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The Dispensation of the Spirit.

The Dispensation of the Spirit.

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Published by glennpease
BY REV. JOSIAH D. SMITH, D. D.,


John vii. 39. — But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that
believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet
given, because that Jesus was not yet glorified.
BY REV. JOSIAH D. SMITH, D. D.,


John vii. 39. — But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that
believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet
given, because that Jesus was not yet glorified.

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Published by: glennpease on Sep 17, 2013
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09/19/2013

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THE DISPESATIO OF THE SPIRIT.BY REV. JOSIAH D. SMITH, D. D.,John vii. 39. — But this spake he of the Spirit, which they thatbelieve on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yetgiven, because that Jesus was not yet glorified.In its most general aspect, this passage suggests the idea thatGod, in saving men, works according to a plan. There is order,sequence, dependence in his working. He does one thing, ra-ther than another ; and at a certain time, rather than before orafter. In his own infinite and eternal mind, there is no suchthing as the succession of ideas, or the discovery of truth bylogical processes ; but when the thoughts of God come forth inrevelation and accomplishment, in the experience of man andthe salvation of the church, there is observed a logical relationof the parts, and a successive development, in time, of the DivineMind, which show that the whole work of redemption proceedsaccording to a perfect and eternal plan. " The History of Re-demption," as President Edwards names the actual unfoldingof this plan, in the calling, gathering, and sanctification of thechurch, is as much more orderly, and — so to speak — more pro-foundly philosophical, than any other histoiy, as the church isthe object of God's more special care and immediate control — infact, the workmanship of his own hands.16*174 TRUTH I LOVE. [Ser.That such a plan exists, binding all Divine acts and humanevents connected with the salvation of men in one great economy,and requiring them to occur in a certain consecutive order, isindicated in the clearest manner by the two Testaments, the Oldand the ew, which reveal the will of Grod, and record the gra-dual accomplishment of his purpose. The Old naturally and
 
necessarily precedes the ew : the ew is required to fulfil anddevelop the Old. The one is the primarj^ school-book, which thechurch studied in its childhood, under tutors and governors.It contained "the rudiments" of Divine knowledge, milk forbabes : the ew unfolds the higher mysteries of the kingdomof heaven, and carries its disciples "on to perfection."This settled plan appears also in the different, successive, andimproving dispensations under which the covenant of grace hasbeen administered. The patnarchal, with its scanty revelations,and simple worship, and pilgrim life, was, at the Exodus, andin Canaan, merged in the Jeicish^ which was characterized by acomplete, and even cumbrous system of rites and laws, "im-posed until the time of reformation, ' ' when Christ came, fulfillingthe law, bringing in a "better covenant," and setting up theChristian dispensation^ under which the kingdom of God is toexist, and grow, and be purified, until the church militant shall,be swallowed up in the church triumphant, and all means of grace and ordinances of worship shall be displaced and madeunnecessary by the presence of Jesus, and the fulness of an' ' eternal redemption. ' 'Another remarkable indication of the Divine plan, of whichthe history of the church is the visible evolution, is the mannerin which the Persons of the Godhead come forward on the sceneof revelation and of action. Under the Old Testament, the mys-tery of the holy Trinity was but obscurely revealed, while the\\XI.] THE DISPESATIO OF THE SPIRIT. 175unity of the Grodhead is set forth in great prominence : and as,in the economy of redemption, the Father represents and actsfor the Godhead, we may regard the Old Testament as in some
 
sense the dispensation of the Father. It was long, obscure,preparatory. At its close, the Son became incarnate, and theperiod of his earthly sojourn was the dispensation of the secondPerson of the adorable Godhead. It was very short, but thegreatest events of the world's history were crowded into it. Theatoning death of Je^us Christ was the culminating point of all previous history, and the poin4 of departure for all that is yetto come. In the thirty-three years of his humiliation, Jesus didmore for the world's salvation than had been achieved in thefour thousand that preceded — much as that was, and of indis-pensable necessity. What the period lacked in mere chrono-logical duration, is more than compensated by the magnitude of its events, and the rapidity with which the scheme of grace ad-vanced towards its consummation. Having done all that wasassigned him, — all that in his humiliation it was possible forhim to do, the Son returned to his glory, and the Spirit is re-vealed in the Divine personality of his nature and the abundantgrace of his mission. How long his "ministration" will con-tinue is unknown to men. All that is revealed is, that it willcontinue till the mystery of God is finished, and the purchasedredemption applied to all the saved. In exhibiting the work of the Spirit in its connexion with that of the Son, and the Fa-ther, and as having an appointed place in the order of eventsand of time, in the progress of human salvation, the text givesus a theme of meditation both interesting and practical, and inevery respect of the highest importance.The form of truth it presents, is the previous withholding andthe present bestowment of the Holy Spirit. "But this spake176 TRXJTH I LOVE. [Ser.he of tlie Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive ;for the Holy Grhost was not yet given ; because that Jesus wasnot yet glorified."1. The statement that " The Holy Ghost was not yet given,"covers the whole period of the Old Testament dispensation, and

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