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spirit, is of a neuter gender : Not because they supposed spirits have not distinct personalities. But such was the idiom of their language; or their notion in this thing. And in the inspired writings of the New Testament in Greek, language was adopted, as it was found. No new language was invented. A babe, in the Greek language, is expressed by a neuter noun ;-to brephos. A youth also is thus expressed ;-to poidion. And even the children of God are known by a neuter noun and article ; tu telina tou Theou. . Are babes, youth, and the children of God, not persons, but things? The word pneuma, of neuter gender, which the Greeks used to denote spirit, is adopted by the inspired writers, to signify any spirit, whether the Holy Spirit, or spirits of angels, or of men. •ó Believe not every spirit-Many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God. Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, is of God. And every spirit, that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, is not of God." Were the false teachers, here referred to; or the spirit of the wicked one, which governs them, of neuter gender? Must we conclude that they were not persons, but things, because they are expressed by the word pneuma, a neuter noun? This word, rendered spirit, is the same, which is applied to the Holy Spirit. And if it indicate, that the Ho. ly Spirit is not a Person; it equally indicates, that neither angels nor men are persons; for it is applied to them, as well as to the Holy Ghost. Yea, it equally indicates that God has no personality, For we read “God is a Spirit,” pneuma ;-the same neuter word, in the original. The dying Stephen said, “ Lord Jesus receive (to pneuma mou) my spirit;"-in the neuter, gender, both article, and noun. Does inspiration mean to teach here, that Stephen was not a person, but a mere thing? The inspired writers would use good grammar. If the noun were neuter, though expressing a person, the pronoun and relative, answering to it, must also be neuter. But every Greek scholar kaows, that this affords not the least argument against the real Personality of the Holy Ghost. But it was esteemed by President Edwards, (as well as by many others) an unhappy thing, that this mere Greekisin has been copied by the English, especially by the translators of our Bible; and thus neutral pronouns applied to God. This, that great divine labors in one of his sermons to show, is infinitely unworthy of the Holy Ghost; and is treating him with indignity. This unhappy cir. cumstance, of applying the pronouns which, and it, to the Holy Ghost, bas, by accustoming the cars of people to these neutral words, done much toward preparing the way to lead men more easily to doubt of the real personality of the Holy Ghost. It has made it seem to some (though without any argument) that the Holy Ghost is not a Person, but a thing! But Christ, in the afore-quoted pasages, relative to the Comforter, gives to the Holy Ghost a new name, of masculine gender; and all the words relating to it, are masculine, and indicative of a distinct Personality from the Father and Christ.
We find, in the various parts of the Bible, the names, relatives, and actions of Agents, are applied to the Holy Ghost. We read of his being sent of the Father, of his coming, testifying, striving, being grieved, hearing, willing, teaching, showing, speaking, conveying, inspiring, moving, appointing, reproving, converting, and comforting. Is the language of the Holy Oracles so unmeaning, or inder
terminate, that after all, which is said of the Holy Ghost, it is erroneous to believe in his real personality? Whose wisdom can decide this? Who among men can decide, that when the Book of inspiration throughout does represent the Holy Spirit as a Person, distinct in the Godhead, yet we are not to conceive of him as being a distinct Person ?
Let the following scriptures, in addition to what has been said, be devoutly weighed. “And they were filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance." " The Holy Ghost said, Separate meBarnabas and Saul, for the work, whereunto I have appointed them.” “ So they being sent forth by the Holy Ghost.”_Holy men spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” “ As the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear bis voice." Whose voice? The Holy Ghost speaking does not say my voice; but his voice, the voice of another Person in the Trinity. He testifies of the Father. Again. Paul preached the gospel, “in words, which the Holy Ghost teacheth.” “Why hath satan filled thine heart to lie unto the Holy Ghost ?” “ Grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed to the day of redemption.” “ All these worketh one and the self same Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will." "The Spirit here willeth! “ Your bodies are the temple of the Holy Ghost.” * As many as are led by the Spirit of God, are the sons of God." ." The Spirit suffered us not.” " The Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself unto this chariot." “ The Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip.” te But he, that speaketh against the Holy Ghost, shall never be forgiven."
The Spirit itself maketh intercession in the saints, according to the will of God.” Here the Spirit and God are represented as two Persons.
fl The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit; that we are the children of God.” In the beginning of the Bible the Spirit is spoken of, as a personal Agent: “ The Spirit of the Lord moved upon the face of the waters." In the last chapter of this Book of grace, we have the same: “ The Spirit and the bride say, Come.” And through the whole sacred volume, we have the like representa; tions. Some instances of this have been noted. Many more might be given. " Thou sendest forth thy Spirit, they are created.” “ The Spirit lifted me up." “ The Spirit of the Lord hath taken him up, and cast him upon some mountain." * The Holy Ghost spake by the mouth of David.” “Well spake the Holy Ghost by Esaias.” “If I cast out devils by the Spirit of God.”_" The Spirit searcheth all things, yea even the deep things of God." Here, as in numerous other passages, God, and the Spirit of God are distinguished as two Persons. Elihu says, “ 'The Spirit of God hath made me.” “And the Spirit said unto Peter, Be. hold three men seek thee I have sent them.” “It seemed good unto the Holy Ghost, and to us."-“ He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the Churches."
Do not these, and the numerous similar scriptures clearly indicate, that there is a third Person in the Godhead? Can this be denied, without depying plain and abundant scripture testimony ? It cannot be denied, that the sacred oracles do, in fact, represent the Holy Ghost as a distinct Person in the Godhead. Who then has wisdom acute enough to correct these divine representations, which God himself has made ? Is not his word the only rule of faith? Is it to be construed with words of human wisdom? or of the wisdom, which the Holy Ghost teacheth? Are the testimonies, divine
ly given upon this subject, to be discredited, ber cause they are not fully comprehended, or do not please our taste ?
Relative to the Personality of the divine Spirit, does not the account given by our Lord concerning the sin against the Holy Ghost, go to substantiate it ? Matt. xii. 31, 32; “ Wherefore I say unto you, . 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 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." (See also Mark iii, 28, 29; and Luke xii. 10.) All sins, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme; and also speaking against Christ, may be forgiven. Here it seems are blasphemies against the Father, and against the Son, that may be pardoned. What can the blasphemies be, which are distinguished from speaking against Christ, and from the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, but blasphemies against the Father ? Sins against the Father and the Son then, may be pardoned. “But whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall never be forgiven him!” Does not this strongly indicate, that the Holy Ghost has personal existence? Can this be only the operations of the Father personified ? Would it be so much more dangerous to speak a word against merely a person in figure, than to be guilty of all manner of blasphemies against God, and against Christ? What man, after this description given by Christ,of the sin against the Holy Ghost has knowledge acute enough to decide, that no such real person exists; and that to believe, the affirmative, is a hurtful error? This account of the