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the truth of which, the above minute history of the opera tions of the Spirit is adduced: (viz.) that the operations of the Spirit were not secret, immediate, and internal in the Apostolic day, but consisted in miracles, and signs, and wonders, addressed to the senses, to the eye, and ear, and words explanatory of them, by which they were applied to Jesus Christ as a proof of his death, resurrection, ascension, and character as a mediator, &c. &c. I now ask my unprejudiced reader, according to this exposition of the ope rations of the Spirit, and the fulfilment of the promises which Christ made to his disciples, to examine minutely the a bove narrative, and, with fairness, to say what produced the exclamation of the Jews, "Men and Brethren what shall we do?" The Spirit was to reprove the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. John 16. 8. 12. He was to testify of Christ, and the disciples were to bear witness, because they had been with him from the beginning." John 15. 26. 27. And after any persons believed they were to receive the Spirit. Mark 16. 17. 18: but whom the world (or the unbelievers) could not receive. John 14. 17. With many other words Peter testified; but how could Peter know that all the miracles, and signs, and wonders, which the Jews, from every nation under heaven, saw, and heard, consisting in the one hundred and twenty disciples, poor, ignorant Galileans, speaking in all the variety of languages in which the Jews were born, (and of which the Galileans were before ignorant,) the wonderful works of God; I ask how Peter knew any more than the Jews, who were amazed at what they saw, and heard, (and who did not receive any intelligible ideas upon the subject until Peter testified by words, and explained the thing's thus exhibited to the external senses,) that Jesus being exalted by the right hand of God, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, had shed forth that which they saw, and heard? How did he know that these things were connected with the glorious exaltation of Jesus Christ? His celestial, and invisible throne, was as insensible to Peter's natural eyes as to the senses of the Jews, who knew nothing about it. In John, 14. 16. 17. Christ told his disciples that he would pray the Father, and he shall (said he) give you another
Comforter, or Monitor, that he may abide with you for ever, even the Spirit of truth-ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. He also told them that the Spirit should take the things of Christ, and shew them unto them, and glorify him that the Spirit should testify of him, and the Apostles, also bear witness; and in a partic-. ular manner the keys of the kingdom of heaven were committed to Peter, who was to open the gospel plan, and the reign of grace, and discover to the world the glorious Redeemerin his mediatorial throne. Accordingly Peter receiv ed the Holy Ghost, Acts 2. 4. by which he was enabled to do this; on account of which, together with the previous teaching of Christ, he was distinguished in supernatural knowledge from the amazed Jews for no man knoweth the things of God but the Spirit of God, which things he revealed in his own words that they might be known. 1 Corinth. 2. 12. 13.
We have in the above minute detail of the operations of the Spirit, by which is explained practically, Christ's promises to his disciples as to the mode of his operations, a lively, and realizing view of what it is to explain spiritual things in spiritual words, in the translation of Macknight of the 13th v. of the 2d chapt. 2. Corinth. We also collect from them the proper idea of spiritual perception, and knowledge, as distinguished from natural perception; which consists in seeing things by the eye of the mind through description in words, by revelation, which are not visible to the natu ral eye. The miracles were visible to the natural senses they were seen and heard; but they communicated no dis, tinct knowledge to the mind; they only excited wonder and amazement; this is what they were designed for, and was a necessarary consequence of their supernatural character; it was, by words, by the words of the Spirit who only knew the things of God, and the purpose for which the signs and wonders were manifested, that they could be explained, and applied so as to impart knowledge, and faith. Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Ac cordingly Peter, speaking by the Holy Ghost, and the knowledge he had derived from him through the Saviour, for Peter, as a mere man, destitute of the instruction which
he had received from the Saviour, during the three years of his ministrations, and teaching; and of the inspiration of the Holy Ghost; was as ignorant of that which he saw, and heard as the amazed Jews were) Peter, speaking by this divinely derived knowledge, explained all that were seen, and heard, as being the fulfilment of the prophecies of Joel, and David, concerning the character of king Jesus, and as explicitly applicable to him in his mediatorial relation to our world. By these signs, and wonders, and their explanations, the Jews were pricked to their heart to find that they had crucified, and slain the Lord with wicked hands, whom God had raised up, and made both Lord, and Christ; and on account of the gracious circumstance that whosoever should call on his name should be saved, of which Peter informed them, they made the inquiry at the Apostles, "Men, and Brethren what shall we do?" God having exalted Jesus Christ, after his expiatory sacrifice, with his right hand to be a Prince, and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins, (Acts 5. 