Cummings Through the Eternal Spirit (1896) is a 25 chapter serious work on the Holy Spirit, 315 page work.
THROUGH THE ETERNAL SPIRIT: A BIBLICAL STUDY ON THE HOLY GHOST
BY JAMES ELDER GUMMING, D. D. FLEMING H. REVELL COMPANY Chicago New York Toronto
Publishers of Evangelical Literature
by Fleming H. Revell Company.
Taken from https://archive.org/details/througheternalsp00cumm/page/291/mode/1up?view=theater and reformatted for theWord.
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Table of Contents of Cummings Through the Eternal Spirit
By Way of Preface (below)
Introductory— Position of the Question. 9
I. A Catena of Passages in which the Holy Spirit is directly mentioned in the Old Testament. . . 17
II. A Catena of Passages in which the Holy Spirit is directly mentioned in the New Testament. . 25
III. Comments on, and Inferences from, the Passages cited, taken as a whole 36
IV. The Spirit in the Word 54
V. The Relation of the Holy Spirit to the other Persons of the Godhead, and to the Mediator. 64
VI. Teaching of the Lord concerning the Holy Ghost. 76
VII. Pentecost — What it Was, and What it Did 86
VIII. Pentecost in Relation to Former Dispensations. 91
IX. What Pentecost was for the Church 98
X. Pentecost in its Relation to Individual Believers Now 104
XI. The “Baptism of the Spirit;” His being “Received;” His “Falling” on Men; and Other Expressions 116
XII. The Administrator of the Affairs of the Church.. 135
XIII. The Spirit Glorifying Christ 145
XIV. The Secret of Sanctification 154
XV. The Fruit of the Spirit 164
XVI. The Love of the Holy Ghost 175
XVII. The Communion of the Holy Ghost 185
XVIII. The Guidance of the Holy Spirit 194
XIX. Obedience to the Holy Ghost 202
XX. The Anointing of the Holy Ghost 212
XXI. Power 221
XXII. Being Filled with the Spirit 230
XXIII. Temples of the Holy Ghost 242
XXIV. The Holy Ghost in the Mission Field 252
XXV. Offenses Against the Holy Ghost 2G6
Appendix I 277
Appendix II 281
Appendix III 297
Index of Subjects 307
Index of Scripture Passages 31
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Sample Chapter, Chapter 4
4. The Spirit in the Word
THE SPIRIT IN THE WORD.
1.”Men spake from God, being moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:21). This may well be made the motto of the present chapter; for I accept the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as an authoritative and God-given book; our teacher with regard to spiritual and eternal things, which is not to be judged, but to be submitted to, by men.
2. The book itself claims to be from God, in a sense in which no other book ever was. Nothing can be plainer or more startling than the appeal which the Lord Jesus makes to the Old Testament as the ultimate authority on every question as to which He quotes it. Recondite meanings which lie, not on the surface, but far beneath. He insists on as fully as the simplest declarations; truths which turn upon a word. He reckons proved as fully as the doctrine which pervades a whole book. Scripture (and Old Testament Scripture only it was then!) was the Lord’s weapon in every controversy with an adversary. And it was His appeal in all His teaching.
It is of Scripture, then, in both Testaments, that we are told the Holy Spirit is the real inspiring and responsible Author.
8. Here are some of the passages from which we
maintain that Scripture claims to be sent by Him through the medium of those writers whom He inspired to write it: —
2 Peter 1:21 (as to “prophesy” and “prophecy of Scripture”), “Men spake from God, being moved by the Holy Ghost.”
1 Peter 1:10-11, “The prophets sought. . . what time, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ which was in them did point unto, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glories that should follow them.”
Hebrews 3:7, “Wherefore, even as the Holy Ghost saith” (quoting the 95th Psalm).
Hebrews 4:3, “Even as He (the Holy Ghost) hath said” (quoting the 95th Psalm); verse 4, “For He (the Holy Ghost) hath said somewhere. . . on this wise” (quoting the book of Genesis); verse 7, “He (the Holy Ghost) again defineth a certain day, saying in David.”Hebrews 9:6-8, “The priests go in continually into the first Tabernacle. . . but into the second the High Priest alone” (quoting the book of Leviticus as to the Tabernacle services). . . “the Holy Ghost thus signifying” (by His directions in that book).
Hebrews 10:15, “And the Holy Ghost also beareth witness to us: for after He hath said” (then follows a quotation from the book of Jeremiah).
Matthew 22:43, “How then doth David in the Spirit call Him Lord?”
Acts 1:16, “It was needful that the Scripture should be fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost spake before by the mouth of David concerning Judas.”
Acts 4:25, “Who by the Holy Ghost, by the mouth of our father David Thy servant, didst say.”
Acts 28:25, “Well spake the Holy Ghost by Isaiah the prophet.”
Ephesians 6:17, “Take. . . the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.”
