« AnteriorContinuar »
drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover." These are, the “ living waters” promised, John vii. 38, which at ver. 39, are said to be the spirit.
Acts v. 32, is a remarkable text, and is explained in the above letter, p. 150, “ And we are bis witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him :" that is, these are the miraculous gifts which God has bestowed upon us, and upon others, who believe in Jesus, &c. These miraculous gifts, bestowed upon believers, are the promised spirit, of which Christ told, John xv. 26, “ He shall testify of me."
John xvi. 12, “ I have many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now." However, be easy, in a short time you shall be so illuminated from above, as to know all those things distinctly. Ver. 13, “ How beit
, when the spirit of truth is come," or when the divine miraculous powers and gifts, which are to testify to the truth of my mission and doctrine, are poured out upon you, “ He will guide you into all truth. ” You will be enabled to understand every thing relating to the institution wbich God is setting up by me, &c. So we find, that gradually the apostles were able to speak properly to Jews and Gentiles, as they were instructed in the right manner of receiving the Gentiles, of which they had no notion, whilst Christ was with them, nor till after they were illuminated from above, after his ascension.
It is certain that the Holy Ghost is often mentioned as a gift or power plainly. These texts may enable us to understand others, if we will exercise our reason.
Dr. Ward says, p. 159, that the term, the “ Holy Ghost,” often denotes a power, cannot be questioned; as where the apostles and other christians at that time, are said to be filled with the Holy Ghost.
There are no wishes of peace from the Spirit at the beginning or ending of the apostolical epistles ; nor any where ascriptions of glory to the Spirit.
There are also other texts, leading us to think that the apostles knew not of any divine person under the name Spirit. If they had, he would have been mentioned by them. 1 Tim. v. 21, “ I charge thee, before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels." Rev. i. 4, 5, “ Grace from him, which is and from the seven spirits before the throne, and from Jesus Christ.” Our Lord will “ come in the glory of the Father, with the holy angels." How could the holy spirit be omitted in all these places, if Jesus and his apostles knew there was a divine Spirit equal to the Father, or nearly so ?
November 13, 1762.
mus, vol. I.
Shall I add a few more thoughts upon the same subject?
By the Holy Ghost is plainly meant, in divers places, a power, a gift, an effusion of spiritual gifts. John vii. 39, « For the Holy Ghost was not yet given.” So we translate, supplying the sense. But the Greek is, “ for the Holy Ghost was not yet :” and so the Latin Vulgate, and Beza, nondum erat spiritus sanctus. In Dr. Jortin's Life of Eras
that If by the Holy Ghost is to be understood a divine person, St. John would not say, that “ he did not exist yet.” Read also Acts xix. 1-19. · There are twelve Jewish people who know not that there “ was any Holy Ghost.” "The meaning is, they did not know there was an effusion of spiritual gifts, in which they could partake. St. Paul laid his hands upon them, and the “ Holy Ghost came on them, and they spake with tongues and prophesied.” Compare Acts x. 45, and xi. 15–17.
Our Lord has told us what he meant by the Comforter, Job xiv. 26,“ but the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost," meaning the miraculous knowledge and understanding which they should receive by inspiration.
“The blasphemy against the Holy Ghost” is blaspheming the miraculous works which Christ did, or professed to do, by the power, or finger, or spirit of God. To ascribe those works to demons, or to Satan himself, was that blasphemy.
John xvi. 14, “ He shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you. This relates to some things of which Christ bad spoken, but not fully, and which the disciples did not yet understand ; particularly the calling of the Gentiles, and the manner of receiving them. Says Christ, John x. 16, “ And other sheep I have which are not of this fold, them also I must bring." And he several times said, that many should come from the east and the west-and the children of the kingdom be cast out. These things were explained afterwards to the disciples by divers miraculous manifestations, as we see in the Acts, chap. x. and elsewhere. And gradually, by such means, the disciples were led into “ all truth," that is, every thing relating to the gospel institution,
November 22, 1762.
THE LATE DR. WARD'S DISSERTATIONS
SEVERAL PASSAGES OF THE SACRED SCRIPTURES.
WHEREIN ARE SHOWN, BESIDE OTHER THINGS, THAT ST. JOHN COMPUTED THE HOURS OF THE DAY AFTER THE JEWISH MANNER; WHO ARE THE GREEKS, JOHN XII. WHO THE GRECIANS, ACTS VI. THE DESIGN OF THE APOSTOLIC DECREE, ACTS XV. THAT THERE WAS BUT ONE SORT OF JEWISH PROSELY TES: WHEREIN LAY THE FAULT OF ST. PETER, AND HOW
ST. PAUL MAY BE VINDICATED.
DR. WARD's intimate acquaintance with antiquity, and his uncommon skill in all parts of literature, are well known. His sincere piety and respect for the sacred scriptures were as conspicuous. And his Dissertations, though posthumous, have been well received by the public. Nevertheless among many curious criticisms, and just observations, there are some things, which appear to deserve farther consideration. Ibope, therefore, that my making remarks upon some places, where I hesitate, will not be reckoned inconsistent with the respect which I long had, and still have for the learned and pious author.
