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George Smeaton on the Extraordinary Gifts


These extraordinary gifts of the Spirit were no longer needed when the canon of Scripture was closed. Up to that time they were an absolute necessity. They are now no longer so. Nor is the Church warranted to expect their restoration, or to desire prophetic visions, immediate revelations. Or miraculous gifts, either in public or in private, beyond, or besides, the all-perfect canon of Scripture. The Church of Rome, which still claims these extraordinary gifts, is to that extent injurious to the Spirit as the author of Scripture. And enthusiastic sects [e.g., the Montanists of the second century, the Irvingites of the nineteenth century and the Pentecostals and Charismatics of our day] that cherish the belief of their restoration, or an expectation to that effect, have not learned or duly pondered how great a work of the Spirit has been completed and provided for the Church of all times in the gift of the Holy Scriptures …

The presence of miraculous gifts in both dispensations served a twofold purpose. They were (1) an indubitable proof of a supernatural revelation from God to man in General (Heb. 2:4); (2) they were a reliable pledge as well as elucidation of the inward miracle of inspiration. The man who possessed them, that is, who was invested with what was in its own nature miraculous, and who gave evidence that he could at proper season reveal the future, was entitled with authority to say: "Thus saith the Lord."

When it is alleged that the restoration of these gifts is an unwarranted expectation, the answer is, they are no longer required. The closing of the canon has superseded their necessity and value, inasmuch as the Church possesses in the Scriptures all that they were intended to accredit and commend. Beyond the written word which was completed before the apostles passed away, the Spirit has no further revelations or immediate communications of the divine will to impart. The extraordinary gifts, limited as they were to the primitive Church, wholly passed away, because they were no longer necessary.

Source: George Smeaton, The Doctrine of the Holy Spirit, pp. 150-152.