Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

1

5

6

2

come from the four winds, Oh, "breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.”

The Spirit of God also is said to speak, which is another Toluntary action. The Spirit spoke to Peter and to Philip,' &c.

He is also said to lead: as many as are led by the Spirit of God”4 —to guide—“He will guide you into all truth” —to help—"the Spirit helpeth our infirmities"6 to hear_"whatsoever he shall hear that shall he also speak," and other things of the same nature.

Now it is certainly personifying too much if all these things are affirmed, and that in the midst of sober narrative or didactic discussion, of an attribute. Surely it is too absurd to gain the credence of any individual that an attribute should move itself, speak, lead, guide and help our infirmities.

2. The Spirit of God is represented as performing THOSE ACTIONS WHICH CAN BE PREDICATED ONLY INTELLIGENT PERSONAL AGENT. Thus, He is said TO REVENLỚ“as it is now revealed to his apostles and prophets by the Spirit"? —to teach--the Comforter shall teuch. you all things??? --to testify—“the Spirit itsel beareth witness!!! _when the Comforter is come, even the Spirit of truth, he shall testify of me??10--to receive and shew— he shall receive of mine and shall shew it unto you’!!!—to search-"the Spirit searcheth all things”:12. to have a mind_ole that searcheth the hearts knoiveth what is the mind of the Spirit”:13--to prophesy"--"He shall shew you things to come’’14ío intercede—"the Spirit maketh intercession for us,"15 and to know --sever

OF SOME

[ocr errors]

"11

1 Ezekiel, xxxvii. 9.
4 Bom. viii. 14.
7 Eph. iii.
10 Jobin, Ir. 26.
13 Rom. iii. 27.

2 Acts, x. 19.
5 John, xvi, 13.
8 Jolin, xiv. 26
11 John, wi. 14.
14 Jo'ın, xvi. 13.

3 Acts, viii. 20
6 Rom. viii, 26.
9 R. viii. 18.
1) 1 Cor. ii. 10.
15 Rom. vii.

so the things of God knoweth no one, but the Spirit of God."

Now is it possible that such things can with any shew of reason or propriety be said of an attribute? Would it not be an outrage upon common sense thus to personify? By what imaginable license of speech would any one venture to declare, that an attribute-the wisdom or the power of God for example, should reveal, teach, testify, receive, shew, search, prophesy, intercede and know? Knowledge is itself an attribute-one of those essential to God. Who can conceive that knowledge can with any meaning be predicated of the divine power, or even of the divine wisdom. Cod Himself is undoubtedly wise and powerful and omniscient, but shall we aflirm these things of any one of His perfections? Can power know? These are the mysterics--we should rather say the absurdilies, that must be adopted by those who reject the scriptural doctrine of the personality of the Spirit.

3. The Spirit of God is represented as OPERATING in such way as necESSARILY TO IMPLY THE EXISTENCE OF AN INTELLIGENT PERSONAL AGENT. Thus, He is said to work miracies--"through mighty signs and wonders by the power of the Spirit of God”? --to confer gifts--"to one is given by His Spirit the word of wisdom”3-to sancti14--"ye are sanctified by the Spirit of God--to give life--"it is the Spirit that quickeneth-to reprove"He will reprove the world of sino -to strive—"My Spirit shall not always strive with men.

997 Such are some of his operations. If working miracles, conferring gifts, sanctifying, giving life, reproving and remonstrating do not indicate personality, what can?

4. The Spirit of God is represented AS BEING AFFECT:

[ocr errors]

96

1 1 Cor. ii. 10, 11. 4 1 Cor. vi. 11.

Gen. vi. a.

2 Rom. xv. 19.
5 John, vi. 6).

3 1 Cor. xij. 8-14.
6 John, xvi. 8.

ED, AND THAT BY MEANS OF VARIOUS EXPRESSIONS WHICN DENOTE THE PASSIONS AND AFFECTIONS OF AN INTELLIGENT AGENT. Thus, He is said to be pleased "it seemed good to the Holy Ghost;" to be vexed "they rebelled and vered his Holy Spirit ;" to be gricved—'grieve not the Holy Spirit of God;" to be resisted-"ye do always resist the Holy Ghost ;''' to be quenched_"quench not the Spirit.” Can all these things be predicated of a mere attribute.

