(i) IN APOSTOLIC TIMES
BAPTISM of spirit, in all the subjects of it, was known to all observers by the effects produced. There could be no mistake in this. A Christian who said, "I have been baptized with spirit", could prove his assertion to the conviction of all reasonable persons. He never undertook to prove such a baptism by an appeal to his own feelings; for what he might feel in himself was no demonstration to his contemporaries. Baptism of spirit was an inpouring of power until the believer's vessel was filled. Being full of power, "powers" were manifested, which Paul styles "the powers of the future course" , or Mellontos aionos , termed in the Common Version, "the world to come" (Heb. 6:5), and of which he says in the same place, his brethren had "tasted". These spirit-baptismal effects are also by him styled "powers", dunameis , in 1 Cor. 12:29, but here rather restricted to a particular class of manifestations.
The Hebrew brethren were said to have "tasted of the powers of the future course of things", (Heb. 6:5) or AION, in possessing spirit-gifts, because when that course of things, commonly called the Millennium, or Age to Come, should be introduced, they would possess the same powers, but without limitation; not that they will exercise them without limitation, but that they will possess the ability so to do. In the apostolic age they tasted of the powers, but in the future they will drink in a full draught of spirit-power. "Be not drunk with wine; but be filled with spirit." (Eph. 5:18) Though they might be filled to overflowing, the fullness would be but a taste of the powers of the coming AION. Their vessels, like ours, were but earthen, and of limited capacity; but in the future AION of a thousand years, the bodies of the saints will be consubstantial and conformed to that of Christ's; and therefore of vastly greater capacity and susceptibility of manifestation and enjoyment than the "vile bodies" (Phil. 3:21) they now possess. The nature of the body through which the powers are displayed makes the great difference between the tasting and the fullness, when the Deity shall be "the all things in all" (1 Cor. 15:28) -- ta panta en pasin . "Now, concerning spirit gifts (pneumatika) , brethren, I would not that ye be ignorant." Thus speaks Paul in 1 Cor. 12:1. By pneumatika he means spirit manifestations resulting from the working of God's power in those who confess the lordship of Jesus consequent upon their understanding and belief of the divine testimony concerning him. These spirit-manifestations, given to the intelligent and obedient in Paul's day, in 1 Cor. 14:12, he terms pneumata or spirits . He did not wish the brethren in Corinth to be ignorant concerning spirits, which were not the ghosts of dead men, women and babes, as the heathen around us imagine in the blindness of their heart; not many separate and independent disembodied "immortal souls" of a "spirit world"; but a diverse operation and manifold manifestation of one and the same deity by His own abstract and independent power. The "spirits" were spirit-powers radiated from the divine presence into the saints, who were thereby enabled to do wonders, and signs, and powers, according to the will of the Deity. Every wonder, every sign, every power, was a spirit, visible to all who beheld the extraordinary phenomena. They did not mutter, and rap, or move tables; nor did they give forth dubious and lying oracles through unclean and ignorant pretenders; they uttered divine wisdom and knowledge, which was in harmony with what the Deity had moved holy men of old to write in "the law and the prophets" (Matt. 7:12; 22:40; Luke 16:16; Acts 13:15;24:14; Rom. 3:21) thousands of years before. They raised the dead, discerned spirits, spoke the languages of men intuitively, and interpreted them intelligibly. All these spirits worked that one and the self-same spirit, dividing to every believer severally as he willed (1 Cor. 12:11).
There were some in Paul's day, as in ours, who pretended to speak by the spirit of the Deity, yet did not possess it. Because of this pretence, the Apostle John exhorted the brethren, saying: "Beloved, believe not every spirit (or manifestation), but try the spirits, whether they be of God" (1 John 4:1). This was addressed to those of the saints who possessed "the spirit" called "discerning of spirits", (1 Cor. 12:10) which was common to all the presbyteries, or elderships, of the flock. All the apostles had this gift, so that it was not possible to impose spurious, or counterfeit spirits upon them. Being thus qualified they were competent to give their brethren a rule by which they might distinguish the true from the false. There were some spirits in their day who taught false doctrines in the name of Christ. The same class of spirits exists now; only that, whereas they were in the minority in apostolic times, they are now almost universal, nearly to the entire suppression of the true. These "spirits" are styled by John "false prophets", (1 John 4:1) because their teaching was false and subversive "of the truth as it is in Jesus". (Eph.4:21) Hence, every teacher, or one who does not teach the truth, is one of these spirits, no matter what age or generation, name or denomination, he may belong to. Nor is it difficult to discern these spirits by the apostolic rule. All spirits are of the world, which are inspired of the world, and which the world gives heed to and glorifies. This is an infallible rule, and demonstrates that the clergy, ministers, parsons, or preachers (it matters not by what name the spirits are called), are all false prophets or Spirits ...
The apostles used to say of themselves, "We are of God" . And this was a true testimony: for Jesus said to them, "It shall be given you what ye shall speak. For it is not ye that speak, but the spirit of your Father which speaketh in you". (Matt. 10:19,20) Well might he say, therefore, "He that heareth you heareth me; and he that despiseth me, despiseth Him that sent me". (Luke 10:16) The apostle John was therefore perfectly justified in saying, "He that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us". (1 John 4:6) Do the spirits of Rome, Wittenberg, Geneva, Oxford, Bethany, etc., hear the apostles, or do they not? No intelligent believer of the truth can honestly affirm that they do. There is but one thing such can truly affirm, and that is, that they do not give heed to the teaching of the apostles. They are then false prophets or spirits; and all their pretensions to holy spirit, to baptism of spirit other than the spirit of the flesh, to getting religion by the operation of the spirit of God, and so forth, is mere twaddle and blasphemy; false and only false, and that continually. This hearing of the apostles is an unerring rule for the "discerning of spirits". (1 Cor. 12:10) A man may be as pious as the pagan Aeneas; or as devout as a Turk who prays to Allah five times a day; or as earnest as the Jews who had "a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge"(Rom. 10:2) -- he may be all this, and as well skilled in Plato as Dr. Lewis; and as holy toned and grimacious as a pulpitarian -- it matters not; all this goes for vanity and vexation of spirit; he is a false spirit if he believe not the teachings of the apostles; if he be not mindful of the words spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of the apostles of the Lord and Saviour (2 Peter 3:2). "Hereby know we", saith John, "the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error." (1 John 4:6)
Having, then, obtained a divine rule, and therefore an infallible one, by which to discern spirits, we are not to be imposed upon by pretenders to spirit, and what they call baptism of spirit. They know nothing correctly about the subject, because they do not give heed to the apostolic teaching. They only tasted of the powers of the future course of things who had been guided into the truth; and so now, if any man say he hath the spirit in its powers or manifestations; or that he has been converted or born of the spirit; try him by conversing with him about what the apostles taught for faith and practice; and if you find that he is ignorant, you may then certainly know that he is an impostor, deceiving or deceived, or both; he is a false spirit, having never drunk into the spirit of God. A man truly and scripturally enlightened would never, claim to be baptized of spirit in the dry time that intervenes between the early and latter rains. He claims only to have been begotten of the truth which is spirit, not to be indued with any of its baptismal powers.
"Spirits", then, is a word apostolically used to designate the gifts of the spirit of God: and those who undertook to teach by the spirit. Of the former, there were "diversities"; (1 Cor. 12:4) and of the latter, two classes. The diversities in the aggregate made up the baptism of holy spirit, which was given for administrations and operations. These exhibitions of power were styled collectively "The manifestation of the Spirit". (1 Cor. 12:7) The powers were not given to any one for his own private benefit, but for the general use and benefit of the Body of Christ; as it is written, "to every one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the collective good"-- pros to sympheron . This is an important feature in the case. People who pretend to be the subjects of spirit baptism can adduce nothing else but their feelings which all terminate in themselves. No one is profited by any thing they pretend to have received. Not a single scriptural idea do they possess more than before their pretended baptism; nor have they a single power they had not before. They are as ignorant and perverse as ever, and as hostile to the truth when laid before them as pagans. Not so with the apostolic believer. When he was baptized with holy spirit, he acquired wisdom and knowledge which was advantageous to all who lacked them; he had the gift of faith by which he could remove mountains, if the good of the body collectively required it; he could heal the sick; inwork powers; speak to the brethren to edification, exhortation, and comfort, no mean accomplishment in an apostolic community. He could discern spirits, and so protect and warn the unlearned against the imposition of the false apostles that would certainly arise. He could speak the languages of the nations without previous study, and in them make known the wonderful works things the spiritually baptized could do for the benefit of those who were not so baptized, and of the Jews and heathen round about. Such a baptism as this nowhere exists upon earth in these times; yet every congregation of believers could glory in such an indwelling of the Deity among them by His Spirit in the days of Paul (Eph. 2:22). The want of this baptism is practically acknowledged by all "the names and denominations".
