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munication with the Deity; that it was a scene of preparation for his ministry. He had just received his miraculous powers, and his commission to preach the glad tidings of salvation. He was in an entirely new and untried situation.
What more natural than that he should retire to the solitude of a desert, to meditate on the trials, temptations, and sufferings that he knew must await him, and to pray for strength to do the will of his heavenly Father? Emaciated by fasting, enfeebled in body, and worn down by long exertion of mind, some doubts or hesitation might have occurred to bim with respect to the proper use of the miraculous powers with which he had just beep endued. “Why should I not, he might have said, exert my powers for my own benefit. Why should I not at least supply the present necessities of my body, and command these stones to be made bread? If I am indeed the Son of God, if I have not been deceived by my own imagination, it will surely be done at my command. But no, the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give even his life a ransom for many. My powers have been given me as proofs of the divinity of my mission, and not to relieve my own necessities, or for my own benefit. In these respects I must trust like others to the providence of God, who will supply my wants, and preserve iny life, by such means as may seem to Him most fit."
Again, Jesus compared his present, solitary, deserted, and enfeebled state, with the splendour and magnificence which the Jews expected in their Messiah. “ Are they not right? Would the king of God's peculiar people be left in this ne. glected, and seemingly wretched condition? How grand and how striking a proof would it be, that I had come to be their king and deliverer, were I to cast myself down from a pionacle of the temple, and astonish and dazzle the gazing multitude with the attendance of legions of angels! But it cannot be. The Messiah, the Saviour of the world, is not to appear with the splendour of royalty; he is not to receive honour in this world. He is to be despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, he must be oppressed and afflicted, and at last cut off out of the land of the living. I will not then, though I am encouraged to it by a passage of Scripture, I will not tempt God by demanding of him a proof of his favour, which he does not choose to give. Father, not in y will, but thine be done."
He afterwards made some reflections on the effects which his miraculous powers might produce upon the world. "I can, by means of these powers, raise for myself a kingdom which shall embrace all the nations of the earth, which shall surpass in
glory all that has ever been seen or known. But it must be by breaking my allegiance to my heavenly king, it must be by disobeying ihe commands of Him by whose authority I am enabled to work these miracles. I am satisfied. My kingdom is not of this world. I look for my eternal reward at the right hand of the majesty of heaven.”
This explanation is simple, clear, and to me satisfactory. It is free from all those inconsistencies and contradictions which arise from supposing either the real or visionary interposition of the Devil, and it is justified by the use of similar phraseology both in the Old and New Testament, where the suggestions of the Devil, or of Satan, are put for the temptations to which we are exposed from ourselves. Let not any one say that it degrades the character of our Lord and Master. Dr. Farmer has shewn, and none can deny, that he was subject to temptation. He bore our nature, and there is not a single feeling or affection which belongs 10 man, however innocent or even praise-worthy, but may become the source of temptation and sin. It is not of the slightest consequence whether the temptation proceed from within or without.' It cannot be cbarged to us as a sin, that a thought of what is evil has passed through our minds. It is in cherishing those thoughts till they become wishes, and those wishes till they ripen into actions, that guilt consists ; and there cannot be a higher or nobler effort of virtue, there cannot be a stronger proof of our love to God, and our aspirations after the purity and perfection of bis nature, than that we should banish the thought and conquer the desire of evil, as soon as it rises within us.
It seems to me impossible that this temptation of our Saviour should have arisen except from bis own thoughts. Let any one reflect a moment upon what would be his own sensations, were the very principle of evil bimself to stand before him, either really or in a dream or vision, and offer him the kingdoms of this world, and the glory of them, upon the condition of his paying to the offerer the homage due to God alone. Would not his whole soul revolt from the proposal? What other ideas than those of horror and disgust would enter his mind ?Could then the pure and perfect Jesus be liable to semptation from such a being? God forbid that I should think so. Who is chargeable with imputing to our Lord what is disgraceful and degrading, if not he wbo maintains that the worst of spirits had
to affect his mind for a moment ? I have thus, my friend, briefly stated my objections to Dr. Farmer's exposition, and my own views of our Saviour's temptation. That they may receive the sanction of your approbation is the hope of,
Yours as ever,
P. ON THE USE AND MEANING OF THE PHRASE,
“ HOLY SPIRIT."
There is perhaps no term or phrase of frequent occurence in the New Testament, with which readers in general are more perplexed, and concerning the meaning of which tbey feel more doubtful, than that of "holy ghost", or "holy spirit.” We see the words printed in our Bibles, and in other books, in capitals, or with capital initials, and it gives us the impression of a person or agent of high dignily; at the same tiine that the connexion in which it stands, and the scope of the passage, often assure 11s, that a person cannot be intended.
Two observations occur in the outset in our examination into the use and meaning of holy spirit, in the writings of the New Testament. The first is, that we find several other forms of expression, such as, spirit of God, spirit of the Lord, spirit of Christ, and spirit alone, to be used in the same sense as holy spirit, or holy ghost. The following is an example, in which three of the above phrases are, in a single sentence, used to mean the same thing, wbatever it be, as “the holy ghost,” which is in other passages often represented to be in christians, and to dwell in them. Rom. vii. 9, “ Ye are not in the flesh, but in the spirit, if so be that the spirit of God dwell in you: now if any man have not the spirit of Christ, he is none of his. But if Christ be in you, &c."