And I may take this opportunity to enlarge upon some articles, beyond what the desigu of making remarks would require.
PAGE 73. Diss. xxi. • The case of the demoniac, who resided
among the tombs on the coast of Gadara.'
As my remarks are to be inade in the order of the dissertations, I begin with this. Upon which I have received some observations in a letter from my much esteemed friend, Mr. Thomas Mole, which I shall here transcribe.
• I have read the Dissertations of Dr. Ward ; among which I find one upon the case of the demoniac, who resided among the tombs on the coast of Gadara.
• This affair of the possessions is an embarrassment, which • one would be glad fairly to get rid of. The interpretation · which represents them as mad, or otherwise grievously • diseased, seems to be the only method effectually to re. move it. A great deal has been written to show the pro
bability of this explanation, and principally by yourself. • Our late friend seems to have been very tenacious of the * other sense, and treats them as real possessions. He justly
observes the impropriety of calling devils what in the evangelists is called demons; but does not, I think, so • fairly as one would desire, argue in support of their being * possessions.
• The man,' he says, p. 75, is here described, as wholly • unconversable, so fierce that no one dared come near him. • This must have been at times only. For it is said, Mark • v. 4, that“ he had been often bound with fetters and chains,
and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the • fetters broken in pieces. So that it is going farther than • the text allows, to say of him, that none dared to come
near him, during all the time, since he was first seized; • as he evidently, I think, means. For be adds immediately; • he had lived a long time in that condition.
• When it is added by St. Mark, ver. 4, “neither could any man tame bim," it seems to me, that there had been • many trials of cure undertaken, and various methods used • for that purpose, though without success, especially if he was a man of
any note in that? city. For ek modews, “ out * “ Especially if he was a man of note in that city.”] That appears to me a curious thought, and a valuable hint; which may lead us to consider, whether there are not in this history some things which may induce us to suppose, that the demoniac, to whom St. Mark and St. Luke confine their narra. tion, was a man of some substance. And I think there are several such things. In St. Mark v. 19, our Lord says: “Go home to thy friends.” 'Yraye elç rov OLKOV 08 apoç THG OHG. Literally, 'go to thy house to thy own people,' meaning family, or friends. In Luke viii
. 39, “ return to thy own house." "Υποτρεφε εις τον οικον σε. Care had been taken of him, and there had been, as is manifest, divers attempts made to cure his disorder, or to relieve and restrain him under it. And when the multitude from the city, and from the country round about came to Jesus, they saw the man sitting, and clothed. Clothing therefore had been brought to him, and probably from his own house, in the adjacent city, and from his family. They knew where he was, though
of the city," in St. Luke, must, I think, refer to the place • of bis habitation, wbile he was sane, rather than when thus
disordered, and from which he came, when he met Jesus. • And the word, dapatw, here used, and in St. James jjj. 7,
of“ taming wild beasts,” and the “ tongues of men," seems • not improperly to express the cure of madness, and perhaps
more properly than the dispossession of demons. It might • deserve our inquiry, whether it is never so used by the • ancients, in treating of maniacal cases.
. It appears farther probable to me, that this man had his 'madness by fits, or at certain seasons, with intervals of
sanity between them ; and that when his fits were observed . to be coming on, he was bound by his friends, (with whom • he might possibly have lived in those intervals,) to prevent • his doing harm to himself, or others, and have him more • under command. Does not St. Luke say, or mean this? • viii. 29, “ For oftentimes, Tollows xpovois, it had caught * him, and he was kept ovlascoperos, bound with chains and • fetters. And he brake the bands, and was driven of the • devil into the wilderness.” St. Mark says, he had been
often bound," Tolláris, St. Matthew, viii. 28, ascribes to • him this exceeding fierceness only, when coming out of • the tombs to them.
• Hence I would farther observe, that we are under no • necessity of allowing what we find asserted, that be had • Jived a long time in this condition; and therefore was • neither capable, nor had any opportunity of knowing any
thing concerning Christ or his character. For though he • bad been ever so long a time disordered, if there had been any intervals, (and the longer had been the time, it is likely there had been the more :) might he not in some one or • other of those intervals, have acquired some knowledge of • the character, and even of the person of Christ ? And • hence, in his fits, especially, when Christ appeared in his he had escaped from them; and upon the first intelligence concerning what had happened, they recollected the distress he must be in, for want of clothing : they therefore immediately sent him apparel. And that they were his own garments, which he had been used to wear when composed, or at least such in which he could make a decent appearance, may be collected from his request to be with Jesus, and accompany him. This circumstance may be one reason why St. Mark and St. Luke give an account of this one demoniac only, though there were two, as St. Matthew says. Finally, his being a person of good condition, in the city where he dwelt, might render him better qualified to speak of this great work. Any man, however mean, deserved to be attended to, when he spoke of a miracle wrought upon himself, of which divers others were witnesses : but a man of substance, and a putable inhabitant of the place, might do it to better advantage.