In the days of the apostles, the belief and obedience of the truth simply, constituted believers "saints"; but did not perfect them "for the edifying of the Body of Christ". (Eph. 4:12) The saints in general "occupied the room of the private idiotou " (1 Cor. 14:16) until certain of them came to occupy the room of the public men by the gift of holy spirit. This division of class resulted from baptism of spirit, which all were not permitted to receive ...
The case of the Samaritan brethren (Acts 8:14-24) clearly shows the prerequisites to a baptism of spirit in all cases save that of the apostles and the house of Cornelius. Before receiving the spirit it was necessary for the candidate
1. --To believe the things of the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ (Acts 8:12);
2. -- To be buried with Christ by baptism into death (ibid); and,
3. -- That the Apostles, or some inworker of powers like them, pray for the believer that he may receive it, and lay their hands on them (verses 15, 17; 1 Tim. 4:14; 5:22; 2 Tim. 1:6).
On the day of Pentecost the gift of holy spirit was promised to those who were added to the name of Jesus Christ by baptism. As they were about to return to remote places, where they would carry the gospel to Israel there, it is probable all the visitors to Jerusalem so returning would receive it, that through them God might confirm the word when they preached it. But though promised to all such, the cases of the seven chosen to serve tables (Acts 6:1-7); of the Samaritans; of Saul (Acts 9:17); and of the twelve at Ephesus (Acts 19:6 and 7), show that the divine appointment for imparting the spirit was prayer and the imposition of the hands of the Apostles, or of a presbytery of inspired men, or of an inspired individual believer, as Timothy. These elements of the appointment do not now exist among men. We have no apostles but false ones; and all the presbyteries, or leaderships, are uninspired; and there is no individual on earth the imposition of whose hands is of any value in the premises. A man must be a saint, and must have the gifts with himself before he can impart them; and then even if he had gifts, if among them he was deficient of the "inworking of powers" , (See Eph 3:20) he could not transmit what he possessed to others. Philip could expel unclean spirits, and heal the palsied and the lame; but he could not impart spirit-gifts to the baptized. The apostles had to be sent for to accomplish this.
Baptism of spirit, then, was only partially bestowed even upon the saints in the apostolic age. It was an outpouring of divine power upon certain of the saints having natural and moral qualifications fitting them for the administrative use of it. They were not only to be "faithful men", but "apt to teach", "able to teach others", "holding firmly according to the teaching of the faithful word, that by sound instruction they might be able both to exhort and to convince opponents"; and good rulers of their own houses (1 Tim. 3:2,4; 2 Tim. 2:1,2; Titus 1:9). Having these and certain other qualifications, they were considered eligible for baptism of spirit by prayer and imposition of hands. They must be saints first; for no apostle nor presbytery, nor inworker of powers, would lay hands upon sinners to impart divine power to them "for the work of the ministry". (Eph. 4:12) When the Laodicean Apostasy which now fills all "Christendom", as the heathen call their Babylonish system, came to be established, sinners laid hands upon sinners, as at this day, but notwithstanding all their prayers for the gifts and graces of the spirit, no other spirit comes into manifestation but "the spirit of error" (1 John 4:6) which strongly works in all "the children of disobedience" (Eph. 2:2; 5:6; Col. 3:6) -- the spirit of their own nature, "sin's flesh", in which "dwells no good thing" . . . (Rom. 7:18)