31.) having been made a curse for them; and, although possessed of sinless purity, suffered the penalties of the law, that he might redeem those who were under its condemnation; and having thereby removed the Law barrier which transgression had erected, authorised Peter to urge them to repent, and be baptized every one of them, in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and thereupon promised them the gifts of the Holy Ghost. These were the words of reconciliation which were committed to the Apostles by which they, in Christ's stead, exhorted the people to be reconciled to God. As the principle (or the evidence of it) which I am endeavouring to establish is matter of record, upon which I exclusively rely, I must invite the reader's particular attention to the above account of the first out-pourings, and operations of the Spirit to establish it. I have often repeated it in the present, and previous chapter, that faith never has been produced since the ascension of the Saviour but by signs, and wonders addressed to the senses, and words explanatory of them. To do the above case justice we will, in imagination, abstract from the scene exhibited, the miraculous display which the Jews saw, and
heard, and which amazed, and confounded them. By this we have nothing left, which is addressed to the mind through the senses; nor is there any fulfilment of the prophecies of Joel, and David, concerning the out-pourings of the Spirit; for if that which were seen, and heard, were the fulfilment of the prophecies, nothing else could have been; no other operations of the Spirit were intended by the Holy Ghost, in his revelations through the prophets, than what were seen, and heard, and explained by Peter. Had Peter have gotten up, and told the Jews that that which they saw, and heard was an out-pouring of the Spirit, without the miraculous displays, they would have justly charged him with derangement or distraction; as they could not have seen or heard any thing but what was natural. Exclude Peter's words, explanatory of what the Jews really did see, and hear, and by which they were applied to Jesus Christ; and the Jews could not have felt any other mental operation than wonder, and amazement, as they did before the explanation. Exclude both the signs, and wonders, and the words of Peter, explaining them; and the mind cannot suppose any more spiritual operations, nor ideas of them, than at any other time, and place. And, suppose no record or tradition had been preserved of the manifestations, and explanations on the day of Pentecost, I ask whether the human mind, in Lexington, would not be as necessarily ignorant of them, and the principles which they established, as a person born blind would be of colours, without ever having heard of them?
The explanations given of the promises, and prophecies, relative to the out-pourings of the Spirit, by their explicit, and actual fulfilment on the day of Pentecost, which are correspondent with every other case, in nature, and character; ought to settle the correct doctrine upon the subject of the operations. Never was a case tried in a court of justice, in which the truths were better established, according to the right rules of evidence, than the divine, and supernatural propositions that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and is exalted a Prince, and a Saviour, to give repentance, and remission of sins, &c. &c. by supernatural, and divine evidence on the day of Pentecost, and innumerable other occasions. But the establishment of this truth stands in connection with many others; such as the univer
sal condemnation of mankind by reason of transgression; the certainty of the resurrection of the dead, and a future judgment, of which the resurrection of Jesus Christ is a pledge; the source of the sickness, pain, and sorrow of body, and mind, and of death itself, which are evils incidental to humanity, being in sin, or the wages of it, &c. &c. all these things stand in connection with the proofs which es tablish the divine, and glorious character of the Redeemer, as they are only intelligible through the explanations of his divine teachings. The conviction of sin, and conversion to God, on the day of Pentecost, in the manner before explained, of about three thousand, shews the meaning of the saying of Christ, when he said that the Spirit, when he is come, should reprove the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment, &c., and also of David, The Lord said unto my Lord, sit thou on my right hand until I make thy foes thy footstool. It is through the Gospel that he continues to reconcile the world to him; which takes its efficiency from the death of Jesus Christ. It is said that those who gladly received the word were baptized, and continued steadfastly in the Apostle's doctrine, and fellowship: And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders, and signs were done by the Apostles. (v. 41. 43.)
It is often asserted, by way of distinction, that the operations to which I have been attending were miraculous, and that the operations contended for, believed in, and taught in our day, are secret, special ones, not of the miraculous kind. I ask from whence this distinction, and at what period of the dispensation of grace the operations changed; and, if changed, why take texts, and urge the reading of the Gospel, which contains an account of none other than miraculous ones? Is it not through the revelations made by the Holy Ghost, by signs, and wonders, and words explaining them as they are written, that we hear, and learn the truth as it is in Christ Jesus? This distinction, and these opinions, arise from an entirely erroneous apprehension of the nature, and character of the Gospel. It never was known but by miraculous, and supernatural instruction, or revelation, nor was it ever believed, nor will it ever be believed, but by means of the same description, and character of evidence. The