1 Timothy 4:1, “But the Spirit saith expressly, that in later times some shall fall away from the faith.”
2 Timothy 3:16, “Every Scripture inspired of God is also profitable” (ένγραφή θεόπνευστος, Compare John 20:22, ένεφύσησε καί λέγει, Λάβετε πνευμα άγιον).
If the question be asked, how far there is evidence that the New Testament writers claimed the same inspiration of the Holy Ghost, the following passages may be referred to: —
Ephesians 3:5, “Which in other generations was not made known unto the sons of men, as it hath now been revealed unto His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit.”
1 Peter 1:12, “These things which now have been announced unto you through them that preached the Gospel unto you by the Holy Ghost sent forth from heaven.”
1 Peter 4:14, “If ye are reproached for the name” of Christ (because of their testimony), “blessed are ye; because the Spirit of glory and the Spirit of God resteth upon you.”
1 John 2:20, “Ye have an anointing from the Holy One, and ye know all things;” and 1 John 5:7, “It is the Spirit that beareth witness.”
Revelation 1:10, “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day, and I heard behind me a great voice.”
Revelation 4:2, “Straightway I was in the Spirit; and, behold, there was a throne set in heaven.”
4. Accepting then, these varied declarations as some of our grounds for believing that the Scriptures claim to be sent and authorized by the Holy Spirit, we now call attention to the distinction between the inspiration of the men who wrote and the inspiration of the record itself. It may be compared to the distinction so familiar to lawyers, between the “intention” of an Act of Parliament and its written purport. No appeal is possible from the terms of an Act to a report of the debate in Parliament when it was passed. The judges who administer the Act know nothing save its terms. So is it in a sense with the Word of Scripture. What Isaiah meant, or understood, or thought he was saying, is not to the purpose; how he was affected is of little concern to us; we ask, what does the record say? The inspiration for us is that which lies in the book itself.
5. We say advisedly the book, though there are 66 different books included in it. For if there be one thing more than another which indicates the one Spirit who is responsible for Scripture, it is its unity. It contains one system of doctrine from beginning to end; not in every part teaching it with equal fullness, but everywhere in consistency with itself.
Its doctrine regarding God, one God, the unseen and spiritual, the Holy God, who requires obedience from man and promises blessing in Himself — that is the teaching of every part of Scripture. Its doctrine of man — fallen, sinful, corrupt, disobedient to God, and deserving of death — that is nowhere in doubt, much
less contradicted. Its doctrine of law — pure, strict, unswerving, unalterable, universal — that is found in every book and page. And from beginning to close, more or less clearly in every part, a way of escape possible for sinful man by a Mediator and a sacrifice of blood — that is embodied in all parts of the Word.
Such a unity is impossible if we confine our attention to the merely human side of the book and its authors, spread over 1500 years, and taken from all classes of society, the most ignorant and the most cultured. Such a unity is supernatural. The Bible as it stands is a miracle! Only on the supposition of one authorship behind the human authorship, of one Spirit inspiring many writers, is the book possible. Inspiration vindicates itself.
6. If it be asked. How is such a thing conceivable? the only reply I am concerned to give is, that it is in perfect consistency with what we not only know as a theory, but experience as a fact. I mean the unspeakably intimate relation of the Holy Spirit to the soul in which He is dwelling. Scripture teaches that He comes to the Christian to dwell within him, and that, at all events in Christians who are yielded up to Him, there is a continued presence of the Spirit in power and purity; yet so that it is impossible to say what line divides the self from the Spirit, the human from the Divine. And this is something of which actual experience is to be had. It is perfectly known. Not in vain does the poet tell us, “Closer is He than breathing, and nearer than hands and feet.” Just because He is the Divine Spirit, and because we are made in His image, and are
“created anew” in it, is this union a possible thing. And this explains, for all who know’ it, the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in those whom He used for the purpose of conveying His Word. In such cases there was a something more— a distinction more than one of degree; but the nearness, the communion, the intimacy of Spirit with spirit, so as that God was present in man, forms a perfect and an intelligible basis for our doctrine of the inspiring power of the Holy Ghost claimed for the Word of God in Scripture.
7. The Holy Spirit so inspiring the record presents to us the solution of many of the most difficult problems connected with that record, in the fact that all is known to Him, while all is not made known in it. The Bible is everywhere written as by “One having authority.” It is not founded on argument, and not justified by logic; but is a series of messages by witnesses, or by those who speak with as much authority as if they were. In the few” chapters where argument is employed, as in St. Paul’s Epistles, that is done for the sake of elucidation; but the teaching is rested on a professed communication from God. And almost everywhere we can see traces of a fuller knowledge than is given us. There is no attempt to remove difficulties, or to enter on self-defense. Just so much of a story is given as is needful for the writer’s purpose, and there is no effort to harmonize one account with that of others. Many parts, both of the Old and New Testaments, are (so to speak) in duplicate; and there is proof that in many cases the writers of the later histories were acquainted with some of those other writings which take up the
same ground. Yet there is no anxiety to piece together the parts of the stories told us; the truthful and simple narrators leave the truth to justify itself.