Saints, and saints only whose hearts have been prepared by faith, are eligible to the baptism of spirit. Christ ascended to the right hand of power that he might receive the gifts for his own brethren to whom alone he promised them. Paul, addressing the saints thus spiritually endowed, says concerning the gifts, "Unto every one of us is given the grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ"; (Eph. 4:7) the grace which John says came by Jesus Christ: "The law was given through Moses, the grace and the truth came through Jesus Christ". (John 1:17) In Paul's quotation from the sixty- eighth Psalm, he shows that by "grace" he has reference to the gifts of the spirit; for in the next sentence to that above quoted, he says, "Wherefore he saith, Ascending into heaven he led captive captivity, and bestowed gifts upon men". He then indicates the "grace" or gifts bestowed by designating the saints who had received them by the official names they then bore (Eph. 4:7-12). He styled these saints apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers; and referring to these well known spiritual, or spiritually endowed official brethren, found in all the assemblies of the saints, he says that the ascended and glorified Jesus "gave indeed the apostles, and the prophets, and the evangelists and the pastors and teachers"; that is, he gave to these who were first saints, the gifts he had received from the Father on his ascension to glory, called in Acts 1:4, "the promise of the Father", which he had said he would send the apostles while they waited for it in Jerusalem (verse 5; John 16:7) -- he gave these gifts, I say, to qualify them for apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. Now, were all apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers? Did all the saints sustain these offices in the body of Christ? No person intelligent in the word will affirm that they did. It is then certain that all the saints were not baptized with holy spirit; for Paul teaches that the grace was given "for the perfecting of the saints for a work of service for a building of the body of the Christ". (Eph. 4:12) The saints thus qualified were the builders Paul refers to in 1 Cor. 3:10. In this place he styles himself "a wise architect", who had laid the foundation for an edifice upon which others were building; to whom he saith, "Let every one take heed how he buildeth thereon". The saints in the aggregate were the building -- the temple built for the Deity to dwell in through or by the spirit. The spirituals among the saints were the builders of this holy temple; nevertheless the temple was "a building of God", (1 Cor. 3:9) "a house not made with hands", (2 Cor. 5:1) because all the power of these spirituals for the work of building was from the Deity, and consisted in the truth they taught which was from God, and which He confirmed through the gifts He had bestowed upon them; so that they "were labourers together with God". (1 Cor. 3:9)
We may remark here by the way that the holy temple these co labourers with the Deity were engaged in building in the apostolic age, has its holy and its most holy, after the pattern of the Tabernacle in the wilderness, which was "a house made with hands". The building of "the holy" resulted in the Body of Christ as manifested in Paul's day. This was "the heavenly" constituted of the holy ones, or saints, collectively. But "the most holy" is not yet manifested, nor will it be until the apocalypse of Jesus Christ in his glory. This most holy is "a house not made with hands, aionion in the heavens". (2 Cor. 5:1) Aionion , that is, belonging to the course to which the things which are not seen pertain. When this house is built (and the builder of all things is God), it will be constituted of those saints only who in the "present evil world" walk in the truth. Those saints, who since they became saints, "walk after the flesh", (2 Pet. 2:10) will be purged out of the flock, and will never be reckoned among "the most holy". Concerning these the apostle says, "If ye walk after the flesh ye shall die". (Rom. 8:13) This is the death they shall be subject to after their resurrection. They shall die out from among the most holy, and be swallowed up of mortality, being found naked. These are "the wood, hay, and stubble", (1 Cor. 3:12) which builders even in Paul's day built upon the foundation he had laid. The saints who shall constitute the most holy are "the gold and silver and the precious stones" (Rom. 8:13) of Zion, who, when the kingdom comes to her, shall be her foundations, windows, and borders (Isa. 54:11-13; Micah 4:8). The present house not made with hands is a mingled people, in which the faithful "groan being burdened; not for that they would be unclothed", or reduced to dust and ashes; "but clothed upon that mortality might be swallowed up of life". (2 Cor. 5:4)
