Alexander Campbell Gift of The Holy Spirit

BOOK III.

T H E H O L Y S P I R I T.

In a series of essays on "The Gift of the Holy Spirit," in the Harbinger for 1834, Mr. Campbell says:

With many it is an easy matter to investigate and decide every subject. They have only to read a few texts of Scripture and hear a sermon from some popular preacher, and they are quite satisfied they understand the matter perfectly. One decides in favor of this theory, and another in favor of that, after a few days', or sometimes a few hours', reflection, and become as dogmatical as the pope. Others prefer the opinion of some favorite author or creed; and from their conviction of the learning, piety, and talents of those who have thought for them, they are willing to repose in full assurance that they are right, and to denounce all others, as in error who may falter in yielding unqualified assent to their borrowed opinions.

Many, indeed, can not take comprehensive views of any subject; and if they can only get a hold of a few simple ideas, they have no desire to extend their inquiries or their views on the subject. But there are some restive and inquisitive persons who are always prying into the most abstruse subjects, and are never satisfied till they get to the bottom of a subject, or have pushed their inquiries beyond the terra firma of revelation and experience.

For our own part, we are desirous to understand all that God has revealed, and to receive the exact ideas which are couched in the words which the Holy Spirit used.

I propose to institute a few inquiries and to attempt a Scriptural answer to them. Indeed, all that I now propose will be to ascertain the meaning of the sacred dialect on the Holy Spirit, and will, therefore exclude from our phraseology every scholastic term and phrase on this topic. Without further ceremony we proceed.

1. What is the meaning of the phrase, "the gift of the Holy Spirit"?

This phrase is found in the New Testament twice--in the Old Testament never. The gifts of the Holy Spirit is not a Scriptural phrase, and, therefore, we have nothing to say about it. We have said that the phrase is not found in the Old Testament: the idea is not, therefore, to be sought in that volume. It is a New Testament phrase, and its meaning must be found in the Living Oracles of the Apostles and Evangelists of Jesus Christ.

That we may have clear and certain knowledge on this subject, we shall submit facts only. [109]

Fact 1. There are only the eight following words found in the approved Greek text, translated gift in the common version of the apostolic writings: dorea, dorema, doron, doma, dosis, merismos, charis, charisma.

Dorea occurs eleven times, and is used by Luke, John and Paul--dorema twice, used by Paul and James--doron eighteen times, used by Matthew, Mark, Luke and Paul--doma four times, used by Matthew, Luke and Paul--dosis once, used by James--merismos twice, used by Paul--charis occurs more than one hundred and fifty times, and used by Luke, John, Paul, James, Peter and Jude, in the common version mostly grace. It is rendered charity in the new version two or three times. (II. Cor. viii.) Charisma is found seventeen times, used by Paul and Peter. Now, of these doma and doron denote common gifts from man to man, from father to child, or religious sacrificial donations according to the law. But dorea and charisma are the words which we have now to consider.

Fact 2. When "spiritual gifts" are spoken of, no other word is used but charisma--that is, where we have the phrase "spiritual gifts" in the common version, we have charisma expressed or implied in the Greek.

Heb. ii. 4 is not an exception, for there it is distributions: common version, "gifts"--not "the gifts" of the Holy Spirit. The word here is merismos, found only twice--Heb. ii. 4 and iv. 12. In the last place it is translated "dividing asunder"--common version.

Fact 3. But when the gift of the Holy Spirit is spoken of, or, indeed, alluded to, no other word than DOREA is used by any writer who speaks of it.

Every particular gift of the Spirit spoken of, or alluded to, is designated by charisma;
        but "the gift of the Holy Spirit" by dorea only.
        This is certainly worth something to those who wish to understand the Scriptures.

From this last fact the inference may be drawn,
        that a gift of the Spirit, or A spiritual gift,
        is not the same as the gift of the Holy Spirit,
            inasmuch as the sacred writers in their language never confounded them.
        Ought we not now to inquire what is the precise import of the words dorea and charisma?   

That the English reader, curious to understand this matter, may be furnished with all the means in his power to understand for himself, we shall now give him, in order, all the passages where these words occur in the original;

and first for dorea let him consult John iv. 10; Acts ii. 38; viii. 20; x. 45; xi. 17; Rom, v. 15, 17; II. Cor. iv. 15; Eph. iii. 7; iv. 7; Heb. vi. 4.

