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easily believed ; not seeing that, in this respect, the genius of the Greek language differs from our own.
But why, Sir, is the noun neuter ? And how did you know that it was neuter, but by the neuter articles and pronouns? Had masculine articles and pronouns been uniformly used throughout the New Testament, as agreeing with the noun, Spirit, would you ever have known or thought that the noun was of the neuter gender?
In some instances, the translators gave us the pronouns, agreeing with the Spirit, in the neuter gender, according to the Greek-" The Spirit itself beareth witness with our Spirit.”_" The Spirit itself maketh intercession for us.” Instead of itself, they might have said himself, as well as to have given us he, his, him, for it, its, &c. And if they had as uniformly given us the pronouns in the neuter, as they are so in the Greek, the appearance of the Spirit's being a distinct Person would have been nearly excluded from the Bible. And we should have as much reason to suppose that by “our Spirits" are intended Persons distinct from ourselves, as that by the “ Spirit of God” is intended a Person distinct from the Father. This probably would have been completely the case, unless we should have had some source of information, by which we should have been able to correct the natural import of inspired language.
This subject of the pronouns is not introduced as having had any influence in forming my opinion of the Holy Spirit. It was formed previous to any information on this particular. Yet, in my view, this circumstance corroborates that opinion, and is worthy of the most serious attention.
No person, in conversation with me, has pretended to deny the fact, that the pronouns in Greek for the Spirit are of the neuter gender ; and no one has given me any satisfactory reason why they should be translated as personal pronouns of the masculine gender. It is, however, possible, that you, or some other person, may yet do it ; but until it is done, you will allow me to consider the ar. gument in view, as of great weight against the personality of the Holy Spirit.
Some Passages considered, which have been supposed to sup
port the Personality of the Holy Spirit.
proper now to pay some attention to those passages of Scripture, which have been supposed most certainly to imply the distinct personality of the Holy Spirit.
1 Cor. ii. 10. “ The Spirit searcheth all things, yea the deep things of God.”
This passage has much of the appearance of favoring the personality of the Spirit. But if we candidly attend to the following verse, this appearance may disappear—"For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man that is in him? Even so, the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.” It is obvious, that the Spirit of God is here represented as bearing the same relation to God, as the spirit of a man does to the man. But as a man and his spirit are but one person, so God and his Spirit are represented as one Person.
Mr. Jones has quoted the last of these verses, to prove, in opposition to Arians, that the Spirit of God is essential.. ly God, as truly so as the spirit of man is essentially man. This text does indeed afford a conclusive argument against the Arian hypothesis ; but it also affords an argument equally conclusive against the hypothesis of Mr. Jones. It is on the ground of the comparison or parallel exhibited in the text, that Mr. Jones shows this text to be opposed to the Arian scheme ; and on the same ground it is as clearly opposed to his own, unless he would undertake to say that a man and his spirit are two persons. If he could make this appear to be true, then he might well argue that God and his Spirit are also two Persons.
Acts v. 3. “But Peter said, Ananias, why hath satan filled thine heart to lie unto the Holy Ghost ?”
Peter and other apostles had been filled with the Holy Ghost in a remarkable manner; and it was doubtless by the Spirit of God that Peter was enabled to discern the deceit and falsehood of Ananias. His lying, therefore, was really lying to the Holy Ghost. Ananias had doubtless
been a witness of the wonderful things which God had done, and that the apostles had done, by the Holy Ghost, or in consequence of being “ endued with power from on high," and for him, in the face of those manifestations of Divine goodness, wisdom, and puwer, to come forward with a lie or deceitful pretence to the apostles, was truly to “ tempt the Spirit of the Lord,” or to tempt the Lord to display the same power in his destruction, that had been displayed for the salvation of others.
Heb. iii. 7. “ Wherefore, as the Holy Ghost saith, Today if ye will hear his voice."
We have many instances in Scripture, in which it is represented that the Ho'y Ghost spake, said, &c. The words of Peter will explain the matter-"Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”. [2 Peter i. 21.] God by his Spirit or fulness taught them what “they ought to speak.”