But "the Day shall declare it"; (1 Cor. 3:13) the day when the manifestation of the work of the builders shall be made. "The spirits of the prophets were subject to the prophets" (1 Cor. 14:32). That is, the gifts called "spirits" could be used or abused by those on whom they were bestowed. If they were abused, or misused, in disorder and the confirmation of error, the Holy Spirit would be grieved. Therefore, because of this property, Paul exhorted the spirituals, saying, "Grieve not the Holy Spirit of the Deity by which ye are scaled for a day of redemption" (Eph. 4:30). But some did greatly grieve it, and went out from the apostolic community, and became "false prophets" (2 Pet. 2:1; 1 John 4:1; Matt.7:15; 24:11,24; Mark 13:22; Luke 6:26) or spirits. These became builders of wood, hay, and stubble upon the foundation; while other builders, whose teaching was scriptural, sometimes unwillingly placed on the foundation "false brethren", (2 Cor. 11:26) who "crept in at unawares". (Gal. 2:4) All this building work is unprofitable for the Master's use, who, when the day of declaration shall arrive, will be "as a refiner's fire and like fuller's soap"; (Mal. 3:2,3) for the prophet saith, "He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver ... But who may abide the day of his coming And who shall stand when he appeareth?" (Mal. 3:2,3) This day, now near at hand, will declare the work of all; because it shall be revealed by fire, and the fire shall try every one's work of what sort it is. "If any one's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any one's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss; but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire." (1 Cor. 3:14,15) Builders and the built will all be subjected to the fiery ordeal of the Divine scrutiny; and those only who can stand the searching examination will be saved. If a spiritual, or teacher endowed with the gifts, have built a thousand upon the foundation, and seven hundred and fifty of them turn out to be mere wood, hay, and stubble, he will only receive a reward for the two hundred and fifty jewels fit for the Master's use in the most holy "in the heavens" of the Millennial Age. This loss of his work, however, will not affect his salvation, if he be found to have held fast the name and not to have denied the faith of Jesus holding on to the truth, and walking in it, in the love of it. He shall be saved, yet so as by fire." (1 Cor. 3:14,15).
Baptism of the Spirit:In The Resurrection Era
(ii) IN THE RESURRECTION ERA
"The grace" designed for the saints, and purposed to come through Jesus Christ, was not intended to be revealed all at one time. The grace, or gift of holy spirit, was to be rained upon the saints at two different periods. The spirit in Joel shows this. "Be glad", saith he, "ye children of Zion, and rejoice in Yahweh your Elohim; for he hath given you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month" (Joel 2:23). The original of this text is quite remarkable. The Hebrew reads, "For he hath given to you the Teacher of Righteousness, and he shall cause to descend for you a rain; a teacher and a latter rain in the first month". This teacher hath been given in the person of Jesus; and the Father who gave him caused to descend upon the children of Zion, the saints, "a rain" when on Pentecost He poured out His spirit upon the apostles and their brethren. This as the substitute for Jesus guided them into all the truth, and showed them things to come. Christ is "the Lord the Spirit", "a quickening spirit"; (1 Cor. 15:45) and from him Holy spirit-rain came in the third month, or fifty days after the passover and crucifixion. But there is to be "a teacher and a latter rain in the first month". (Joel 2:23) That is in the month Nisan, or when the passover shall be fulfilled in the kingdom of God (Ezek. 45:21; Luke 22:15-18). The result of the appearing of this teacher in the time of the latter rain will be that the sons of Zion will "eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of Yahweh your Elohim that hath dealt wondrously with them; and his people shall never be ashamed . And they shall know that I am in the midst of Israel; and that I " -- the Spirit made flesh, and glorified, and so both Lord and Christ personal and mystical -"am Yahweh your Elohim, and none else; and my people shall never be ashamed " (Joel 2:26 and 27). But the people of Yahweh, political and spiritual, are now put to shame. Israel after the flesh is a by-word and a proverb; and so is Israel after the spirit, or the saints, who have been, are, and will be prevailed against by the enemy until the Ancient of Days shall be revealed in power and great glory. Joel's prediction, then, has not been yet fulfilled, and the latter rain of spirit in the first month is yet in future.
