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peace of thy children”, —and has he by the same prophet admonished those children to take heed “ To the law and to the testimony, for if they speak not according to this word, there is no light in them”? Then surely the eye
of the Lord is ever watchful of his word, and his arm protects it. And men might as easily demonstrate that the light of day is corrupted at its source, and that the sun is now no longer what God made it,-as prove the truth of God to be turned into a lie by the adulteration of that scripture, the whole of which was given by the inspiration of God, and its every part written by holy men of God as they were severally moved by the Holy Ghost.*
1. But we will proceed to the contents of the text, and show that its every particular is confirmed by other passages in the scriptures; and this will be its best defence. The text speaks of three personal Agents; the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost. I call them persons, because of the titles given them, and the sundry offices and operations assigned them.
That the Father is a person, no one will question. That the Word, who is likewise called the Son, and the Lord Jesus Christ, is a person, is equally obvious. But the personality of the Holy Spirit is not so readily conceded. It is objected, that the very title of the Spirit”, is itself a sufficient refutation of the notion of his distinct personality. Nor do I wonder at the stand made here; because if this ground of objection fails, it is vain to look out for any other, since the Spirit is represented through all the scriptures as a personal agent. But this objection is really groundless. For the title of the Spirit, imagined to militate against the point in question, is truly a direct proof of it. Every spirit is a person; I mean every reasonable intelligent spirit. Now the Holy Ghost is called the spirit of wisdom and knowledge; both as possessing those attributes in himself, and as communicating them in a supernatural degree and manner to the human nature of Christ.* He is also the instructor of the mystical body of Christ, or the Church. Thus on the day of Pentecost, “ they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.”+ Therefore the Spirit is a person. But it has been further objected, that the word in the Greek being of the neuter gender, of itself shows the Spirit to be im-personal. This too is a mistake ; for the whole argument rests upon the nature of the subject, and not at all upon what gender its name may be of. Thus the definition of a person, by one of the soundest Philosophers that ever enlightened à dark age, the celebrated Locke, is this;“ a person is, à thinking intelligent being, that has reason and reflection, and can consider * Isaiah xi. 1.-3.
*2 Timothy, iii. 14-17. 2 Peter, i. 19-21,
itself as itself, the same thinking thing in different times and places”. Hence personality is not strictly applicable to the beast, which is said to have no understanding. It is not possessed of a thinking intelligent spirit. But to man personality is applied with propriety; not as relating to his body, but to his spirit or soul, which is endowed with mental powers. His personality is independant on his animal frame; it centers entirely in that thinking thing within him, which is of an immaterial nature, and therefore naturally indestructible and immortal. Accordingly Paul, in his rapture to the third heavens, speaks of himself as himself, whether in the body or whether out of the body. He likewise declares it to be the desire of himself and other persons, to be absent from the body, in order that they might be present with the Lord. The thief also was to go, in his own proper person, to Paradise, in company with the Lord, although his body was destined to see corruption in the grave. Thus angels are persons, although they have no corporeal frames. “ He maketh his angels spirits”; and since they are not mere material ones, but of an intellectual nature, they are all possessed of distinct personality. It is then obvious, that as the Holy Spirit is distinguished, both in this text and in others, from the Father, and from the Son or Word, he must be endowed with a distinct personality. Ye do always resist the Holy Ghost,” said Stephen
to the Jews. Whilst Christ told them that, “ whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him ; but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven bim.” We shall, however, adduce ample proof of this, in dwelling on the agency of each of the persons.
2. The persons in our text are distinct agents. In the fourth chapter of this epistie,
We have seen and do testify, that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.” The sender cannot be the sent, nor the sent the sender. These two are one in nature, but in personality and agency they are distinct. The Son's office is that implied in his name of Jesus; and here the Father sends him to execute the duties of that office, namely, to be the Savis our of the world. There was an understanding between them, and each had pledged himself to perform his own part of the existing contract, called in the scriptures the everlasting covenant, and the covenant of peace.* Therefore Christ remarks, in the 5ih of John, My Father worketh hitherto, -and I work”. The work of Christ was especially that of the ratification of the covenant, and the confirmation of the testament, by the shedding of his blood. And hence his blood is called the blood of the covenantt and of the testament, for the
re, mission of the sins of his people.
* Isaiah liv. 9, 10. lv. 3. Zechar. ix. 9-12. Matt. xxvi. 28. Hebrews, jii. 20.
Now the distinct agency of the Holy Ghost is alike manifest. For as we have shown that the Father sert the Son to execute the duties devolving on him as the Saviour of his people from their sins, so we can show that the Holy Ghost was also to be sent in his turn for the performance of sundry acts and operations.
" Behold I send the promise of my Father upon you," was Christ's parting pledge to his disciples. And what had the Father promised to the Son? Let the event determine. “ Having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost," said Peter," he hath shed forth this which ye now see and bear.”*
And in proof of the Spirit's personal agency in the church, it will be enough to direct you to the Acts of the apostles, which ought rather to be called the book of the Acts of the Holy Ghost. Let the following passage suflice as a specimen. “ As they ministered to the Lord, the Holy Ghost said, separate unto me Barnabas and Saul, for the work whereunto I have called them. So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed.”+ This surely determines him to be the Lord of the harvest, to whom Christ urged his disciples to pray, that he would send forth more labourers. I This is also clear, from the remark of Paul to those of Ephesus. “ Take heed to yourselves, and to all the flock over the which the Holy
• Luke xxiv. 49. Acts i. 8. and ii. 4, 33.
† Acts xiii. 1-4. # Matthew ix. 38. § Acts xx. 28. xvi. 6-10. viii, 29-40.