Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

and a part retained? Can a person be divided among several? "God also bearing them witness both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles and gifts of the Holy Ghost,” literally divisions or distributions of the Holy Ghost. “Hereby we know that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.” Now we ask, putting all these representations together, if it appears that the apostles, who received the Holy Spirit, understood it as a Person? Had they considered it as a Person of the Trinity equal to the Father, is it to be supposed that they would have failed to have made him an object of worship? But they did no such thing. While under the influence of this Spirit they join in an act of worship, in which they address themselves solely to the Father, and attribute to his agency these very miracles said to be wrought by the Holy Spirit. "Lord thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is. And now Lord behold their threatenings, and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word; By stretching forth thine hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done in the name of thy holy child Jesus.”

Our argument is now closed. Let us sum it up, and consider it in the aggregate. We have said that the Holy Spirit is not a Person of the Trinity, or a person at all, because, in the first place, it is represented in Scripture as sustaining the same relation to God that the spirit of man does to man. In

the second place, I appealed to the personal experience and consciousness of all to say, if there were in their minds the same ground and material for the personality of the Holy Spirit, which there is for that of the Father and of Christ? Thirdly, we inferred it was not a person from its want of a proper name, the name by which it is designated being the name of a thing not of a person, being in the neuter gender with neuter adjectives and pronouns to agree with it. Fourthly, it was never recognized nor worshipped by the Jews as a Person. The same general language respecting its office and operations is current and common in the Old Testament, and yet no one appears to consider it a Person, or other than the power or energy of God. Fifthly, and what seemed to us demonstration, there is no instance in the Bible, from the beginning to the end, of an act of worship being paid to the Holy Ghost. In the sixth place, we adduced two passages in Scripture, which seemed to deny in so many words the existence of a third equal and infinite Being in the universe. In the seventh place, we adduced many instances, in which Spirit of God is evidently used for his power or essence, considered in action, and in all cases spoken of as his Spirit, in such a manner as is totally inconsistent with all idea of independent existence or action. In the eighth place, we argued that the one conversation of Christ, in which alone he was personified, was an exception to the general tenor of the Scriptures, and therefore it would be

irrational to make that the rule, and the other instances, in which it is spoken of as a power or influence, the exceptions. In the ninth place, we showed why Christ used this language, and compared it with the event, and the fact that the apostles never considered it a person.

If, when there is in the Scriptures such a mass of evidence against the personality and Deity of the Holy Spirit, any continue to regard it as a Person, and worship it as such, all we can say is, they do so not only without one example in Scripture, without any authority whatever, except tradition, but against a mass of evidence which, were it possible to abstract the subject from religious prejudices, would be absolutely irresistible.

But it may be asked here, if the Spirit of God mean nothing but God himself, why should it ever have been spoken of as in any measure distinct? The answer to this is found in the fact that all the language of the Bible is accommodated to human conceptions, is humanized, if I may so speak. As we have no idea of pure spirit, we resort of course to something known, to shadow forth that which is unknown. In speaking of the Deity, we resort to human similitudes. Thus, in the very commencement of the Bible, the Deity is represented as speaking when he created the world. Not that he really spoke, for this would involve the supposition of human organs and a material frame. But it is a way of representing the transaction in such a manner as to be level with our conceptions and

capacities. Just so is it with all those passages which represent the Deity as possessing human organs, and human ways of receiving knowledge by means of the senses. Thus he is said to “measure the waters in the hollow of his hand.” “The eyes of the Lord are in every place.” By this language it would seem that the Deity received knowledge in a manner similar to ourselves, by organs of vision, and that he was in one place in order to be a spectator to what was happening in another. But it produces no error, for we all interpret it as a figurative expression, meaning that the Deity, in some manner incomprehensible by us, knows every thing that takes place throughout the boundless extent of the universe.

But men did not stop here in humanizing the Deity. They spoke not only of the hand, the arm, the eye

of the Deity, but they spoke likewise.of his Spirit or soul, as they spoke of the spirit or soul of man. But in this case, men have ultimately been misled by their own language, by being betrayed into a false analogy. Because man is made up of soul and body, the same idea is erroneously transferred to God, as if it were possible that he too consisted of two parts,—as if it were possible for the Spirit of God to be any thing but God himself. It is not recollected that though a body may have a spirit, that a pure Spirit should have a spirit separate from itself, is a manifest contradiction.

Yes, Christians, God is a spirit, his essence alone pervades all space. He is infinitely present to

every particle of matter, and every intellectual soul throughout the universe. Every particle, and every soul is upheld in being, and in the exercise of all its powers, by Him alone. If any of these particles, or any of these souls have varied from their ordinary action into any thing miraculous, it has been by the exertion of His power, His volition. In the language of the apostle, it is “God who worketh all in all.” Ye do greatly err then, not knowing the scriptures, when ye set up any other Spirit or Person besides this one all perfect and all pervading Spirit as an object of worship.

Think then, I beseech you, think seriously whenever or wherever you hear or see such a form of devotional address as this, “O! God the Holy Ghost have mercy on me;" think if it be not utterly unscriptural, unjustified by any example or precept in God's word; think if it be not a presumptuous human invention, which well deserves the rebuke of God, "who hath required this at your hand?"

I have but one more thought to add. It is said in Scripture, “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you. If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy.”

« ПредишнаНапред »