Now when it shall have come to pass that Israel and the saints are no more put to shame by their enemies, "the latter rain in the first month" will descend. For immediately after predicting that His people shall never be put to shame, the Spirit in Joel saith, "and it shall come to pass afterward I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh". (Joel 2:28) Peter referred to this prophecy of the baptism of spirit and said of the outpouring on Pentecost, "This is that which was spoken by the Prophet Joel". (Acts 2:16) It was "the earnest of the spirit", (2 Cor. 5:5) not the full measure of it; "the earnest of the inheritance", (Eph. 1:14) not the inheritance itself. Thus Paul saith to the spirituals, He that hath anointed us (or christened us with spirit) is the Deity, who hath also sealed us and given the earnest of the spirit in our hearts" (2 Cor. 1:21 and 22); and again, "In Christ also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance for a redemption of the purchased possession unto the praise of his glory" (Eph. 1:13 and 14). The remarks of Peter by no means limited Joel's prophecy to the third month of the year of the ascension of Jesus. Peter referred more especially to the Teacher or the Comforter, not to "the latter rain in the first month". (Joel 2:23) Joel's prophecy covers the whole ground in saying "he will cause to come down for you a rain"; (Joel 2:23) not a continuing rain for eighteen hundred or more years from the descent on Pentecost to the second advent of Christ, but a copious shower in the Apostolic age, followed by a long, dry time in which everything is parched up: and then, when this drought shall end, the "latter rain in the first month". (Joel 2:23)
The spirit-rain of the Pentecostian era was bestowed upon certain of the saints to qualify them officially, that they might exercise the gifts for the public benefit -- "for the building up of the body of the Christ". (Jude 20; Eph. 4:12) Paul tells us how long this arrangement was to continue. "Till", says he, "we shall come into the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God -- into a perfect man; into a measure of the stature of the fulness of the Christ." (Eph. 4:13) This limits the gifts to the above apostolic saints; that is to those contemporary with the apostles, but who may have nevertheless outlived them many years. He testifies to this effect very plainly in 1 Cor. 13:8, where he speaks of the cessation of the baptismal gifts of prophesying, of tongues, and of the word of knowledge; "Prophecies", says he, "shall be brought to an end; tongues shall be caused to cease; knowledge shall pass away". This was finally accomplished when the spirit spued the Laodicean community out of his mouth. The spirit-baptism was withheld because its gifts were abused, as every other good has been that has been committed to the guardianship of flesh and blood.
The body of Christ, whether considered under the figure of a man or a house, belongs to two states; to that before the resurrection, and to that after it. In its former state it has its infancy and manhood. In the days of the apostles the institution was in its infancy, childhood, and, in the time of John's old age and exile, manhood, being three score years and ten. During these years its administrations were in part, that part consisting of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers; so that the knowledge and the prophesyings were in part and not distributed to every member of the body. But in process of time that perfection came by which the body could sustain itself without baptismal gifts; and then "that which was in part was done away". (1 Cor. 13:10) The manifestation of the spirit being withheld, all that remained to the body, was "faith, hope, and love; these three; the greatest of which is love as defined by Paul in 1 Cor. 13:4-7,13 There was a manhood when the baptismal gifts ceased; and there shall be a manhood when we shall know experimentally even as we have known theoretically. This is the post-resurrectional maturity of the "perfect man", (Eph. 4:13; James 3:2) or body of Christ, every member of which will see "face to face". (1 Cor. 13:12) That which is perfect will have come in the full sense; and the members of the body will be none of them any more "children tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive". (Eph. 4:14) They will all then be baptismally imbued with "the latter rain in the first month". (Joel 2:23) They will be spirit, and filled with spirit -- a God- manifestation of eternal power; and thus they will have "grown up into him in all things, who is the Head, even unto the Christ". (Eph. 4:15)
The baptism of the Spirit, then, is peculiar to certain seasons or epochs, and not common to all times from the first to the second advent. These epochs are:
1. -- The apostolic age;
2. -- The resurrection era.