2 Cor. xiii. 14. “ The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.”
This passage has often been urged with considerable con. fidence as a proof that there are three self-existent Persons in the Godhead, and that the Holy Ghost is one of those Persons. But a little attention to the natural import of the passage may be sufficient to show that neither of these ideas are implied. We may note
1. God is here named as a Person distinct from the Lord Jesus Christ, and Jesus Christ is named as a Person distinct from the self-existent God.
2. The text does not say, communion with the Holy Ghost,” as though the Spirit were a Person ; but “com munion of the Holy Ghost,” as though the Spirit were something to be received. We have a similar phraseology, 1 Cor. X. 16. “ The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ ? Neither the cup nor the blood of Christ is a person ; but a benefit, of which we may be the thankful partakers. The import of the benediction may be this, May you experience the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, by being made thankful partakers of the Holy Spirit, to sanctify, to teach, to support, and to comfort you forever.
The phrase “ fellowship of the Spirit,” is the same in the original as communion of the Spirit. This by Poole's Con
tinuators is explained to mean, communion among saints in the “grace of the Spirit.” [Phil. ii. 1.]
In our Savior's affectionate discourse with his disciples before his passion, for their comfort and support, he promised them the Holy Spirit under the title of the Comforter. The substance of what he said in that discourse, respecting the character of the Spirit shall here be brought into view.
“ And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever, even the Spirit of Truth.” (John xiv. 16, 17.]
“ But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things whatsoever I have said unto you." (John xiv. 26.]
“ But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the spirit of truth which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me.” [John xv, 26:] 6 If I
go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you ; but if I depart, I will send him unto you ; and when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment." [John xvi. 7, 8.]
“ When he, the spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth, for he shall not speak of himself, but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak : And he will show you things to come. He shall glorify me, for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you.” [John xvi. 13.]
Had we no other passages of Scripture, by which to de termine the charaeter of the Holy Spirit, we should most naturally be led to the conclusion that the Holy Spirit is a distinct Person. Yet, it may be asked, should we conclude that the Spirit is a Person independent, and equal with the Father? For throughout the whule description, is not the Spirit represented as subordinate to the will of the Father?
In these passages, Sir, we may contemplate the Holy Spirit as properly personified under another name, for the same reason that we personify the natural sun when we wish to give a striking and impressive view of its glory, utility, and importance. And yet there seems to have been particular care taken that our minds should not be misled by the personification. If you, Sir, will be at the trouble of removing from these verses the personal pronouns, and write neuter pronouns in their room, so far as
“ I will say to my
the original will justify such a change, you may find the personification far less strong than it is in our translation. After you have made this change in the pronouns, you will not find the Spirit more strongly personified, or spoken of as a distinct Person from the Father, than the spirit or soul of man is often personified, or spoken of, as a distinct
person from the man. Thus the Psalmist addresses his soul,
Why art thou cast down, O my soul? Why art thou disquieted within me? Hope thou in God," &c.-The rich fool is represented as addressing his soul as it would be natural to address another person soul, Soul, thou hast goods laid up for many years, take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry."
Moreover, there are several things said of the Coma forter, which naturally suggest the idea that it is not a Person, but an emanation of the Divine fulness, which is intended. When Christ had named the Comforter, he immediately explained—the Spirit of truth ; which natural. ly suggests the idea, that what he was speaking of was an efficient influence or emanation from that God who is truth. Besides, he said, “ The Holy Ghost which proceedeth from the Father ;" and this is the precise idea of emanation. But it does not comport with the idea, that the Spirit is an independent Person, co-equal with the Father. There is, however, still more decisive evidence to be produced.
These gracious promises of Christ, of the Comforter, were renewed to the Apostles after Christ had risen from the dead; and in renewing the promises, the personification was wholly omitted.
In giving an account of what Christ said to his Apostles between the resurrection and ascension, Luke in his Gospel states, that Christ said to them, “And behold, I send the PROMISE of
tarry ye at Jerusalem until ye be ENDUED WITH POWER FROM ON HIGH. (Luke xxiv. 49.]
In the introduction to the Acts of the Apostles, Luke brings the same thing again into view, but in a different form. After mentioning that Christ “showed himself alive after his passion, by many infallible proofs, being seen of the Apostles forty days, and speaking of things pertaining to the Kingdom of God," he adds, assembled together with them, commanded them that they
“ And being