The second observation is, that we do not find the phrase in question, nor either of the synonymous phrases to have one uniform sense in which it is always used. On the contrary, we soon discover, when we come to read with a careful attention to its use, that it has several meanings, which in each case are to be learned only froin the connexion in which it stands, and the scope of the passage in which it is found.
This observation will be supported by mentioning a few of the several senses, in which it may be shewn, that the holy spirit, and other parallel pbrases, are used by the sacred writers.
1. In the first place, each of the phrases in question is sometimes used for God himself. The true meaning, in this use of it, the more readily occurs on account of its analogy to a similar mode of expression, which we have in constant use. I mean the spirit of a man. Now by the spirit of a man, or a man's spirit, no one ever dreams of any thing else being intended but the man himself. “I am glad," said Paul to the Corinthians, (1 Cor. xvi. 17, 18.) of the coming of Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaiacus, for they have refreshed my spirit and yours.
That is, they have refreshed me and yon. Equally obvious is the meaning of the following texts : (Gal. vi. 18.)
“ Tbe grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.” (2 Tim. iv. 22.) “ The Lord Jesus Christ be with thy spirit," i.e. be with thee. Again, (1 Cor. ii. 11.) “What man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of a man, that is in him?": In this, as in the preceding instances, we are at no loss what we are to understand by the spirit of a man. It is the man himself. Now, when, proceeding in the use of the same language, he says in the following verse, “even so the things of God knoweth no one, but the spirit of God;" can there be any doubt, whether be applies the same language in a similar manner, meaning by it, none but God himself knoweth them?
This use of holy spirit and spirit of God, we meet with not untrequently in the Old Testament. (Psalm cxxxix. 7.) "Whither shall I go from thy spirit ?”' i. e. from thee ; for he immediately adds ;_"If I ascend up into heaven, Thou art there." The prophet Isaiah, (lxiii. 10.) speaking of the ingratitude of the people of Israel to God for their distinguished blessings, says, "They rebelled and vexed his holy spirit.” By comparing this passage with others in which the same conduct is referred to, we are left at no loss in what sense we are to understand his holy spirit here. Thus in the history of the transactions, (Num. xiv. 11.) we learn, that when the Israelites, hearing the report of those, who had been sent forward to search the land of Canaan, were on the point of revolting, and returning back to Egypt, “ The Lord said unto Moses, how long will this people provoke me ?” And in the Psalms which were composed in reference to these same transactions, in which this spirit of ingratitude and rebellion, which burst forth on several occasions, is alluded to ; it is said, (Psl. Ixxviii. 56.) “They tempted and provoked the Most High God.” (Psl. xcv. 9.) "Your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works.” These passages are evidently parallel, and intended to convey the same meaning. The historian, the sacred poet, and the prophet, referring to the same transaction, unquestionably meant to represent the same person, as the object of it, by the several terms, Jehovah, Most High God, and his holy spirit.
That this is the most usual meaning of the spirit of God in the Old Testament, I believe, will hardly admit a question. It is also as uniformly the meaning of my spirit, his spirit, and thy spirit, whenever they occur in reference to God. When God speaks of his spirit, we have as little apprehension that another person, distinct from the speaker, is intended, as when a man speaks of his spirit. · Nor is this use of the spirit of God,
viz, his power.
and the holy spirit, confined to the Old Testament. Very clear and decisive instances of it occur in the New. "Know ye not, says Paul, (1 Cor. vi. 19.) that your body is the temple of the holy ghost ?” That by the holy ghost is here meant God bimself, appears from two or three parallel passages. (1 Cor. iii. 16.) “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God ?" (2 Cor. vi. 16.)“ Ye are the temple of the living God, as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them.”
2. There is, in the second place, a class of texts, in which the phrases in question appear to be used, not to express the person of God, as in the preceding cases, but the power of God, his wisdom, bis will, or his command. (Mich. ii. 7.) “Is the spirit of the Lord straitened ?” (Is. lix. 1.) “ Behold the Lord's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save." These texts are evidently parallel, intended to express the same meaning. There can be no doubt that the former
prophet, by the spirit of the Lord, meant the same, as the latter did by the Lord's hand;
Is the power of Jehovah restrained ? In one of the eloquent replies of Job, (xxvi. 12, 13.) a re. markable instance occurs, in which, speaking of the majesty of God, and his wonderful works, the turn of expression is varied four times, without changing its meaning, in a single sentence. “ He divided the sea by his power, and by his understanding he smitetb through the proud: by his spirit he bath garnisbed the heavens, his hand hath formed the crooked serpent.” The intelligent reader needs no comment on this passage. He understands the same divine operation to be expressed, and not four distinct persons to be intimated, by the several terms power, understanding, spirit, and hand. In a similar manner, in the following passage, (Psl. xxxiji. 6.) “By the word of the Lord were the heavens made, and all the host of them by the breath, or spirit, of his mouth,”—be understands the word, in one part of the sentence, and the breath or spirit in the other, to mean the same thing, viz: that divine energy by which all things were brought into being. It may be proper, however, to inform the reader, unlearned in polemic divinity, that this interpretation is not assented to by all. Some have discovered in this text the three persons of the trinity: the first person, the Father, designated by the term Lord, or Jehovah; the second, or the Son, by the word; the third, or the Holy Ghost, by the breath, or spirit.
Whether such interpretations are calculated to do honuor to the scriptures, the common sense of sober enquirers will determine.
Our Saviour, reasoning with the Jews respecting his authority as a divine teacher, and the power by which he wrought