Between these two periods is a long interval occupied by "the times of the Gentiles", (Luke 21:24) during which the Laodicean Apostasy prevails to the almost entire suppression of "the faith". These constitute a DRY TIME -- a time of drought, in which spirit is withheld. In all this long series of ages and generations there are no gifts and no other baptism than that of water. The gifts answered their purpose, and then ceased; and nothing remained but "faith, hope, and love", (1 Cor. 13:13) the product of the word read and studied by the honest and goodhearted. Baptism of spirit was for confirmation of the word preached by the apostles; and for the perfecting of the saints who were to do public service. It was only promised to genuine believers, and they only received it; though afterwards some, turning out to be like Demas, betrayed their trust, and misused it.
When a believer was baptized with spirit he did not necessarily possess all the gifts. There were diversities of gifts which were bestowed distributively. That is, one might speak foreign languages by inspiration, but he could not therefore work miracles: still another might be able to work miracles, but could not therefore speak other tongues than his own. The grace was distributed according to the will of the Deity who worked or operated the all (all the gifts) in all who received them; while those saints to whom no gifts were distributed were benefited by the labours of those who possessed them. Thus, "prophesying served for them who believed"; (1 Cor. 14:22) for "he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort"; (1 Cor. 14:3,4) and "he that prophesieth, edifieth the church". (1 Cor. 14:3,4) Therefore, in another place Paul saith, "despise not prophesying". (1 Thess. 5:20)
Baptismal grace seems to have been distributed into nine gifts:
1 -- The word of wisdom; 2 -- The word of knowledge 3 -- Faith that removes mountains; 4 -- The gifts of healing; 5 -- The inworking of powers; 6 -- Prophesy, or the gift of prophesying; 7 -- Discerning of spirits; 8 -- Kinds of tongues; 9 -- The interpretation of tongues.
"All these worked that one and the self same spirit, distributing to every one severally as he would." (1 Cor. 12:11) The body was one thing, the members or organs of the body, another. To the organs of the body these nine gifts were distributed for the benefit of all the atoms of the body. The number of the organs in each ecclesia would depend on the size and necessities of it. The organs of a congregation of saints constituted collectively "the presbytery", (1 Tim. 4:14) or "eldership". They might be relatively many or few. By way of example, one congregation might have an eldership of nine, another of eighteen, and a third of twenty-seven. If the last, three saints might be endowed with the same gift; and three others with another; and so on. Or in another case, one saint might have a plurality of gifts, and thus fewer organs would suffice for a small church (ecclesia). Each of the thirteen apostles probably possessed all the gifts.
Baptism of spirit, then, developed the elderships of the churches (ecclesias) in the apostolic age; so that Paul could with great propriety address those who were constituents of them, and say, "Take heed, therefore, to yourselves, and to all the flock, in the which the Holy Spirit hath made you overseers, to feed the ecclesia of the Deity which he purchased with his own blood". (Acts 20:28) The spirit made them elders through baptism of spirit, and distributed them into orders according to the following ranks:
1 -- Apostles; 2 -- Prophets; 3 -- Teachers; 4 -- Powers; 5 -- Healers; 6 -- Helps; 7 -- Governors; 8 -- Linguists; 9 -- Interpreters. (See 1 Cor. 12:28)
These were those who had the rule by divine authority, and to whom the private saints, hoi idiotai , were exhorted to yield obedience, as to those who watched for their souls and would have to give an account. These were they to whom Paul wrote in Gal. 6:1, saying, "If any man be overtaken in a fault, ye who are the spirituals ( hoi pneumatikoi ), restore such an one in the spirit of meekness". These also were they who taught the brethren in the word, and were by them to be supplied with all good things; "Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things". (Gal. 6:6) And concerning them he says in another place, "We beseech you, brethren, to acknowledge them who labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; and esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake". (1 Thess. 5:12,13) "Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and teaching. For the Scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward". (1 Tim. 5:17,18) They were not to be lightly accused, nor rebuked. No accusation was to be received against them but under two or three witnesses. They were not to be rebuked by their brethren, but entreated as fathers; but if they sinned, and the offence was proved, they were to be rebuked before all by the proper authority, and not by every one that chose to be impertinent.
Collectively, these orders were the lightstand of a congregation, through which the Holy Spirit shone into the surrounding darkness of Judaism and Gentilism. They are, therefore, apocalyptically symbolized by "a star", (Rev. 1:20) the angel or messenger star, whose mission was to illuminate by making known the manifold wisdom of the Deity.
Such were the members, or official organs, of the Body of which Christ was the Head in the apostolic age, styled by Paul, or rather likened to, the foot, the hand, the ear, the eye, and the organ of smell, in the body natural . . .
Peter says, "the elders that are among you, the elect (1 Peter 1:2), I exhort, who am also an elder . . . feed the flock of the deity, which is with you, overseeing it, not constrainedly, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; neither as being lords over The Heritages, but being examples of the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away" (1 Peter 5:1-4). The flock was composed of "the heritages", each congregation being a heritage or clergy. The holy orders were forbidden to usurp lordship over these clergies; but when the apostles passed away, they disregarded their interdict, reduced the clergies to abject vassalage, and arrogated to themselves the title of "the clergy, or heritage of God"!
From these premises, then, it is manifest that the only real clergy of the Deity among the Gentiles extant at present are those possessed of "the more excellent way" than the best of baptismal gifts (1 Cor. 12:31) -- those in whom "now abideth faith, hope and love".(1 Cor. 13:13) Those who being in Christ walk in the truth are the only clergy among men recognized of heaven. All others are usurpers, impostors, and deceivers of the people; and to be stripped of the woollen garment they have stolen to conceal their wolfishness, by all who are loyal to the throne of the spirit of God. If the reader comprehend the spiritual constitution of the One Body in the apostolic age, he will scarcely be astonished at what he beholds in antichristendom. The Laodicean Apostasy of the third and fourth centuries was familiar with, and almost an eye witness of, the apostolic constitution of the body of Christ. The gifts and the orders which went together, were as household words with its leaders. When the Spirit "spued them out of his mouth" (Rev. 3:16) by withdrawing spirit-baptism, they still retained the scripture-phraseology in speaking of them, and claimed to be as much the holy orders as ever. But this is characteristic of apostasy and superstition . . .
Then from the premises before us the reader may perceive the utter impossibility of an apostolic organization of the saints at this time. There are no spirituals among them as in the beginning. By "spirituals" is meant true believers distinguished from other believers by being baptized with holy spirit as proved by its manifestations. In a certain sense, all the saints are spiritual as opposed to carnal, in so far as the word dwells in them with all wisdom. What we would express may be comprehended by comparing a saint with an unenlightened sinner. The former understands the truth, loves it, rejoices in it, walks in it, and thinks in harmony with it, and is therefore spiritual, or spiritually minded. The unenlightened sinner, be he "divine", "supervisor", "inventor", or "patentee", of human systems, crotchets, or institutions, is the reverse of all this. He is carnal, or carnally-minded -- which is death; a mere "natural man who receives not the things of the spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him. Neither can he know, for they are spiritually discerned". (1 Cor. 2:14) A congregation of saints may exist as the result of the word intellectually believed and obeyed. Such, is "a perfect man", (Eph. 4:15; James 3:2) relatively to this imperfect state. There is no need of baptizing him with the Holy Spirit for the confirmation of the word of reconciliation which was sufficiently confirmed for the purpose of God when He co-operated with the apostles. Neither is there any necessity for holy orders for his edification, exhortation, and comfort. This any saint intelligent in Moses and the prophets can now do. All that he needs in his sphere is order, not orders. A few unpretending, wise and intelligent brethren who have no by-ends and interests to promote other than the truth, are sufficient for the preservation of order, and the conducting of his affairs in the church (ecclesia). These are his five senses, which it does not require any special spirit-baptism to develop. As to those without, as he is presumed to be intelligent in all his elements, these are entitled all of them according to the rules and regulations, to say "Come", and to show men how to come to repentance and remission of sins, and to immortality in the kingdom of God. Thus, the means in existence are adequate for all the necessities of the saints congregationally; and for the taking out of those who remain yet unadded to the name designed to be for a people who shall execute judgment and establish righteousness in the earth.