From a careful inspection of these passages both in the common and new version, he will discover, that this term expresses and denotes the largest, freest, and best bounty of God. To express the bounty of God in its most extensive display over all [110] creation, in the apocryphal book of wisdom (chap. xvi. 25) this word is found--he pantatrophos sou dorea--"thy all-nourishing bounty."

Wisdom 1:24 - For creation, serving thee who hast made it, exerts itself to punish the unrighteous, and in kindness relaxes on behalf of those who trust in thee.

Wisdom 1:25 - Therefore at that time also, changed into all forms, it served thy all -nourishing bounty, according to the desire of those who had need,

Jesus uses it to the woman of Samaria to exalt her conceptions of God's bounty.
        "If," says he, "you knew the bounty of God"--"the gift of God."
        Free gift is the fullest version of it which our language admits, according to Macknight;
        but this does not fully express it. It denotes the largest and freest gift of God.

John 4:10 Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.

Acts 8:20 But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money.

Acts 10:45 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.


Is. 55:8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.
Is. 55:9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
        so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
Is. 55:10 For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:
Is. 55:11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

Charisma next deserves our attention. The English reader will examine all the passages in which it is found when he inspects the following: Rom. i. 11; v. 15, 16; vi. 23; xi. 29; xii. 6; 1. Cor. i. 7; vii. 7; xii. 4, 9, 28, 30, 31; II. Cor. i. 11; I. Tim. iv. 14; II. Tim. i. 6; I. Pet. iv. 10.

This word has always some indefinite favor or gift as its import--a favor or a bounty; and, when used definitely, it is the particular favor or gift before mentioned. It is specific in its import, while dorea is rather generic. Hence, prophecy, speaking foreign languages, interpretation of foreign languages, power of working miracles are fully expressed by charisma.

It might, indeed, be added, that dorea respects the bounty from which the gift flows;
while charisma represents the thing, the favor, or benefit, given.
But the splendid bequest, as well as the bounty which freely confers it, are also expressed by this term. Definition goes no farther.

We have this phrase, the gift of the Holy Spirit, as has been said, but twice, in all the apostolic writings--

Acts ii. 38 and x. 45, both of which denote all that is comprehended in the promise of Joel, the Holy Spirit in all his miraculous powers. It is, indeed (Acts viii. 20), called "the gift [dorea] of God;" and that gift, mentioned Acts x. 45, compared with that mentioned Acts ii. 28, is called by Peter (Acts xi. 17) ten isen dorean, the same gift.

Although, as has been said, this is the fulfillment of the prophecy of Joel, it is also represented as the Holy Spirit himself. See Acts viii. 15, 17, 19, from which it is very evident that,
        in the judgment of Peter, John and Simon,
        this gift was regarded as the Holy Spirit himself;
        and is also called "the gift of God."

Campbell's exception does not prove that a person fell on them.
Acts 8:16 (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them:
        only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.)
Acts 8:17 Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.
Acts 8:18 And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money,

Acts 8:19 Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost.
Acts 8:20 But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money.

From all which the following conclusion is inevitable, that the phrase,

"the gift of the Holy Spirit," means the Holy Spirit himself given, as foretold by Joel, and vouchsafed to Jews and Gentiles at the erection of the kingdom of the Messiah, and on their admission into it.

But a question may here arise concerning what influences, or divine powers, the Holy Spirit displayed on the bodies, souls and spirits of those who received this gift, or in whom he made his abode.

[A. C.]

Having ascertained the import of the phrase,
        "the gift of the Holy Spirit," to be the Holy Spirit himself
        given, as foretold by Joel--

we proceed to examine some other phrases employed by the Spirit himself [111] in setting forth the effects of his residence in men. Be it observed that the Holy Spirit is himself a gift.

He is not the donor, but the donation.
He never gives himself.

This is the philosophy which explains the reason why no inspired man, saint, or Christian, till John's death, in the year of the world 4100,
ever prayed to the Holy Spirit, asked him, or thanked him for anything.
We address and thank the donor, not the gift.

The unscriptural prayers addressed to the Holy Spirit, and the hymns sung to him by those who study theology in the schools of human philosophy, and not in the church of God, show the state of biblical knowledge in this "enlightened age of benevolent enterprise!"

Jesus himself, after his baptism, received the Holy Spirit. In the form of a dove he descended upon him. God gave him this gift. John the Immerser says,

"To him God gives not the Spirit by measure" (John iii. 34). Singular phrase! "The Spirit by measure!" What can it mean?

The Prophets had received the Spirit by measure. By measure he was given to the Prophets--not by measure to the Son.

