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XXI.


ST. PAUL'S DOCTRINE OF THE ANOINTING.


Anointing in the holy Scriptures is either material, with oil, or spiritual, with the Holy Spirit. At his baptism Jesus was baptized with the Spirit, the first person in human history to receive this highest honor possible for men to receive or for heaven to bestow. For in the Old Testament, anointing was the official inauguration into three of the highest offices of the Hebrew nation — king and prophet (1 Kings 19:16), high priest (Lev. 16:32), and king (1 Sam. 9:16). These three offices were typical of a great personality to come in the latter days, called the Messiah, the Christ, or the Anointed One (Psa. 2:2; Dan. 9:25, 26; Luke 4:18). The nature of this anointing is foretold as spiritual: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me: because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings to the meek." Jesus of Nazareth appropriated this prophecy when he said, "This day is this Scripture fulfilled in your ears." This spiritual anointing being one of his chief credentials, the fact is recorded in John 1:32, 33; Acts 4:27; 10:38. But the astonishing fact that this unique honor may be shared by all his true disciples, however humble and obscure, down through all the coming generations, was not clearly revealed in the Gospels. It was one of those truths which even his apostles were not able to understand till they had received the anointing itself on the day of Pentecost (2 Cor. 1:21). Says Paul to the Corinthians, "Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God." More exact is Meyer: "He who makes us steadfast after he has anointed us." This shows the relation of this anointing to the development and stability of the Christian character. To anoint the eyes with eye-salve is a figurative description of that instantaneous purging of the inward eye of the film of inbred sin by the incoming of the Sanctifier, imparting the power of clear spiritual perception (Rev. 3:18). All that is said about the anointing as the privilege of all believers occurs very naturally after Pentecost. Hence the Greek χρσμα (chrisma) is not found in the four Gospels; and it occurs in the New Testament only three times, and all of them in the First Epistle of John: "But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things." — 2:20. In my limitation of "all things" to all spiritual truths, "necessary to life and godliness," I was once criticized by Gilbert Haven, editor of Zion's Herald. He said that my exclusion of philosophy and science from the "all things" was a needless limitation, since Christianity is the tree on whose branches all kinds of knowledge are found in perfection. There is a large kernel of truth in the criticism of my translated friend. The most Christian nations are the most scholarly, inventive, and progressive. Those who have the least of God's Spirit have the least intelligence. Many an individual. quickened by the Holy Ghost, has been aroused from mental stagnation to an inquiry after truth, which has led him through the whole range of biblical truth and its out-branchings into all the sciences and philosophies. The unction of the Holy Spirit is the highway to all knowledge. This is especially true of an insight into theology. Says that seraphic Scotchman, Samuel Rutherford, "If you would be a deep divine, I recommend to you sanctification"; i.e., the anointing.

In connection with the word χρσμα (chrisma), St. John explains the origin of antichrist. All who have the chrism, or anointing, know and honor the Christ, the anointed. "As long," says Dr. Whedon, "as we possess the holy chrism we will adhere to holy Christ." All who do not receive and retain the sanctifying chrism reject or abandon the Christ, and become antichrists, because of the absence of the enlightening chrism. (1 Cor. 12:3, R. V.) "No man speaking in the Spirit of God saith, Jesus is anathema; and no man can say Jesus is Lord, but in the Holy Spirit." The doctrine of the supreme divinity of Christ, revealed to the soul only by the anointing, protects all the other doctrines of the evangelical system. Hence the Holy Ghost is the only conservator of orthodoxy. The thumbscrew, as a substitute, is a stupendous failure, as is proven by the ghastly history of the Inquisition. The soft doctrines of liberalism creep into churches which do not honor the Third Person of the adorable Trinity, except with their lips, while their hearts are without his indwelling. Departures from him, whether new or old, are always departures from the evangelical standard.

1 John 2:27. "The anointing which ye recieve of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any one teach you: but as his anointing teacheth you concerning all things . . . abide ye in him"
(R. V., marg.). Here χρσμα (chrisma) of the Spirit is twice used with emphasis on his teaching office — of which we have already spoken — and his conditional abiding. He will abide in us so long as we heed the injunction, "Abide in him." When the Paraclete takes up his abode in the heart, he intends to stay forever, if the conditions are favorable. Neglect will obscure his brightness, weaving a veil of increasing thickness over his face; and unrepented willful sin will cause him to leave in grief, to return no more forever. "The sixth chapter to the Hebrews may affright us all," says Rutherford, "when we hear that men may take of the gifts and common graces of the Holy Spirit, and a taste of the powers of the world to come, to hell with them." There is no state of grace this side of glory from which the soul may not finally fall. Yet permanency is the peculiarity of the anointing in the case of the persevering believer. The presence of the Comforter in the sanctuary of the heart. filling it with light, love, and joy, strongly inclines the person to persevere. so that he may freely determine to persist in faith and obedience. Of those who truly receive this anointing, in the fullness of its illumination, strength, and bliss, few ever realize its entire withdrawal. We teach no antinomian anointing when we say this.

Another peculiar office of the χρ
σμα (chrisma) is that of sole teacher of certain facts, which it alone can assuredly certify to the exclusion of all other instructors. What are these facts? Adoption into the family of God, and the remission of sins. These facts the anointing declares so authoritatively as to supercede the necessity of any other source of direct certitude. The anointing also creates the soul anew, and makes it conscious of newness of life. Sooner or later, according as the pupil of the Holy Spirit is diligent in scholarship, the anointing imparts the more abundant life, and perfects the enkindled love by exterminating lingering carnality through spiritual circumcision. Then the anointing Spirit shines on his own perfect work in the consciousness of him who now believes with the full assurance of faith. On many other questions he may wisely consult teachers and books, and above all the Book of books. Here he will find marks of the new birth, and tests of his purity by which the testimony of the anointing may be confirmed. He will find directions how to walk in white through a world of pollution without defiling his garments whiter than snow, washed in the blood of the Lamb. He will find the Bible an infallible directory to eternal life. He will find in it a highway along which all who are inspired with "the higher life" walk; on which no unclean foot ever passed, nor lions, nor ravenous beast, only the ransomed of the Lord returning to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads.