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view the Holy Ghost as being in an important sense distinct from the Father and the Son-one possessing mind, agency, and properties peculiar to a distinct subsistence, which we, for the want of a better expression, call a person. We feel ourselves warranted to consider the Spirit in this light; and the doctrine is an unspeakable consolation to pious minds. He is neither the Father, nor the Son; and yet, He is mentioned in our text as an intelligent agent, possessing glorious authority, and to whose service, “ Barnabas and Saul” were solemnly appointed by the religious rite of ordination. It is useless to plead that the figure of speech, called personification, is used here by the inspired historian. It is utterly inadmissible to understand it so in this simple unornamented narrative. Figures appear very beautiful in poetry, and in the elevated diction of eloquence, and are not calculated to mislead the mind; but there is nothing in the text, nor in its connection, to justify such a construction.
The sacred writer evidently speaks of the Holy Ghost, as a distinct agent, and one of equal authority and glory with the Father and the Son; and, therefore, He must be of the same Essence; for there can be no more than one eternal and Almighty God. The inspired penman had the example and authority of Jesus Christ, for speaking of the Divine Spirit in this manner. Nothing can be more definite on this doctrine, than Christ's parting discourse with his disciples, recorded in the 14th, 15th, 16th and 17th chapters of John. There, in grave, simple, solemn and unornamented language, He saith to them--"I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you forever; even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him; but ye know Him, for He dwelleth in you, and shall be in you.” And again, in
chapter 19. 26, the Redeemer saith—" But the Comforter who is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you." And Jesus adds in the 15th chapter and 26th verse, “ But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth who proceedeth from the Father, He shall testify of me.” In the 14th chapter and 7th verse, Christ saith—-"Nevertheless I tell you the truth; it is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you.” Our Lord proceeds, in the 13th, 14th and 15th verses, in saying-“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. All things that the Father hath are mine; therefore said I, that He shall take of mine, and shall show it unto
If the Personality of the Holy Ghost is not established by these sayings of Christ, then, no language can convey the idea of it, nor prove the doctrine. Certainly, the Lord has spoken in the passages which have been cited, as if he meant to settle the question forever. The Divine Spirit is four times called, “the Comforter;" and He is 13 times mentioned by the personal pronouns, He, Him, and Himself :-and He is likewise called, “the Holy Ghost,” the very name which Mr. Lindsey has cautioned his readers not to use.
The Rev J. Yeates, when he had examined the above mentioned passages, in answering his Trinitarian opponent, the Rev. R. Wardlaw, felt himself under the necessity of acknowledging his embarrassment. It is not an easy mat
ter for the most acute disputant to evade or explain away such definite expressions, so often repeated. They can agree to no other doctrine but a Trinity in Unity; and, on that ground, all is natural, beautiful, and important.
The above mentioned passages—the apostle's commission and benediction with the words which we have chosen for our text, sufficiently confirm the doctrine in view, if nothing more could be advanced in support of it. As the same kind of evidence, however, is extensive—a few
passages more will be collected, to corroborate the testimony which has been advanced. Acts 15. 28.
6 For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things.” The Rev. R. Wardlaw, says on this passage—“To speak of any thing seeming good, to a mere attribute or operation of the Deity, is a great deal more than unnatural :-it is non
The apostles “were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia ;” then, “ they assayed to go
into Bithynia ; but the Spirit suffered them not.” Acts 16. 6, 7. Forbidding and preventing, most certainly denote will and agency. Such things cannot be consistently said of any of the Divine perfections or operations ; for, it is acting like God Himself. The Personality of the Spirit was, undoubtedly, the doctrine which the sacred writers intended to communicate, in what has been cited. When Agabus“ took Paul's girdle, and bound his own hands and feet” with it, he “said, Thus saith the Holy Ghost, so shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.” Acts 26. 11. When St. Paul's doctrine was rejected by the dews at Rome, he said, “ Well spake the Holy Ghost, by Esaias the prophet, unto our Fathers”. Acts 28. 25. On another occasion, he said, “ the Holy Ghost witnesseth
in every city, saying, that bonds and afflictions abide me.” Chap. 20. 23. In his first Epistle to Timothy, 4th, 1st, he says, “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith.” In addition to what has been said on the Spirit's Personality, we will add these three sacred passages_“Wherefore, as the Holy Ghost saith, To-day, if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.” Heb. 3. 7, 8. “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the Churches." Rev. 3. 22. “But all these worketh that One and the self same Spirit dividing to every man severally as He will." 1. Cor. 12. 11. The Personality of the Holy Ghost, appears in a very striking light from the Scriptures which have been exhibited. He is said to come--to show--to teachto testify-to receive to hear-to speak—and to comfort his people :—and He is distinguished from the Person of the Father, and from the Son, in an explicit and guarded
Such definite language on this sublime subject, is more than sufficient to seal the lips of Anti-Trinitarians forever. But if reason must decide in this case ; then, let the authority of the Scriptures be denied; for this doctrine is certainly contained in them. To think of supporting a system of christianized Deism from the Bible, is really a very singular undertaking.
The Son, and the Holy Ghost, are mentioned as distinct persons in Matthew 12. 31, 32. In that passage, our Lord saith—“All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men:--but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him :-but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come."
The Spirit must either be a Person in the Essence of God, or else a mode of his operation. But, can it be, that
sins against Jehovah may be forgiven, while transgressing against one of his perfections is an unpardonable offence! David sinned against God; yet he received his pardoning grace :--and we are told in the passage that has been mentioned above, that sins against the Son may be blotted out. It is truly surprising, if it be more heinous to sin against a divine influence, than to sin against the very Person of God. It is also said in the Scriptures, that our sins grieve the Spirit ; but that cannot be literally true, if he be nothing but a mode of Divine operation. The reverse of this has, however, been sufficiently established; and therefore, we shall proceed ;
II. To prove the Supreme Deity of the Holy Ghost.
This will not be denied by those who are willing to allow that He is a distinct Person from the Father and the Son. It has been made clearly to appear, that, in His Personal capacity, He is neither the one nor the other ; and yet, I hope we shall be able to show, that he is truly God. This, we will now attempt to prove, from the names, perfections, and operations which are ascribed to Him in the inspired writings. And,
1. Some of His glorious names will be mentioned.
He is called God in the highest sense of that momentous word. When Peter admonished Ananias for his duplicity, he said "why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost ?—thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God." Acts 5. 3, 4. “ God is a Spirit ;"_and this Person in God is called, “ the Holy Spirit”—and, “the Spirit of God.” St. Paul says—“Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you ?” 1 Cor. 3. 16. And again, he says"your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost.? Chap. 6. 19. In the 16th verse he adds, “ Ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said I will dwell in them, and walk