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* The Holy Ghost,” it is said by trinitarians, “is distinctly spoken of as coming, testifying, receiving, showing, teaching, hearing, speaking, &c. all of which evidently imply personal agency."
Time, we reply, is distinctly spoken of as coming (Luke ix. 51) and prayers and alms (Acts x. 4.) A song is distinctly spoken of as testifying (Deut. xxxi. 21.) and the pride of Israel (Hos. V. 5.) The heavens are distinctly spoken of as receiving (Acts iii. 21.) and the earth (Gen. iv, 11.) H these words “imply personal agency," then are time, prayers, alms, &c. persons. One, who does not understand that according to the common use of language such offices are predicable of things inanimate, may, by turning to a concordance, find applied to things never suspected to possess a personal existence, the same words, on which, when applied to the Holy Spirit, the proof of its personality is founded.
This is not trifling, but a sober unexceptionable answer to an argument seriously urged. By such reasoning as this is a doctrine of such moment (if it were true) as that of the trinity, defended..
There are three texts of principal note, in which divine attributes are thought to be ascribed to the Spirit in such manner as to lead to the belief of its having a distinct personal existence, viz. Psalm cxxxix. 7. 1 Cor. xii. 11. Heb. ix. 14.
I. Omnipresence is thought to be ascribed to a person called the Spirit in Ps. cxxxix. 7. * Whither shall I go from thy Spirit, or whither shall I flee from thy presence ?"
Who is so blind with system as not to see that by the spirit of God, is meant here the mind of God, or God himself, according to the same use of the word spirit as in 1 Cor. xvi. 18. “They have refreshed my spirit and yours," i. e. they have refreshed me and
Gal. vi. 18. “ The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit," i. e. be with you. 1 Cor. ii. 11. « What man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of a man that is in him," i. e. the MAN HIMSELF. 1 Sam. xx. 4. What. ever thy soul desireth, I will even do it for thee." Jer. xiv. 19. “ Hath thy soul loathed Zion;" evidently the same as, hast thou loathed Zion. And the holy psalmist himself explains in the following verse, that this is the sense in which he uses the phrase, for he goes on to say, “ If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there; if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there."
The same thing is affirmed in verse 7th, of God's presence, and in verse 10th of his hand, and his right hand, which is declared
* The apostle goes on: “ Even so the things of God knoweth no one but the spirit of God.” Coless we will maintain that the spirit of a man is a different person from that man, we inust (if we allow any propriety in the analogy pointed out by the apostle,) grant that the Spirit of God is not a different person from God.
in verse 7th of his spirit, viz. that they reach throughout the universe. If then his spirit is proved by this passage to be a distinct divine person, his presence, &c. are equally proved to be so. The argument favours the existence of three other divine persons, in the same degree as it teaches the personality of the Spirit.
II. The power of willing is understood to be ascribed to the Spirit, 1 Cor. xii. 11. 66 All these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will;" and thence it is argued that the Spirit is a person.
The reader of the New Testament in the original, need not be informed that the proper rendering of the last clause in this passage is by the neuter pronoun; “dividing to every man severally as it will." It is thus rendered by Wakefield. The context shows, that spiritual gifts are the subject of the apostle's discourse. There is nothing to lead one to the idea, that a person is spoken of, except the supposed ascribing of the faculty of volition to the Spirit. The argument then is this:
Only a person can be said to will.
The major proposition,—that only a person can be said to will,-is indefensible.
By a figurative, but common and intelligible use of language, the will, in strictness of speech exerted by the agent, is predicated of the instrument. We should not think the phraseology peculiar, if it were said that the sword of the Lord slays whom it will, his eyes look where they will, his feet go where they will, his hand does what it will, &c. ; nor should we conclude thence; that his sword, his eyes, his feet, and hand were persons. When his Spirit is said then to distribute as it will, why, for the sake of explaining a form of language so familiar, 'should we resort to the bold hypothesis of introducing a new person into the Godhead? The flesh is said to have a will, (John i. 13.) In John iü. 8., the wind is said to blow 6 where it listeth.” Is the wind a thinking agent? The last clause of James iii. 4. literally translated, is, “ Whither soever the impulse or the will of the governor listeth.” Is the impulse or will of the governor therefore a person? 1 Pet. iii. 17., literally rendered, reads thus: “It is better if the will of God will.” Is the will of God a separate person? No more then can this be affirmed of the Spirit of God.
III. Eternal existence is understood to be ascribed to the Spirit in Heb. ix. 14. “ The blood of Christ who, through the eternal Spirit, offered himself without spot unto God." &c. It is hence inferred, that the Spirit is a divine person.
Wakefield, we cannot find on what authority, reads duwuov (spotless) for aiuviou (eternal.) There is considerable weight of evidence to show that aizbov (holy) and not alwviou, was the original word used by the apostle. But granting, as on the whole seems probable, that the text ought to stand as in the common version, we do not find much speciousness in the argument by which the personality of the Spirit is inferred from it. The reasoning is merely this ; that to nothing but a person, is eternity ascribed in scripture. The Spirit therefore, having eternity ascribed to it, must be a person. Now the fact is manifestly otherwise. Nothing is more common in scripture than to predicate eternal existence of the attributes of God, and of inanimate things. The divine
purpose are said to be eternal, (Rom. i. 20. Eph. iii. 11.) Eternal redemption, (Heb. ix. 12.) The hills and mountains are called everlasting ; (Gen. xlix. 26. Hab. iii. 6.) and the gospel (Rev. xiv. 6.) God's righteousness is called everlasting, (Ps. cxix. 142.) his kindness, (Isai. liv. 8.) his love. (Jer. xxxi. 3.) His salvation, (Is. li. 8.) his throne, (Lam. v. 19.) his dominion, (Dan. iv. 3.) and his mercy, (Luke i. 50.) are from generation to generation. His faithfulness, (Ps. Ixxxix. 1.) his truth, (Ps.c. 5.) his remembrance, (Ps.cii. 12.) and his years (Ps. cii. 24.) are to all generations. If then God's power, purpose, &c. are not proved, by being called eternal, to be separate persons, neither is his Spirit.
