though the Galatian saints had received the Spirit, and those of Ephesus and Rome as well, with the exception of 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 11:16.) 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 1:5; 2, 11:16), and Paul in writing to the Corinthians states doctrinally the results of it. (1 Cor. 12:13.) But as with the outpouring of the Holy Ghost, so with the baptism of the Spirit, no hint have Christians to ask for a 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. 3:11), 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. 12:21); nor, if the proper development of the body is to take place, can one member be dispensed with. (Eph. 4:16; Col. 2:19.) 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. 4:3), and which, by partaking of the one loaf at the Lord's table, we openly declare that we really are. (1 Cor. 10:17.)

Besides this, the Spirit has builded believers into an habitation katoiketerion of God (Eph. 2:22), called elsewhere God's house oikos (1 Tim. 3:15), and God's temple vas. (1 Cor. 3:16.) 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. 3:17.) 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. 22:17.)

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 15:26) 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 13:2, 4.) He directed Philip to join company with the eunuch (Acts 8:29), 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 10:19-20.) He hindered Paul and his company from labouring in Asia, and would not suffer them to enter Bithynia. (Acts 16:6-7.) 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 21:4); 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 20:28) in different local assemblies, and He divides to each man gifts charismata severally as He will. (1 Cor. 12:11.) 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 3:3.

But not only to work on believers, but to be in them individually, did the Holy Ghost come. "He shall be in you," the Lord declared. (John 14:17.) In accordance with this we read of saints receiving the Spirit (Acts 19:2; Gal. 3:2); of the Spirit being given to them (Rom. 5:5; 1 Thess. 4:8), and supplied, or ministered, to them (Gal. 3:5); of their having the Spirit (Jude 1:19), being led of the Spirit (Rom. 8:14; Gal. 5:18), and walking in the Spirit (Gal. 5:16); of their being sealed with the Spirit (Eph. 1:13; 4:30), 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. 8:9, 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 1:11.) He was with them as David declares. (Ps. 51:11.) 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. 14:31); 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 14:17.) 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 2:38; 10:43-44; Gal. 3:2; Eph. 1:13) 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. 12:7-11.) Writing to the Galatians, he mentions the gift of the Spirit as common to them all. (Chaps. 3, 4.) 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. 5:3.) In a similar strain John writes in his Gospel (7:39), and presses on the youngest believer in his Epistle. (1 John 2:20, 27.) And so really does the Spirit dwell in each believer, that his body is a temple of the Holy Ghost (1 Cor. 6:19), and will, if it dies, be raised up, because He has dwelt in it, as Romans 8:11 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 has also given to us His Holy Spirit. (1 Thess. 4:8.) 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. 1:21), but John expatiates somewhat on it. (1 John 2:20, 27.)*

{*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 shews we are not independent of divine and apostolic teaching. His writing in the way he did to the babes in Christ, shews 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.}

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 has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying Abba Father. (Rom. 8:16; Gal. 4:6.) 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.

Just one more fact should be mentioned, ere this slight sketch is concluded. Scripture predicts a time of apostasy (2 Thess. 2; Rev. 13), and the appearance of a monster of iniquity called the lawless one. (2 Thess. 2:8.) 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 be the consequence. And at length, when the Lord shall 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 take place, and rest and peace will find a dwelling-place upon this earth.

Receiving the Holy Ghost.

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. R. 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 one 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 8) 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. 12:13.) Paul owed nothing to other apostles (2 Cor. 12:11; Gal. 2:16), 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. 7:11.) 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 11:49-50; Matthew 23:34-36; 24:45-51; Luke 12:42-46: passages surely, a reference to which is enough to demonstrate the instability of his ground. Luke 11:49-50; Matthew 23:34-36; refer to the Jews, not to the church. Matthew 24:45-51; Luke 12:42-46 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 to 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 20), 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 1:15), had not viewed the Lord's answer to him in the same light as Mr. Govett regards it. (Page 32.) 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 1:33.) Apostles in common with all believers shared in that baptism (Acts 1:5; 11:16; 1 Cor. 12:13); 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 (chap. 7:39) has made mention, where we first meet with that term. Now, to receive the Holy Ghost is to be indwelt by Him. (Rom. 8:9), and hence such are no longer in the flesh but in the Spirit, and their bodies become His temples. (1 Cor. 6:19.) 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 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 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 2:38.) For this same gift Peter and John prayed on behalf of believers in Samaria. (Acts 8:15, 20.) The company in the house of Cornelius received it. (Acts 10:47.) The twelve disciples at Ephesus were asked if they had been recipients of it. (Chap. 19:2.) 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. 3:2.) 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. 2:12), and at Thessalonica (1 Thess. 4:8), as well as to those to whom James (James 4:5), John (1 John 3:24), 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 8:20; 11:17.) 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. 1:22; 5:5; Eph. 1:13-14.) They were sealed too, for He is the seal. (Eph. 1:13; 4:30.) They were anointed also, for He is the unction. (2 Cor. 1:21; 1 John 2:20, 27.) Again, receiving the Holy Ghost, the love of God was abroad in their hearts (Rom. 5:5), and they know the things that were freely given to them of God. (1 Cor. 2:12.) The Spirit of sonship too was theirs, for He is the Spirit of God's Son; hence they could cry 'Abba, Father.' (Rom. 8:15; Gal. 4:6.) Moral likeness to Christ they could seek after, for they had the Spirit of Christ. (Rom. 8:9-10.) Members of Christ they each and all were (1 Cor. 6:15-17; 12:12, 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. 8:11.) 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. 12), and the gifts bestowed on men by the ascended Christ. (Eph. 4:8.)

The first of these called dorea, intimating that it is freely bestowed, is the gift of God. The second, termed charisma "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 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. 14:13), but it is clear, that at Corinth all who were with the former, did not possess the latter. (1 Cor. 14:28.) All however had the gift of the Holy Ghost, dorea (1 Cor. 6:19), 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 8:17; 10:47; 11:17.) 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 10:45-46.) 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 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. 14:22); 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 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 in 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, in some way or other, were made sensible of it. (Acts 2; 8:16-18; 10:46.) 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 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 in 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 2:38.) 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 10:44; 15:7), and received, the Holy Ghost. By the hearing of faith the Galatians had received it. (Chap. 3:2.) 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. 1:11; 1 Tim. 4:14; 2 Tim. 1:6); the communication of the gift (dorea) 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 6:1-2. For scripture examples he points to 1 Timothy 4:14; 2 Timothy 1:6; Romans 1:11. Now the reference to Hebrews 6:1-2, 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, 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 7:4, 8); and to ceremonial cleansings (Heb. 9:10), 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 6. 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 Zacharias, 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 Zacharias, and the utterances of Elisabeth and Mary, when writing on such a subject as congregational singing? Zacharias, we read, filled with the Holy Ghost, prophesied; his was an inspired communication. Elisabeth, 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 any one seriously referring to these three when writing on such a subject. Zacharias was uttering inspired predictions. Is that congregational singing? Elisabeth addressed Mary, whose visit formed the theme of her communication. Is that the character of congregational psalmody? Mary, in the presence of Elisabeth, 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 to edifying." (1 Cor. 14:26.) 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. 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. 14) 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. 2:13.) 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. 12:6.) 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. 14:29.) 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 12 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 to you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call" (Acts 2:39), 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. S.