It was impossible for the Holy Spirit to have told all He knew; He must stop somewhere. Nothing is told in full. A certain imperfection was necessary because the Perfect Author was writing under needful limitations. Hence, century after century, as more light comes to us, we discern more and more a wide knowledge lying behind in the great Inspirer, which He has not made known, and could not make known, if He were to be intelligible to men of every age. It is, on an infinitely greater scale, like writing present-day science for children; how little can be told! How much that is known to him must be held back by the narrator! and how many traces will be found by those who themselves are acquainted with the subject, that he knows much more than he has said!
8. But there is another thought with regard to the Spirit in the book which must be mentioned. There is perhaps no other book which is dependent on moral conditions for being understood to anything like the same extent as this. An evil, impure, or selfish heart cannot comprehend the meaning of Holy Scripture. To express this in its own language: — “The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him; and He cannot know them, because they are spiritually judged” (1 Corinthians 2:14). There are certain spiritual elements in character, which a natural man cannot believe to be possible, and which, therefore, he sets down to pretense and hypocrisy.
The rewarding of good for evil, love for enemies, disinterested kindness at the cost of personal suffering — these things are deemed impossible. When a mission is begun in a heathen country it is often years before the people can understand the object which the visitors have in view. A love for souls is something unintelligible. So page after page of Scripture is dark to men who cannot see. And thus over and over again the message finds a limitation — “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.”
This is what is meant by “spiritual discernment.” The Spirit who inspired must interpret the Word. An irresistible evidence of His inspiration is furnished when He, dwelling in us, makes us understand it as we never did before. Indeed, it is through the concurrence of these two — the Word and the Spirit — that we learn. When they are separated, error and disaster are the result. And, alas! they often are separated, to the grief of many, and the darkness of many more. The Word, without the Spirit, does not yield its meaning, is as an ordinary book, seems full of mistakes and half-truths. Interpreted by learning, acumen, logic, study, alone we have all seen the results — in barren treatises, full of the pride and the error of man; lasting for a third of a generation, to be succeeded and overthrown by other treatises, going farther into darkness and nearer to despair!
But the Spirit, without the Word! That, too, is possible. A ship without ballast, without anchor, and without a chart! It has been the secret of fanaticism, folly, error, and sin. Beginning with devotion, it has
ended surely in rebellion. It has placed man in the seat of God, and has made the whispers of human fancy to be the only oracles that carry authority. There is no more certain forerunner of spiritual shipwreck than the neglect of the written Word of God. The Holy Ghost is — not honored — He is dishonored — by turning away from those teachings which He has Himself given to be the perpetual light and guide of men.
We assert and prize, as of inestimable value, the voice of the Holy Spirit in the heart, the “guidance” by which He still leads His own; but that voice never turns us away from the sacred page of His Word. We are deceived and deluded by a Satanic mimicry of His voice whenever we are so led away.
Which error is the greater is difficult to say. The one which takes the bare book, and has no teaching of the Spirit to interpret it, leaves us in darkness; the other, which cares nothing for the book, is led by an ignis fatuus, which ends in death. The undervaluing of Holy Writ has come, because men have read it with the light of their own candles, and could see nothing beyond the mere letter of the text, with its tenses and moods; what they need is to be under the influence of the Holy Ghost, and then everything is changed. But to assert that the “inward light” is our only guide, and that the book is but paper and print, is to begin a career which is as fatal to us as it is dishonoring to God.
The true and only safe course is thankfully to acknowledge the double source of Divine light, the Spirit in the Word! Whoever rightly grasps the thought that it is the Holy Ghost who has given us Holy Scripture,
and is responsible for it, in all its parts; who has used men as His instruments to indite it; has used their peculiarities, their idiosyncrasies, their poetic gifts, their logical acumen, their scholarly training, their stores of learning, even their weaknesses and imperfections; never so overlaying the human medium as to obliterate it as a conscious and intelligent agent, but always so guiding it in its depths, and even to lip and pen, as to make Himself responsible for the result — that man will know better than any how near, how dear is this Divine Person to us; how intimate and blessed is the communion we may have with Him both in the Word and in the secret thoughts of daily life. I am persuaded, too, that we are not done with the Word of God when we have closed the few years of our earthly course, but that that Divine work is a perpetual monument, which in other ages and scenes we shall still possess, and shall value more highly than we do now. It is a witness for God’s dealings in the past which shall be needed so long as the glory of God is dear to His people; one that contains very much that is undecipherable till the event has come. New meanings are possible for every book and page; books like Ruth, and Esther, and Ezra, seem susceptible of endless illumination; and I anticipate that after the Advent of the Lord one great part of the manifested glory of the Holy Ghost will be found in this Despised Book of Holy Writ. Meanwhile, it is the sole light which we have on the life after death, and the all but solitary light on spiritual things for the present life; and we are indebted for it to the Holy Ghost.
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