They spoke not always, and not only, the words of God; but, as John explains the phrase in the preceding verse, Jesus spoke only and always the words of God. The Spirit of the context is this: "Jesus whom God has sent speaks the words of God; for God gives not the Spirit by measure to him." "To him" is a supplement, but a necessary one; else God always gives the Spirit without measure.

With respect to this word "measure" in reference to the Spirit, it is only found in this passage; unless we understand Rom. xii. 3 and Eph. iv. 7 as referring to the same subject. "The measure of faith" (Rom. xii. 3) is explained (verse 6) as denoting gifts spiritual. So in Eph. iv. 7, "To every one of us is given grace [charis] according to the measure of the gift of Christ."

This "gift of Christ" is explained (verses 8 and 11) as expressive of the offices of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, teachers.

These offices, and those that filled them, are the gift of Christ alluded to; for when he ascended to heaven he received the promise of the Father, and gave gifts to men.

These gifts were the measures of the Spirit. "The measure of the gift of Christ" is the measure, or distribution of that Spirit which Christ on his ascension sent down.

Be it observed that the creation of an office is a gift; and the qualifications of the person who fills that office is also a gift or grace bestowed on the church: "Having, then, gifts differing according to the grace [office] given to us--if prophecy, let us prophesy according to the measure of faith, according to the gift of prophecy which we enjoy," etc.

No one person, it appears, possessed the Holy Spirit himself without measure. The Head of the Church had this pre-eminence; or, in other words, no person was so possessed of the Spirit as to be only and [112] always under his guidance and entire influence, except the Messiah.

One prophesied--another had gifts of healing--another, of speaking foreign languages--another, of interpreting these foreign languages. The Spirit distributed, or gave what measures he pleased to every person on whom he was bestowed.

For it is evident that the Spirit himself, though a gift,
        displayed his presence in the spiritual men
by such measures or distributions
        of his power as seemed good to himself.

Hear Paul (I. Cor. xii. 9-11), "To one, indeed, is given by the Spirit, the word of wisdom; to another, the word of knowledge, according to the same Spirit; and to another; faith [to attempt a miracle] by the same Spirit; and to another, the gifts of healing, by the same Spirit; and to another, the operations of powers; and to another, prophecy; and to another, discerning of spirits; and to another, diverse kinds of foreign tongues; and to another, the interpretation of foreign tongues." Now all these (measures of himself) does the one and the same Spirit effectually work, distributing to each respectively as he pleases. These are the spiritual gifts, portions, or measures of the Spirit, bestowed by himself on those to whom he was given.

Having, then, from these examples, ascertained that such is the meaning of the phrases, "measures," "distributions of the Spirit," or "spiritual gifts," an inquiry arises,

Did everyone who possessed the gift of the Holy Spirit, or every one on whom the Spirit himself was bestowed, in the Scriptural acceptation of the phrase, possess and exhibit such "a manifestation of the Spirit" as those described, thereby investing him with superhuman power?

Such a question can only be answered correctly by an induction of all the particular cases mentioned in the New Testament, or by a definition of the terms found in the Record on this subject.

Be it remembered, that in proposing such questions, we have supremely in view the determining of the meaning of the words and phrases in current circulation in the times of the New Institution, or during the apostolic age. Our present inquiries extend no farther. The question now before us may be varied so as to bring up another New Testament phrase.
        For example--Is every measure, distribution, portion,
        or gift of the Holy Spirit recorded in the Living Oracles,
        a manifestation of the Spirit?

To proceed with deliberation and with confidence, let us first examine the phrase, "manifestation of the Spirit" (I. Cor. xii. 7).

Phanerosis (rendered manifestation, Old Version and New) occurs but twice in the Living Oracles. Paul is the only writer who uses it, and he only uses it once in each of his letters to the Corinthians (2nd Epistle, chap. iv. 2),

"By manifestation of the truth, commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God."

2Cor. 4:2 But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness,
        nor handling the word of God deceitfully;
        but by manifestation of the truth
        commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.
2Cor. 4:3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:
2Cor. 4:4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
2Cor. 4:5 For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.

