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place in the plan of revelation. To return to the case of the apostles, the miraculous gifts conferred upon them were God's seal to their commission; and, since he never sets his seal to falsehood, these miraculous gifts gave to their words, spoken or written, the stamp of divine authority.
5. We are now prepared to consider, as a fifth argument, the claims made by the apostles themselves to speak and write with divine authority. It has been shown in the preceding Number that their simple declaration concerning themselves, taken by itself, could avail nothing. But this same declaration, taken in connection with their acknowledged relation to Christ, the work committed by him to them, his promises to them, and the miraculous gifts bestowed upon them, is of the weightiest import. It was not, indeed, their custom to make gratuitous assertions of their superhuman guidance and authority. Their position rendered this unnecessary. The self-oblivion that pervades the historical books of the New Testament, two of which were written by apostles, is truly majestic, and is itself a mark of inspiration. In the Gospel of Matthew the personality of the writer does not so much as once come to the surface; in the Gospel of John it appears very rarely, and only when the nature of the circumstances related makes it appropriate. All the historical writers go forward serenely, in the full confidence that they can rightfully claim, and shall have, the credence of the churches, and aiming only to set forth the truth in its naked simplicity. Yet, when occasions arose, chiefly from the opposition of false teachers, the apostles did not hesitate to assert the authority which they had received from their Master in unambiguous terms. In the memorable letter of the apostles and elders and brethren to the Gentile churches, they say: "It seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things." The words" to the Holy Ghost, and to us," can only mean, to us under the guidance of the Holy Ghost. The apostle Paul, again, writing to the Corinthians, says: "Now we have re
1 Acts xv. 28.
ceived not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given. to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words. which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth, comparing spiritual things with spiritual." Here he undeniably speaks of himself and his associates in the gospel ministry; and his reference is not to any particular occasion, but to the general tenor of their preaching. They habitually spoke and by parity of reason wrote also — not in words which man's wisdom teaches, but which were taught them by the Holy Ghost. So also, writing to the Galatians, among whom his apostolic standing had been called in question by certain Judaizing teachers, he says: "I certify you brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man; for I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ."2 This language is explicit enough. It could have been used only by one who was conscious of having been divinely qualified and authorized to preach the gospel. Accordingly, in this same epistle, he more than once opposes his apostolic authority to the false teachers who were troubling the churches of Galatia: "I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you in the grace of Christ, unto another gospel: which is not another; except that there are some who trouble you, wishing to subvert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven preach a gospel to you other than we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now again say I: "If any man preaches to you a gospel other than ye received, let him be accursed;"3 and once more: "Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing." 4 Writing also to the Corinthians he says: "If any man thinketh himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge the things which I write unto you, that they are the commandments of the Lord."5 On the above passages we remark:
11 Cor. ii. 12, 13.
2 Gal. i. 11, 12.
3 Gal. i. 6-9. 61 Cor. xiv. 37.
4 Gal. v. 2.
VOL. XXIX. No. 113.
First, that they express not the authority which the apostle's words and writings had on certain occasions; but that which belonged to them always, though it was only on certain occasions that he felt the necessity of asserting it. Secondly, that the authority which belonged to his words and writings belonged also to those of the apostles as a body. Accordingly we find the apostle John writing with the same absolute assurance: "We are of God. He that knoweth God, heareth us; he that is not of God, heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error."1 Thirdly, that honest men, such as the apostles are admitted to have been, could not have used language of this kind, except under the full consciousness that they spoke and wrote by Christ's authority in such a high sense that their commandments were "the commandments of the Lord." Besides explicit assertions, like those that have been quoted, there is a tone of divine authority running through the apostolic writings. They assert the weightiest truths, and make the weightiest revelations concerning the future, as men who know that they have a valid claim to be explicitly believed and obeyed. What majesty of authority, for example, shines through Paul's discussion of the doctrine of the resurrection! He announces truths, that lie wholly beyond the ken of human reason, with the full and calm assurance of one who speaks from God. The same tone of certainty runs through the remarks which the apostle John interweaves with his Gospel and his Epistles, as well as though the other apostolic Epistles.
The Inspiration of the Associates of the Apostles.
We restrict the term "associates" in the present discussion to those who were the recognized associates of the apostles in the work of preaching the gospel; since it is not claimed that any other men than apostles or their helpers in the gospel ministry were the authors of the canonical books of the New Testament, though the miraculous gifts of the Spirit
11 John iv. 6.
cannot be restricted to these, as will be manifest from a brief survey of the early history of the church. After our Lord's ascension the eleven apostles returned to Jerusalem, and they with the disciples- - that is, those openly known as such- took up their abode in an upper room.1 Luke gives the number of the names at" about an hundred and twenty." This, according to the ordinary Jewish mode of reckoning,2 is probably the number of the men present, besides whom were the women who had followed the Saviour. From these disciples Matthias was, at Peter's suggestion, chosen by lot to take the place of Judas. During the time that intervened between the ascension and the day of Pentecost "these all continued in prayer and supplication with one accord "; and it was upon this company, not exclusively upon the twelve apostles, that the Spirit descended. Upon the day of Pentecost "they were all with one accord in one place," the Spirit fell on them all," and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance." 3 We know that among those present on this memorable occasion were our Lord's brethren, a fact to which we shall have occasion to refer hereafter. In like manner, upon the inauguration of the work of preaching the gospel to the Gentiles, a work which Peter began by express revelation from God, "while Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them that heard the word. And they of the circumcision who 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." 5 But with the exception of these notable instances, the gift of the Holy Ghost — that is, in the high and special sense of miraculous endowments was, so far as the sacred record gives us information, imparted by the laying on of the apostle's hands. Thus, when Philip the evangelist preached the gospel to the Samaritans, they 8 Acts ii. 1 seq. 5 Acts X.
1 Acts i.
• Acts i. 14.
2 Matt. xiv. 21; xv. 38.
received it joyfully, and were baptized in the name of Christ. Philip himself had the gift of the Spirit, and wrought miracles and signs among the people, but he did not impart to others this gift. It was when the apostles Peter and John. came and laid their hands on the believers that they received the Holy Ghost.1 Another analagous case is that of the disciples at Ephesus who had been baptized to John's baptism, and afterwards, upon being more fully instructed by Paul, "were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues and prophesied." 2 The gift of the Holy Ghost, then, in the special sense of miraculous endowments, was widely enjoyed in the primitive churches.
We are not, however, to infer that all who received this. gift were judged by the apostles competent to be associated with them in the work of preaching the word. "Tongues are for a sign," says the apostle; and the same is more or less true of all the miraculous gifts of the Spirit. They did not, in and of themselves, indicate the qualifications requisite for a preacher of the gospel. They who spoke under the impulse of the Holy Spirit in a language intelligible to the hearers uttered, of course, words of edification. But something more than this is needed in the man who is set apart for the ministry of the word. He must have the qualifications insisted upon by Paul in the pastoral Epistles; among which are a good report, aptness to teach, and the ability "by sound doctrine to exhort and to convince the gainsayers." He must be a man who has a comprehensive knowledge of the gospel "a scribe instructed unto the kingdom of heaven, like a man who is a householder, who brings forth out of his treasure, things new and old." 5 In this respect the practice of the apostle Paul agreed with his theory. For his first missionary tour the Holy Ghost as
1 Acts viii. 14-17.
2 Acts xix. 1-7.
* See 1 Tim. iii. 1-7; 2 Tim. ii. 2; Titus i. 6-9.
81 Cor. xiv. 22.