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Olympas. Not as John was. But all those children who believe in the Lord, and who obey him, do enjoy in their hearts the Spirit of God. And sometimes they may be said to be filled with the Holy Spirit, because they have peace with God, and the love of God is in them, and rejoice in his salvation. Then they sing, and pray, and rejoice in the Lord.
What proofs are given of John's inspiration and sanctification, William ?
William. I am not sure that I understand this word inspiration. It is indeed said of John that he should turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord, and go before him in the spirit of Elias.
Eliza. What means this spirit and power of Elias? Olympas. What say you, Thomas ?
Thomas. Elias, or Elijah, was a bold, zealous, and holy Prophet, who preached righteousness and reproved iniquity with great promptness and decision.
Olympas. When did he flourish?
Thomas. In the days of Ahab king of Israel, about nine hundred and ten years before Christ. He reproved Ahab for his impiety and idolatry, and boldly opposed, and exterminated the false prophets of his day. He was finally translated to heaven, and was in this signal manner approved of God.
Olympas. The return of Elijah from heaven to earth was promised through Malachi to the Jewish people, and that prediction is verified in sending one of his spirit and power.
William. But did not Elijah literally visit Judea before the last end of that nation?
Olympas. Yes, he appeared on Mount Tabor, at the transfiguration, in company with Moses, when Peter, James, and John had a glimpse of these two greatest of men.
Susan. What means the word inspiration ?
Olympas. Adam was literally inspired by the breath of the Almighty. This is the origin of the term. Every one who received the Spirit of God as the Spirit of Revelation, was said to be inspired in the figurative sense of the word. But this is not said of any but the holy men of God, who spake and wrote as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.
Thomas. Might not those who now receive the Spirit be said to be inspired as well as they?
Olympas. They might, indeed; but not with the Spirit as the Spirit of a new revelation; but as furnishing them with the principles of divine life. God has promised the influences and consolations of his Spirit to those believers who ask him for this splendid gift. Christians need it as much as they need breath. A man can as readily live without breath as a Christian without God's Holy Spirit, animating and sustaining him with his continual aids and comforts.
What a mercy it is then, that, as without the Spirit of Christ we can do nothing, this unspeakable gift is tendered to all his disciples who ask for it sincerely and in faith. But hear we must pause for the present.
The first chapter of Luke, from the twenty-sixth verse to the end, being read, Olympas thus began:
In our last conversation definitions, rather than deductions, occupied our attention. Some questions of fact now come before us.
Who was Gabriel, William ?
William. He is called “ an angel of the Lord.”
Eliza. I know not how old he was. know that having been sent to Daniel once or twice, he must have been at least some five hundred years old at this time.
Olympas. How often is he introduced, or how often does his name occur, Thomas, in sacred history?
Thomas. Only four times—twice in Daniel and twice in Luke.
Reuben. He is called “ the man Gabriel” in Daniel; and as men are sometimes called angels, why may he not have been a man as much as Elijah, who is called an angel? I have thought that the spirits of good men are sometimes made ministering spirits; and why not, then, Gabriel one of these?
Olympas. He is distinguished as one of the heavenly host; and especially he says of himself that he stands in the presence of God. It is a pleasure for us to know that angels hare assumed
the appearance of men, and like men have their personal names.
Reuben. But their names end all in El. Their names, you say, are all personal: how comes it, that they end all in el?
Olympas. That is a new idea, indeed. Well, 'I will change my opinion, and say that El is their family name, and that all before that is their personal name. But how many celestial names have we on earth, Thomas ?
Thomas. With the help of the poets we have some four in common use. In the Scriptures we have Gabriel and Michael, and they have added Raphael and Uriel.
James. What does El mean?
Olympas. Then the family name is God; and Gabriel denotes “God is my excellency,' and Michael denotes “ One who has all," and so they are all functionaries of God.
Reuben. Then, as in earth, so in heaven, names are significant of relations and offices.
Olympas. To what town was Gabriel sent, James ?
James. To Nazareth of Galilee.
Olympas. You have not got the Family Testament, then.
Susan. I have. See here is Nazareth, a town in Galilee, about fifty miles north of Jerusalem.
Olympas. And how many inhabitants are said to be in it at this day, Susan?
Susan. In the Appendix to the Family Testament it is said that there are some two or three
thousand inhabitants, and the place is often visited by pilgrims, and is memorable for having been the residence of our Saviour some thirty years.
Olympas. Why did Gabriel visit Nazareth, Susan?
Susan. There was a virgin named Mary there, who was betrothed to one Joseph, a carpenter, and the angel went there to intimate to her that she should be the mother of our Lord and Saviour.
Olympas. State the names and offices which this wonderful child was to assume.
William. His personal name was to be Jesus. He is also called “the Son of the Highest.” He was to inherit the throne of his father David, reign over the house of Jacob for ever, and to have an everlasting kingdom.
Olympas. You will observe, then, that “the throne of David" and "the house of Jacob" comprehend more than the literal throne of David and the fleshy offspring of Jacob; for these are no more the peculiar people of God. But I will reserve this for a future lesson. I only wish at this time to mark the fact that Jesus inherits the sceptre of David, and is to govern the house of Jacob for ever.
To whose personal influence is the creation of the body of Jesus assigned ?
Thomas. The Holy Spirit, the Power of the Highest, or God himself.
Olympas. The body of Jesus is a creation of God, but the material is human flesh. God made but one human being out of the earth-our father Adam.. The Holy Spirit came upon him, and the power of the Highest overshadowed him. He fell into a deep sleep, and from a rib taken out of his side God created a woman. And now we have