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2. The Scripture representation is, that the Son of God did really abase himself, and become poor, for our sakes. But on the hypothesis now before us, the scene is changed-Instead of abasing himself
, and taking on him the form of a servant, he took to himself one who was nata urally in the form of a servant, and exalted the Man instead of abasing himself-Instead of being “made in the likeness of men, he raise'l a man to the likeness or dign ty of God -Instead of dying himself, he caused the Man to die to whom he was united.
It seems to have been the general idea; that the Son of God became united to the Man or human nature, that he might be in a situation to obey and to suffer. And yet, on your theory, it was just as impossible that he should obey and suffer after the union as it was before. Dr. Hopkins expressly says, that “this personal union of the Divine nature, or of God the second Person in the Godhead, with the human nature, does not cause or suppose any change in the former; all the change, or that is changeable, is in the human nature." [System, vol. I. p. 411.)-By Divine nature, or God the second Person in the Godhead, the Doctor meant the Son of God. The Son of God, there* fore, experienced no change, either in becoming un’ted to the Man or human nature, nor in consequence of this union - He was then in precisely the same situation in regard to obedience and suffering after the union, that he was before. What, then, Sir, has the Son of God either done or suf fered for our salvation ? And why will you pretend that he became united to a Man that he might obey and suffer?
3. If a mere Man, by virtue of a union with the Son of God, might derive such dignity as to atone for the sins of the world, it is evident that the same dignity might result from the same mysterious union between the sume Man and the Father. And as the Man Christ Jesus never spake of his union with a second D vine Person, but often spake of his union with the Father, the probability would be much in favor of the idea that his union was with the Father. If, then, the Socinians would only add to their theory the idea of a mysterious union between the Man Christ Jesus and God the Father, what would be the difference between your
Savior d theirs ? It is not in my power to discern that there would be so much as one shade of difference. The Man Jesus, considered separately from his union with
the Godhead, is perhaps as great on their theory as on yours; nor will you pretend that the Son is greater than the Father. If the Socinians would only annex that one idea to their theory, it does not appear that you would have the least ground to dispute with them about the greatness of the Savior, however much you might dispute about the number of SELF-EXISTENT PERSONS.-Be not, Sir, of fended at this comparison : my aim here is simply to urge you to inquiry, and to a thorough examination of your own theory,
ON THE CHARACTER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.
By the Holy Spirit is intended the same as the Fulness of the
HAVING stated to you my views of the Father and the Son, the Character of the Holy Ghost will now be considered. On this point the Oracles of God are our only guide ; and to their dictates it behoves us to submit with reverence.
You will not consider me insensible of my accountability to God in regard to all my writings: nor can you reasonably view me as having any interest to promote, aside from the promotion of Truth.
If your views of the Holy Ghost are according to truth, certainly there can be nothing for me to gain by advancing and advocating a different hypothesis : unless it may be for my advantage to expose myself to censure and reproach.
On the other hand, if my views are according to truth, it is as important for you, as it is for me, to understand and admit them.
Your having so great a majority of the Christian world on your side, is not sufficient to secure to you the approba tion of God. Be entreated to keep these things in mind, while you read and reflect on the important subject now before us.
From what you have already seen on the character of God and his Son, you have doubtless concluded, that in my view the Holy Spirit is not a self-existent Person. You
will now see, that in my view the Holy Spirit is comprehended in the self-existence of Jehovah, but without distinct personality. The terms Holy Spirit, or Holy Ghost, as used in Scripture, do not appear to me intended to express. another Person besides the Father and the Son; yet, to my understanding, these terms convey an idea of that which is of no less estimation. It is that in God, by which he is able to do good and communicate, either immediately,or through the instrumentality of other agents.
By the Holy Ghost, radically considered, the same is understood as by the phrase, the fulness of the Godhead. Yet the terms Holy Spirit, are, it is thought, most commonly app'ied to the productive, efficient emanations of Divine fulness.
The following phrases appear to be perfectly synony mous—The Holy Ghost—the Holy Spirit--the Spirit of God-the Spirit of the Lord--the Spirit of the Lord Godthe Spirit of the Father. That these are synonymous, will probably not be denied by any person well acquainted with the Scriptures. And should any one be disposed to deny it, the idea may be fairly established by comparing Scripe ture with Scripture.
My ideas of the Spirit may be better understood by a little attention to some Scripture metaphors, -God is represented by the metaphor of the natural Sun. “The Lord God is a Sun.” Then the rays of light and heat, which emarate or proceed from the sun, are an emblem of the “Holy, Spirit which proceedeth from the Father.” Like the rays of the sun, these Divine emanations of the fulness of God, illuminate, quicken, invigorate, and fructify:
God is also represented as a Fountain of living waters. If we consider the Fountain as in the earth, then the effusions or streams which proceed from the Fountain may represent the Holy Spirit. But if we consider the Fountain as a fountain of vapor in the air, then the showers of ruin or dew will properly represent the emanations of Divine fulness.
By the Holy Spirit, or the Spirit of God, is not, in my view, intended any one attribute merely, but all those attributes which are implied in the FULNESS or ALL-SUFFICUENCY of the Godhead.
Before an atiempt to explain those texts of Scripture which have been supposed to import that the Spirit of God
is a distinct Person from the Father and the Son, it may be well to exhibit a part of the considerations which have had influence on my mind in favor of giving up that opinion.
1. It has appeared to me inconsistent to suppose that the Spirit should be both a self-existent Person and the Spirit of a Person ; yet the Spirit is perhaps spoken of as the Spirit of a Person twenty times to its being once spoken of as though it were a distinct Person. There are indeed several instances in which the Holy Spirit is personified or spoken of as it would be natural to speak of a Per. son; but the number of these instances is much less than was expected previous to inquiry. And it is observable that the spirit or soul of man is also several times personified in the Bible, and spoken of as though it were something distinct from the man ; or as though the man and his spirit were two persons. Instances of this are perhaps nearly as numerous as the instances in which the Spirit of God is personified. But it ought to be distinctly noted, that when we have become habituated to the idea that by the Holy Spirit is intended a Person, the idea of a Persoa will immediately arise in our minds, upon hearing or seeing the words Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost. So if we had been taught from our infancy that the natural sun is a per. son, then we should think of it as such whenever it should come into view. This may account for its having been supposed that there is much in the Scriptures in favor of the distinct personality of the Holy Ghost.
In general, throughout the Bible, the Holy Spirit is spoken of as the spirit of a person, just as we speak of the spirit of man as the spirit of a person ; and in the same manner as the sacred writers speak of the attributes of God; not as distinct Persons, but as something of a Person, or in a Person, or belonging to a Person. The inspired writers speak of the Spirit of Man, the Spirit of God, the Spirit of the Lord, the Wisdom of God, the Power of God, the Goodness of God, and the Will of God.
We may also observe, that when God speaks of the Spirit, he says, “ my Spirit,”just as he says, “ my Power," “ my Goodness," &c. These and similar forms of speech, respecting the Holy Spirit, are very numerous in the Bible, and they naturally convey the idea that the Spirit of God is not a distinct Person, but the Spirit of a Person d.