Imatges de pàgina


the love of God to be generally computed, that we may calculate or conceive the degree of it befalling any subject, and consequently his degree in the universe.

7, And this may serve to indicate another property of the Spirit: such degree being exclusively conferred by the same, and indicated by its presence as St. John observes,

Hereby know we that we dwell in Him and He in us, because He hath given us of his Spirit” (John I. iv. 13). Thus the first degree in dignity as in love is engrossed by Jesus Christ, being alone begotten, or naturally assimilated by the Spirit. By the same dignifying property we have for an example in the second degree John the Baptist who was held by all men as a prophet (Matt. xxi. 26), being endued with the Spirit before he was born ; in the third Moses and Samuel endued at an early age: in the fourth ordinary prophets as well as apostles : in the fifth others not altogether endued, but occasionally visited or inspired by it; as the fathers of Israel first, and subsequently some of the fathers of the church with perhaps some of later times, though they may not all happen to rank as prophets in their own country.

§ 2. As the way of the Spirit is repeatedly declared in God's Word to be inscrutable, except by the track which itself displays either in that Word, or in the spirit answering to itself (John iii. 8; Rom. xi. 33; Cor. I. ii. 11), one should be arrogating more than is decent, to inquire—and much more, to dictate thereupon beyond the authority of the Word; but by means of this a point or two may be illustrated, and the doctrine also confirmed, as for example,

1. With regard to the definition of Spirit, its being, or constitution : if it be generally named The Holy, we should beware of restricting its definition to the single property or attribute of holiness, as if the third Mediate of the Kingdom was only that which is so named-to wit a divine attribute ; instead of a divine Presence, or as we should say, Person: being a relation in which other divine attributes are perceived, though one may predominate; as

in the Word or more intellectual presence of the Deity some others. Thus in the intellectual presence wisdom will predominate or be most characteristic ; as in the spiritual, holiness aforesaid, --in that the knowledge, in this power of God: while God is truly presented in each. He is not present merely, nor merely represented in his attributes and the Person or Presence, whether more spiritual or intellectual, which they combine; as ordinarily a subject may be present in the most foreign medium, and represented by that which has no share in it; but literally PRESENTED, as a subject can only be in itself.

For, to explain this relation by a comparison or analogy: as in man every design supposes a power of execution, whether justly or not,—and without such supposition the place of design must be taken by volition, or at least by intention, which is rather less defined,- this power will be a man's proper spirit and latent life or doing, as shewn above*: but with God not only power and spirit are one, but power and design also more infallibly than with any creature, and execution likewise,- they are all one with each other, and with Him too by origin or extraction.

The term, Holy, therefore, can only be applied to this particular Type of the Deity, to mark the sanctity of its Presence, and not to limit or define its nature and essence. It is applied here, as to the Holy One; to the One God, who is pleased to reveal himself in the Medium, Type or Presence to which it is particularly applied, being rather a spirit than a person.

2. Then supposing the definition or general description of this divine Type or Person, the third Mediate, to be settled as above-doubts and difficulties suggesting different queries, as well as errors requiring notice with them, will arise on particular points or properties; as for example on the Impersonality or impersonal form of the Subject: which is questioned indirectly by those who assert a person of the same : seeing, THAT he cannot have otherwise

• Vol. I. p. 58; and Vol. II. p. 275, &c.

than by identification with the Word; whose person the church is collectively, and his temple-according to St. Paul,- as for example ; writing to the Corinthians “ Know ye not, that ye are the temple of God?"-or," Know ye not, that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost ?” (Cor. I. iii. 16; vi. 19.) Only upon this ground therefore the contrary attribute of impersonality may be supported. For if God were a person his Spirit could not be one alone: but God not being a person, as before explained, his Spirit cannot be one, of course, as not being any other than himself. “God is a Spirit :" and spirits are not persons. As Spirit means the same with life actively, or Power, Nature or Being substantively, in general; so its plural, Spirits, means the same with Lives, Powers, Natures, Beings particularly : these terms, or some of them being so used by the apostles in their writings (Eph. vi, 12; Pet. I. iii. 22; John I. iv. 1). Therefore no spirits can ever be regarded as persons: a man's spirit is not a person; an angel-spirit is not a person; no more is the God-Spirit, or Holy Ghost

- it cannot be a because there exists not another; but it is THE DIVINE LIFE, POWER, NATURE OR BEING SO PRE

And these expressions applied to God Almighty are quite as significant as his sacred epithet, The Holy Ghost: if therefore they—that is Life, &c. are not regarded as persons; why should these---the Holy Ghost or Spirit, be so regarded ?

