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We have long contemplated upon these points, and arguments, and as we are not wedded to terms, we would freely give up the term, person, when speaking of the Holy Ghost, if it would answer any valuable purpose, and in nothing compromise any principle dear to christians; but we learn it is not the term only which separates us in opinion, but a real difference in sentiment, respecting the divinity of the Holy Ghost.
From the character of the work we have in hand, it is suitable we should submit to the reader, a few thoughts on the real Divinity of the Holy Ghost. We say a few, for perhaps a few pages on this important point of doctrine, may answer all the purposes, which we expect; for the reader will have apprehended that a body of the testimony we have already considered in the foregoing pages of this work, applies with equal verity and force to this branch of our subject. Our object, therefore, will be to condense our remarks on this topic of doctrine, and the reasons which influence our belief.
The citing a few passages of Scripture we consider will shed some light, and support our own belief; even should they contribute but little in answering the various objections that are raised against, we trust they will have their interest, as passages of the Oracles, of divine truth.
Premising, that we are commanded to be baptized in the name of the Holy Ghost, as well as in the name of the Father and the Son. This we have coincided in ; and it has ever appeared to us as a strong argument in favor of the real divinity of the Holy Ghost. If the Holy Ghost, is nothing but “energy, or active force,” as some Socinians, and Arians, have termed it, there appears great
absurdity in this ordinance;- but on the other hand, if the Holy Ghost possesses vitality, rationality, and real divinity, inherently, and naturally, in himself, then indeed, we may see as great propriety in being baptized in the name of the Holy Ghost, as in the name of the Father and Son.
We have used the words vitality, rationality, and divinity, as these words express our views on this subject, better than any other words, which we are acquainted with ; and we find we are not alone in these views on this subject, for we find, that some eminent writers, in the English Church have made use of the same words in expressing their views and beliefs.
This doctrine is surely a very important, and deeply interesting one. We feel the pressure of many weighty reasons, urging us, on the score of duty to contend in all christian meekness and energy in favor of the doctrine. It appears to us dangerous, to depart, in the least degree from the most plain and obvious meaning of Scripture. If we are not deceived, the Scriptures are clear and plain on these points. One of the gospel passages which we think favors the idea that the Holy Ghost possesses vitality, and real divinity, as we term it, was uttered by our blessed Lord, in these words.
“ And 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 him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.” “ But is in danger of eternal damnation."
There is a repetition of the enormity of this sin, and its denunciation.
And from it, there appears no doubt, but that the Holy Ghost, is equal to the Son, in point of dignity and divinity, otherwise we can see no propriety in the aggravated and heinous character of this blasphemy, in the sight of God, when uttered against the Holy Ghost.Here, we may with great propriety, once more refer to Bishop Pierson's reasonings on the dignity of the Father and Son; viz. “the magnitude of Adam's transgression, consisteth abundantly, in its being committed against an infinite, holy, just, and good God, for the more worthy a character is, the more honor, glory, and worship is justly due to him, consequently a non-performance of such glory, honor, and worship, joined with wilful disobedience and malice, must amount to a sin of the greatest magnitude, which can be committed, by rational and finite beings." We are aware that the
opposers of the doctrine of the Trinity, may start one objection against this mode of reasoning; which is, that if this precept and reasoning are true, it proves that the Son is not divine, or not equal with the Holy Ghost. We think, this is not so, for it is stated, that “ a non-performance of such honor and worship, joined with wilful disobedience, and malice, must amount to a sin of the greatest magnitude,” &c. And when we reflect, Jesus Christ, when veiled in the flesh, was acting in his priestly character or office. In that state of humiliation, no doubt many who saw his miracles, did not know, and were not aware of, the dignity of his character. This appears to be the case with the cminent apostle Paul in his unconverted state ; for we learn, that when he journeyed, and drew near to Damascus, and our Lord displayed his glory, Paul cried out, 66 Who art thou, Lord? and the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest.” We find Paul
in the next words, crying out, “what wilt thou have me to do?" From this we are under the necessity of concluding, that a sin against the Son, is not equal to a sin against the Holy Ghost ; on account the Sin against the Holy Ghost, is sinning in full light and knowledge, and certainty, and truth, and must be wilful and malicious; and Sin against the Son, may be forgiven, on account of the ignorance and unbelief, which has prevailed in the human heart, respecting the dignity of his character. This appears additionally, and abundantly clear from the declaration of the same Apostle, in one of his epistles, in which he says, he was "a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious; but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.”_We may, therefore, very safely conclude, that nothing can be inferred from this passage, against the real divinity of the Son, or the Holy Ghost.
Respecting the divinity of the Holy Ghost, it appears to us, that the very name, Spirit of God, which is so frequently used in every part of the Scriptures, demonstrates to every impartial mind, that the Divine Spirit possesses real divinity, as absolutely as the Father or Son. This idea, recieves confirmation, from the last discourse of our Lord with his disciples, which is touchingly distinct and clear, on what we call the doctrine of the Trinity. We would here refer to 15th chapter of John, verse 26, “ But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you, from the Father, even the Spirit of Truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me.” Again, John 16, 8, “And when he is come, he will reprove the world of Sin, and of rightcouness, and of judgment.” Again, verses 13, 14, und 15. “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of trutli, 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 shew it unto you."
The Spirit of truth, “ being sent by our Lord from the Father, to testify of him," are personal characters, and plainly distinguish “ the Holy Spirit of truth,” from the Father and the Son ; And his title as the Spirit of truth, together with his proceeding from the Father, can agree to none but a divine person. And that he proceeds from the Son, as well as from the Father, may be fairly argued from his being called the Spirit of Christ, (1. Peter i. 11.) And from his being here said to be sent by Christ from the Father, as well as sent by the Father in his name;" according to the act and counsel of the Godhead; all point to the Holy Ghost, as one of the distinctions of the Trinity. This text from Peter, it will be well to cite here, and to remark upon it concisely. “ Searching what, and what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ which was in them signified, when he testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glories that should follow."Here we feel that doubts are dispelled the Holy Spirit spoke by the prophets, he testified of the sufferings of Christ beforehand, he testified of “the glory of his resurrection, ascension, exaltation, and the effusion of his Spirit; the glory of the last judgment, and of his Eternal Kingdom : and also the glories of his grace, in the hearts and