Our Lord is said to have offered himself through or by the eternal Spirit. By this should we not understand by the eternal mind, the eternal will, counsel, purpose, i. e. of God ;-a sense in which the expression would be equivalent with that in Acts ii. 23. iii. 18. and iv. 28. This explanation is fortified by the consideration that the apostle, in this passage, is comparing the priestly oflice of Christ with that of the priests of the temple, who presented their offerings according to the temporary appointment of God, “ for the time then present," “ until the time of reformation." (vv. 9, 10.)
We conclude by submitting two questions to the consideration of our readers.
The Holy Spirit, in the passage where it is most strikingly personified, (John xvi. 13.) is said not to speak of himself, but to speak whatsoever he shall hear. It is said to make intercession, (Rom. viii, 26.) It is represented (Gal. iv. 6.) as paying reverence to the Father. These representations are inconsistent with the orthodox doctrine of its personality and equality with the Father. When we refer to texts, which show the inferiority of the Son, we are answered, that they allude to the Son when clothed in human nature. Now it is not pretended, that the third person in the Deity ever took on him human nature. By
what use of language then, if a person equal with the Father, is he represented by the sacred writers'as the Father's instrument and inferior?
Once more; if the Holy Spirit were, properly speaking, a distinct person from the Father and Son, yet God equally with them, how could our Lord have said, (Matthew xi. 27.) “No one knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any one the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal bim." How could he have said, (John xvii. 3.) “ This is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent,” and omit all allusion to one, who, equally with his Father and himself, had the government of the world and the disposal of the final destiny of men? How could he have said, (Matt. xxiv. 36.) “Of that day and hour knoweth no one, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only," if besides the Father, there were two omniscient persons ? For if, consistently with the trinitarian hypothesis, this might be said of the Son while dwelling in the flesh, the mind of the Spirit at least was never obscured by participation in human frailty. Why, when he represents himself as coming “in his glory, and all the holy angels with him” to reward those “ blessed of his Father,” is the Holy Ghost not named; and why in none of the enumerations in scripture of all in heaven, and all in earth, is no express mention made of a Being of such importance as a person in the Godhead ?
SPANISH INQUISITION. We have probably heard at last of the final suppression of this infamous tribunal. A history of it by M. Llorente, published a short time since, was mentioned in the last volume of the Christian Disciple, p. 237. According to the statements in this work, it appears that from the year 1452 to 1808, 31,718 persons had, in consequence of its decrees, been burnt to death; 17,411, who had either perished in prison or effected their escape, had been burnt in eifigy; and 287,622 others had been condemned to different severe punishments, such as whipping and imprisonment.--See Bertholdt's Kritisches Journal, B. 8. s. 332.
New Series-vol. II.
CHARACTER OF THE SCRIPTURES. The following passage is from Mr. Burke; and is one specimen of those general remarks, full of wisdom, which were thrown off by his powerful mind whenever it was in action, and which are to be found scattered every where in his writings.
“ The Scripture is no one summary of doctrines regularly digested, in which a man could not mistake his way; it is a most venerable, but most multifarious collection of the records of the divine economy, a collection of an infinite variety of cosmogony, theology, history, prophecy, psalmody, morality, apologue, allegory, legislation, ethics, carried through different books, by different authors, at different ages, for different ends and purposes.
“ It is necessary to sort out what is intended for example, what only as narrative; what is to be understood literally, what figuratively; where one precept is to be controlled and modified by another; what is used directly, and what only as an argument ad hominem; what is temporary, and what of perpetual obligation; what appropriated to 'one set or one state of men, and what the general duty of Christians.”
The following passage, distinguished by interesting description and truth and tenderness of sentiment, is from Bright's Travels in Hungary (pp. 133—136.) Many of our readers may recollect that the account of one incident contained in it, has been already quoted in a work deservedly popular.
“ I now explained to my conductor, that he must drive me to the post-house; but when I got there, the whole yard was full of people, and I learned that the post-master, having lost his wife, was on the point of following her corpse. This, I plainly saw, would put a stop to my journey for the day, and I did not feel much disappointed, as it afforded me an opportunity of attending a ceremony which no one ought to neglect in a foreign country. After three priests, with crosses and incense boxesfollowed by the coffin, and accompanied by a numerous train of mourners and boys with wax lights—had moved with solemn singing towards the burying-place, I went quickly to the inn, dismissed my waggon, and joined the procession. The place of burial was considerably elevated, at the distance of half a mile from Léva,-a solitary spot of ground, adorned only by crosses raised by the hands of affection over departed friends. As the body was laid in the ground, I thought I perceived more emotion in the spectators than usual. The rite being performed, the assembly separated during the performance of a solemn chant. The greater part retired to a still higher ground covered with vineyards,