Moreover, persons are generally understood to be born or created; and not simply to proceed from an indefinite beginning: but if the Holy Ghost be held to be born, contrary to “ the catholic faith” it may be asked of this as of the Second Mediate, “ Who shall declare his generation?” (Acts viii. 33) because he is believed to proceed both from the Father and the Son according to that faith; and then of which of these two Mediates, the First or Second, may he be supposed to be born or created in order

become a person? It seems very hard therefore, to reconcile the idea of a real personality in the Holy Ghost with this double procession, or with any other principle


indeed of sound reason. On such a principle, it will be necessary to ascribe this attribute of impersonality to the third Mediate as to the first and second originally; whatever person either single or collective,-a saint, an angel or a church, it may fill or animate in its outgoing or procession. While, for the authority of Revelation,-if the personality of the Subject appears to be asserted in the Gospel of St. John, it does not so in any other, nor in any epistles but his. There is one passage in the Gospel of St. Luke that may be construed this way, but will bear as well the opposite construction: v. g. “ If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him?” (Luke xi. 13.) For the verb that signifies to ask governing two accusatives, one of the subject and the other of the object in this sentence, the pronoun or representative may be indifferently applied to either; and “ Ask him” mean Ask the Father, as well as Ask the Spirit. And more authorities could be found in abundance making more than ten precedents on this side for one, if there really be one, on the other. Thus, when the access of the Subject which is the beginning of its presence, happens to be mentioned, it is most frequently by a material allusion, as for example the falling of the Holy Ghost on its objects, like the access of dew and rain outwardly, and inwardly of any spiritual affection. When Philip the deacon had baptized people in Samaria, Peter and John were sent to them from the apostles, that they might receive the Holy Ghost. “For as yet HE (falsely and inelegantly substituted for it in translation) was fallen upon none of them” (Acts viii. 16). Another time having been sent directly by a voice from Heaven to preach to Cornelius and his company, “While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the Word” (Ib. x. 44)“ coming down like the rain into a fleece of wool” (Ps. lxxii. 6), as said before of its correlative, the Word. But we should not talk of a person falling

like a tree on those whom he may happen to inspire with his sentiments, or coming down like drops of rain upon them. Indeed it is very questionable if there be ever any personal mention of the Subject in Scripture otherwise than equivocally as aforesaid, or else figuratively to suit some allusion, as it may be to his monitorial or consolatory offices for example. And if we were to speak of the Sun as a comforter, we should talk in the same manner of his, not its genial rays, invigorating influence, and the like; just as our Saviour mentioning the Holy Spirit in this light would say, “Howbeit, when he the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth” (John xvi. 13); giving the Subject a personal pronoun on account of the personal light, as Guide, &c., in which he is here represented.

So when the Spirit is represented as imparting the sense or meaning of Christ the incarnate Word to his disciples, if the Evangelist talks of his hearing and speaking (John xvi. 13, 14), two personal acts in which the process of intercommunication naturally consists, it does not follow from this either, that the Spirit must be a person; any more than it follows that Christ the second Mediate must be a thing, because he calls himself or is called by such material epithets as light or life, or what is more strange, as a rock or a stone; to say nothing of the Word itself, which he presents. And, not to pursue any farther the elucidation of a point that would seem almost self-evident; of the existence of the Holy Spirit a man may be as satisfied as of his own : he may revere it as much as another; may long for it, pray for it, depend on it, and delight to think of it: but God forbid, that at the same time he should ever so much as in his secret imagination divide the hallowed stream of its existence from the adorable Fountain by any positively personal distinction !

3. And not only with regard to the form now explained, but with regard also to the Measure and mode of this presence one (sceptically inclined) may ask, Whether is

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