The word [113] PHANEROO, which signifies to make manifest, to disclose, to bring to light, occurs more than fifty times: from this is derived PHANEROSIS, manifestation, exhibition, disclosure.
It is quite obvious, then, that all the measures, gifts, or distributions of the Spirit, were visible, sensible, and manifest to all: for they are called "manifestations of the Spirit."
In writing on "spiritual gifts" (I. Cor. chaps. xii., xiii. and xiv.) in the opening of the subject, Paul (chap. xii. 7) classifies them under one general head, which he denominates "a manifestation of the Spirit." "

There is a manifestation of the Spirit given to every man [all the spiritual men] for the advantage of all [the brethren]." Then come the specifications of these manifestations of the Spirit before enumerated--
"To one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom," etc., etc. If, then, by "a manifestation of the truth"
Paul meant such a public and sensible exhibition of it as would commend the honesty and sincerity of the heart to every man's conscience,
by "a manifestation of the Spirit" he meant such an exhibition of his presence and residence in the heart,
as would convince the understanding of all that these spiritual men,
        who professed to have received the Holy Spirit himself,
        did in truth possess that divine agent.
From all which, may it not be inferred that a person in the apostolic age, professing
        to have received the gift of the Holy Spirit, or the Holy Spirit himself,
        without a manifestation of it; or who was unable to display
        it by some unequivocal exhibition of it,
       
would have been considered either a knave or a simpleton?

Before we approach nigher to the question before us, there is another Scriptural phrase, so similar to this, used by the same inspired writer, and in the same epistle, which deserves a passing remark.

The intelligent reader will no doubt think of "the demonstration of the Spirit" found in I. Cor. ii. 4, "I came not to you, brethren, with excellency of speech and of wisdom. My discourse also and my proclamation were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but with the demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith might not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God."

We quote the whole passage, that the import of this word "demonstration" (apodeixis), which occurs but once in all the Living Oracles, may be duly felt.

The verb apodeiknumi (to demonstrate) occurs Acts ii. 22; xxv. 7; I. Cor. iv. 9; II Thess. ii. 4. Jesus Christ was "recommended [demonstrated] to you by God by powerful operations, wonders, and signs which God wrought by him in the midst of you."

Thus the verb is first used (Acts ii. 22); and from this we learn what is called a demonstration of the Spirit. "They were not able to prove [to demonstrate] their accusations against Paul" (Acts xxv. 7).

"God has set forth us [demonstrated us Apostles] Apostles last as persons appointed to death" (I. Cor. iv. 9).

"Sitting in the temple of God, openly showing [114] [demonstrating] himself to be a god" (II. Thess. ii. 4).

With all the premises in the Book, the reader may now see that a demonstration of the Spirit is a public, evident, sensible display of supernatural power, on which the faith of a person may stand as on the power of God; or such a manifestation or exhibition of the Spirit, evincing, beyond rational doubt, that he is no knave or vain pretender who says that he has received the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Perhaps our question is already sufficiently answered to the satisfaction of the reader.

Was every one mentioned in the volumes of God as possessing the gift of the Holy Spirit,
able to give a manifestation or demonstration of the Spirit?

        This is the question now before us; and it is proved two ways--
                either by an induction of all the cases which we have not yet attempted,
                or by a definition of all the phrases employed to express the meaning, design,
                        or extent of the gift of the Holy Spirit.

The latter is more immediately our object--the other is rather a consequence drawn from the premises fairly exhibited and examined. This much we may say, and it must suffice for the present essay,

that, when the Scriptural import of the phrases "the gift of the Holy Spirit," "spiritual gifts," "measure" or "distribution of the Spirit," "demonstration of the Spirit,"
        is fully and clearly ascertained, they all indicate a "manifestation of the Spirit."

And perhaps it may be inferred that no man ever did possess the gift of the Holy Spirit,
        who could not, and who did not,
        afford a manifestation of the Spirit.

For every manifestation of the Spirit, says Paul,
        was given to every spiritual man for the advantage of all;
        and unless the demonstration of the Spirit was to all,
        it could not be an advantage to all.

Let none of the admirers and believers in "physical and moral operations of the Spirit"--in "common and special operations"--in "divine influences," be alarmed at this investigation of the matter.

We are now ascertaining from the proper authority (the Scriptures themselves),
        the true and only authorized meaning of the sacred dialect.

When we discuss the merits of these popular and ecclesiastic terms and phrases, we shall not use the Bible, but the creeds and commentators of modern Christendom. Meanwhile, it is Bible words and Bible ideas only we are prying into.


Sources[A. C.]
1. Alexander Campbell. Extracts from "Reply" to Inquirer's "The Gift of the Holy Spirit." The Millennial
Harbinger 5 (May 1834): 170-172. 
2. ----------. Extract from "The Gift of the Holy Spirit--No. II." The Millennial Harbinger 5 (May 1834):
217-220.

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