5. THERE ARE VARIOUS OFFICES ATTRIBUTED TO THE SPIRIT OF GOD, AND HE IS REPRESENTED AS OPERATING IN THE DISCHARGE OF THE SAME, WHICH ARE THINGS PERFECTLY UNINTELLIGIBLE AND ABSURD ON THE SUPPOSITION OF HIS BEING A PERSONAL AGENT. Thus he is said to teach: "But the anointing which ye have received of Him abideth in you; and ye need not that any man teach you ; but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him." By this anointing every one must admit is meant the very same thing with what is elsewhere called the Spirit of God. John said of Christ that “God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him, but in an illimitable degree, which thing in the poetic style of the Psalms, is represented by an unction from the Holy One, as an Apostle has infallibly declared. "Unto the Son he saith, God, even thy God, bath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows."! Whatever the Spirit of God may be, it is the same with the anointing which is said to teach. The Spirit also, is said expressly, or by evident implication in other passages, to teach.10 This is a work that is peculiarly attributed to Him, and may therefore be considered His official business. If the blessed Saviour is represented as teaching, and is thence to be considered as an official teacher, having been sent from God for this purpose, according to the true saying of Nicodemus,' so ought the Holy Spirit to be, for He is sent expressly by the Lord Jesus Christ to teach, and thence takes the distinctive and official title of the Comforter. Is the one is a true person, and if it is at all lawful to argue that He is, from the office attributed to Him and His discharge of its duties, so also must be the other. Why must we believe it mere personification in the latter instance, if it be not in the former? Every reader of the scriptures, who has not, by his prejudices or attachment to some favorite theory, been compelled to sacrifice his common sense, sees, at once, how absurd a thing it is to deny the real personality of the Lord Jesus Christ. Yet it is not more so than to deny that of the Spirit. Was the former an attribute of Deity, or some attribute making manifestations of itself? How utterly absurd! No mystery can be half as absurd ; yet this absurdity must be maintained by him that denies the personality of the Spirit of God!

1 Acts, Av. 28. 2 Isaiah, lxü. 10. 3 Eph. iv. 30.
4 Acts, vij. 51.
5 1 Thess. v. 19.

6 1 John, ï. 27 7 John, iii. 34. 8 Proof to the same effect is to be hrad by comparing 2 Cor. i. 21, 22, with Epli. i. 13, 14,---1 John, ii, 20, with 1 Cor. ii. 12, 9 llcb. i. 9: Psalm. xlv. 7, 10 Luke, xii. 12: John, xiv. 26:1 Cor. ii. 13.

The argument drawn from this souree might be amplified by a reference to another very peculiar class of effects wrought by the Spirit of God, which the sacred scriptures contemplate as pertaining to Him officially—we mean those connected with the sanctification of believers, on account of whose agency and influence in the production of which, they are said to "walk in the Spirit,, to be led by the to live in the Spirit,"4 to be after the

: Spirit,s to be in the Spirit,to be "filled with the

'' Spirit,'' to have the fruits of the Spiril,' &c.; but

we deem it unnecessary, as every reader can readily do it for himself, What mean such expressions, if there is no

2

Spirit,93

97

1 John, iii, 2. 4 Gal. v. 25. 7 Eph. v. 18.

2 Gal. v. 16.

3 Gal. v. 18. 5 Rom. viii. 5.

6 Rom. viii, 9. & Gal. v. 22: Eph. y. 16.

such blessed agent as the Spirit of God exerting an influence in and with the believer's efforts to lead a holy life? Why are they especially called “the temple of God,” and is it said that "the Spirit of God dwelleth in”l them when their personal holiness is alluded to, if there is no such Being as the Spirit of God, and that holiness is not an effect of His agency and influence? Must the phrase or phrases as above, be understood to mean the influence of human reason and conscience in opposition to the animal appetites? How then without violating an idiom of speech can believers be said to be "sanctified?And how is it that we read of "sanctification through the Spirit," though the personal holiness of the believer is to be attributed to some other than the influence of their own reason? Verily language could not have been more vague, or more calculated to deceive, than that which the sacred scriptures hold with respect to the sanctification of believers, if the influence of human reason is its source, and if there is no such Being as the Spirit of God.

6. It may yet be added that THERE ARE VARIOUS ATTRIBUTES GIVEN IN THE SACRED SCRIPTURES TO THE SPIRIT of God. Thus, Truth is attributed to Him, "the Spirit of Truth whom the world cannot receive" —Holiness also, whence he is called "the Holy Spirit” and “the Spirit of Holiness3 —likewise Goodness—“Thy Spirit is Good. “Thy Good Spirit”4 --and Grace—“hath done despite to the Spirit of Grace"'5 —and Glory—“the Spirit of Glory and of God resteth on you"6 –and Eternity—“who through the Eternal Spirit” --and Omnipresencewhither shall I go from thy Spirit'8 and Omniseience—"The Spirit searcheth all things." Can we suppose, without absurdity, that all these things are attributed to a mere attribute? Shall we personify the power of God, and in the

11 Cor. iii. 16: vi. 19. 2 John, xiv. 17, &c. &c. 31 Cor. ii. 16: Romi.4. 4 Psalm, cxliii. 10: Neh. ix. 20. 5 Heb. x. 29. 61 Peter, iv. 14. 7 Heb.is. 14. 8 Psalm, csxxix. 7.

) 1 Cor. ii, 10,

« PreviousContinue »