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allowed, I think, it is impossible to prove the Father or the Son to be a Person, any other way than we may prove the Holy Ghost to be a Person: for he to whom all personal properties, attributes, and operations are ascribed, and to whom nothing is ascribed but what properly belongs to a person, he is a person; and so are we taught to believe him to be. Thus we know the Father to be a person, and the Son also; for our knowledge of things is more by their properties than by their essential forms. Now I shall confirm the assumption of this argument, not so much by any particular testimony, nor by the ascription of any single personal property to him, as by the constant uniform tenor of Scripture, in ascribing all these properties to him; and there is no personal property belonging to the divine nature that is not in one place or other ascribed to him.
If a wise and honest man should tell you, that in a certain country where he has been, there is an excellent governor, who wisely discharges the duties of his office; who hears causes, distributes justice, and comforts the distressed,-would you not believe that he intended by this description, a righteous, wise, intelligent person?— What else could any man living imagine? But now suppose, that a stranger, or person of suspicious character, should come and say that the former information was indeed true, but that no man or person was intended, but that the sun or the wind, which, by their benign influences, rendered the country fruitful and temperate, and disposed the inhabitants to mutual kindness; and, therefore, that the whole description of a governor was merely figurative, -must you not conclude, either that the first person was a notorious trifler, or that your latter informer, whose veracity you had reason to suspect, had endeavoured to abuse both him and you? It is exactly thus in the case before us. The scripture tells us that the Holy Ghost governs the Church; appoints overseers of it,-discerns and judges all things,-comforts the faint,-strengthens the weak,-is grieved and provoked by sin; and that in these, and many other affairs, he orders and disposes all things according to his own will. Can any man credit this testimony, and conceive otherwise of the Spirit than as a holy, wise, intelligent person? Now, while we under the power of these apprehensions, there come to us
some men whom we have just cause to suspect, and they tell us that what the Scripture says of the Holy Spirit is indeed true, but that no such person is intended by these expressions, but only a quality or influence of divine power, which doeth all these things figuratively;-that he has a will figuratively, and understanding figuratively,is sinned against figuratively, and so of all that is said of him. Now, what can any man, not bereft of natural reason as well as spiritual light, conclude, but either that the Scripture designed to draw him into fatal errors, or that those who impose such a sense upon it are corrupt seducers, who would rob him of his faith and comforts? Such will they at least appear to be. I now proceed to confirm the argument proposed.
1. All that is necessary to this purpose is comprised in the form of Christian baptism. Our Lord commands his apostles to disciple all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.' Now, all will allow that the Father and the Son are distinct persons ;-but what confusion must it introduce to add to them, and to join equally with them, as to all the concerns of faith and obedience, the Holy Spirit, if he be not a divine person!—and, if he be a person, but not divine, then this is to assign the same honour to a creature as to God, which is detestable idolatry !—and if he be not a person, but a virtue or quality in God, what sense can any man make of the words?
Besides, whatever is ascribed to the other persons, is equally ascribed to him;-whatever is intended by the name of the Father and the Son, he is equally concerned in it. It is not the name Father, and the name Son, but the name of God (that is, of them both) that is intended; -and, by the name of God, either his being or his authority is signified. If it be used in the first way, then the being of the Spirit must be the same with that of the Father; if in the latter, he has the same authority with him; and he who has the name and authority of God, is God, is a Divine Person.
Again We are said to be baptized into his name (us ro cvqua); and no sense can be affixed to these words that does not include his personality; for they signify our religious owning the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, in our worship, faith, and obedience. As we own the one, so we
own the other; and if we own the Father as a distinct person, so we do the Holy Ghost; for we are alike baptized into their name; equally submitting to their authority; equally taking the profession of their name upon us. Now, to conceive that any one who is not God, should be joined with the Father and the Son for these purposes, without the least note of difference as to deity or personality, is to entertain a notion destructive of all religion, and tending to Polytheism.
