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ferent they must be three Gods. Further, upon your construction of the
passage, I also argue thus:
thus:-Either Jesus was God or a man at the time he went into the river to be baptized. If he was God, then God descended upon God.
If this was only his human nature, and he had left his divinity in heaven, then it was not his own deity which descended to him, but the Holy Spirits ; consequently the Christ was composed of the man Jesus and the third person in the Trinity ; no account is given of the second. This inference really appears to me unavoidable upon your system.
Let me again reason in a different way. This passage is either figurative or literal. If it be merely figurative, you have no argument for the distinct personality of the Holy Spirit, the whole of your reasoning is built upon its literal interpretation. Then what follows? 1st. That the invisible God was absolutely seen and moved about from place to place. 2nd. That a brute animal was really and truly God; for remember, it must be literal ; a real dove, flesh and blood, descended,
and this was actually God. 3rd. This person, this dove, descended upon Jesus and infused divinity into him. Or, 4th. If this was only the person of the Holy Spirit, and the essence left in heaven, he could not infuse what he did not possess. And in this case, 5th. The Holy Spirit must have two natures as well as Jesus Christ, one divine, the other brutal.--This reasoning equally applies to the passage in the Acts, only, in this case, the person of the Spirit, instead of being an animated brute, was an inanimate substance, a tongue; and still further, this person was divided into a number of tongues, and sat upon each of the apostles.
How much more easy and rational is įt to explain the passages in some such manner as the following. That when the man Jesus had been baptized by John, there was a bright, luminous appearance in the sky, in form like a dove, which descended towards Jesus. Into him was then infused the divine spirit, or a power of controuling the laws of nature, and a voice from above was heard, “ This is niy beloved son in whom I am well pleased!"
The immediate agency or operation of the Deity was frequently made known by a luminous appearance; in the bush to Moses, in a pillar of fire, in the tabernacle by his glory or Shechinah; and the
pasşage in Acts speaks of the cloven tongues being “ like as of fire.” The expression of Lake too is merely that it appeared in a corporeal form, not that it was a real body or person. And he adds,
" like a dove,” alluding to its descent like a dove. The other evangelists only say, that the Spirit descended on him like a dove.
Such are the arguments which are urged in proof of the personality of the Holy Spirit of God.. I think that you must allow, that if they prove the personality of the Spirit, they prove a great deal
I will briefly sum up in a few lines what they prove. They prove
the scriptures to be a person and a God, forming a fourth
person in the Godhead. They prove the personality of the earth, of nature, of a cloud, of light and truth, of a Jewish offering, of an altar, a pillar, a stone, a song, and the wind. They prove the distinct personality of the spirit
of man, of sin, of the soul and heart, of dry bones, of the law, of wisdom, charity, the deep, the heavens, blood and mountains, They prove that the third person in the Trinity is superior to the second, and that the apostles wished for the Corinthians the communion or participation of a person. And they prove the deity of a dove and a tongue! I say, your arguments prove all this, unless we are to take your mere word, that in one place the expressions must be figurative and in another they must be literal; which is assum
you And now, my Christian friends, I expect again to be informed, that all this is carnal reason. Remember, I warned you at the commencement, that I could meet you upon no other ground, than that of scripture explained consistently with reason and with itself.
All I am anxious about is, is it fair reasoning? Is there any sophistry in it? I am sure I am not conscious of any ; I believe there is none. If, as I said before, I am to be answered by invective, or to be told, “ Here it is and you must believe it,” I
have to prove.
have only patiently to submit. I think I shall be satisfied with my conduct; and I most' sincerely pray to God, that you may be satisfied with your decision, and not decide till you are secure of the approbation of your own minds, and of the great Searcher of Hearts, the God of truth.
By God, for noblest uses given,
And, jointly, lead the soul to heaven."