2. His appearance under a visible sign argues his personal existence. He took the form or shape of a dove, to make a visible representation of himself by*; for a visible pledge was to be given of the descent of the Spirit on the Messiah, according to the promise; and thereby God directed his great forerunner to the knowledge of him. As at the beginning of the old creation, the Spirit of God moved on the waters, cherishing and communicating a vivifying quality to the whole, as a dove gently moves upon its eggs, communicating vital heat (Gen. i. 2) so at the new creation, he comes as a dove upon him who was the immediate author of it. It was not a real dove that appeared, but some æthereal substance, something of a fiery nature, I conceive, in the form of a dove; and this rendered the appearance more visible and glorious;—and the Holy Ghost is often compared to fire, because he was of old typified thereby; for, on various occasions, when sacrifices were offered, fire came down from Heaven and consumed them. In the next bodily shape which he assumed, it is expressly said that it was fiery: There appeared unto them cloven tongues, like as of fire' (Acts ii. 3) which was the visible token of the coming of the Holy Ghost upon them;-and thus also Christ is said to baptize with the Holy Ghost and with fire,' Mat. iii. 11; that is, with the Holy Ghost, whose purifying grace may be compared to fire. Now, this appearance of the Holy Ghost, in which he was represented by that which is a substance, manifests that he himself is a substance; for if he be merely an influential effect of the power of God,
Matt. iii. 16. Luke ii. 22. John i. 32. The words are ambiguous, and may respect the manner of his descending,—as a dove descends; or the manner of his appearance, he appeared like a dove descending. But this sense is determined, in the other Evangelists, to the bodily shape in which he descended.
we are not taught right apprehensions of him, but mere mistakes by this appearance, These, with the like testimonies in general, are given to the divine personality of the Holy Spirit. I shall next consider those PERSONAL PROPERTIES which are distinctly ascribed to him.
First. UNDERSTANDING, OF WISDOM, which is an inseparable property of an intelligent subsistence, is ascribed to him:The Spirit searcheth all things, even the deep things of God,' 1 Cor. ii. 10. Now, to search is an act of the understanding; and the Spirit is said to search, because he knoweth: No man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man,' which is intimate to all its owit thoughts; so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.' These things cannot be spoken of any but a person endued with understanding; and he who thus searches the deep things of God," the mysteries of his will, counsel, and grace, is therefore a divine Person, whose understanding is infinite. Observe also, that the Spirit is the author of wisdom and understanding in others; and therefore he must have them in himself. And hence he is called a Spirit of wisdom and understanding, of counsel and knowledge.' Isa. xi. 3. 1 Tim. iv. 1. 1 Fet. i. 11.
Secondly. A WILL is ascribed to him; and this is the most distinguishing character of a person. Whatever is endued with an intelligent will, is a person. Now this property is ascribed to the Holy Ghost. 1 Cor. xii. 11.
All these things worketh that one and self-same Spirit, dividing to every man as he will.' What can be spoken more fully to describe an intelligent person, acting voluntarily with freedom and choice, I know not. And I may add, that he who has the sovereign disposal of all spiritual gifts, having only his own will for his rule, is, and must over all God blessed for ever.'
Thirdly. Another property of a living person is POWER. A power whereby any one is able to act according to the direction of his understanding, and the determinations of his will, declares him to be a Person. Thus Job speaks (chap. xxxii. 4.): The Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given m life.' Creation is an act of divine power; the highest we can conceive of. As he is called a Spirit of wisdom and understanding, so he is also of might or power (Isa. xi. 3.); and if we
I suppose these to mean the effects of his operations rather than the properties of his nature, yet he who effects wisdom and power in others, must first have them in himself. To this purpose also is that demand (Micah ii. 7.) Is the Spirit of the Lord straitened?' that is, in his power, that he cannot work in the prophets and in his church as in former days? And the same prophet affirms (chap. iii. 8) that he is full of power, and of judgment, and of might, by the Spirit of the Lord;' or, as the apostle speaks, 'strengthened with might, by his Spirit, in the inner man, Eph. iii. 16.
To complete this argument, I shall add the consideration of those works which are ascribed to him; and which could not with any propriety be so ascribed, unless he be a person endued with divine power and understanding And here I observe, that it is not from any single instance of his works that we shall confirm our argument; for some of them, singly considered, may perhaps sometimes be metaphorically ascribed to other causes; which do not therefore prove that they are persons also (which is the sum of our adversaries, objections.) But as some of them, at least, never are, nor can be, assigned to any but a divine person, so we take our argument from their joint consideration, or the uniform constant assignation of them all to him in the Scriptures, which renders it irrefragable. The nature of the works themselves shall be explained hereafter.
First. He is said to TEACH US: The Holy Ghost shall teach you what you ought to say*.' The Comfortershall teach you all thingst.' He is the Unction which teaches us all things‡ :' He is the great Teacher of the Church, to whom the accomplishment of that great promise is committed, They shall be all taught of God.||'
Let any man, not absolutely prepossessed with prejudice, read that discourse of our Saviour to his disciples, in which he purposely instructs them in the nature and work of the Spirit of God, and he will need no further confirmation in this matter. He is there called the Comforter; the name of a person; of one vested with office; and another Comforter, to distinguish him from Christ, who was
Luke xii. 12. † John xiv. 25. 1 John ii. 27. John vi. 45.