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to love God, to obey his law, and to embrace the gospel ; then it is highly important that they should clearly understand the truth, since it is by this only that they can obtain a right knowledge of God, of Christ, and of their duty. Those who do not understand the truths of the gospel, must be, in a great measure, ignorant of themselves ; and of course it is impossible for them to have a hope, accompanied by proper evidence, of having passed from death unto life.
Finally; all who hupe they are the subjects of divine grace, are bound to try themselves in the light of truth.
To be given up to a false hope, is of all situations the most dangerous. Such are shielded against conviction. The threatenings of the word of God do not alarm them. But such as have settled down on a false hope, though they may feel secure, have more reason to be alarmed than those who have no hope. Very few have given up their hope in this world. Where a person first finds rest, he usually remains through life. Hence, it is of vast importance that we examine our hearts, and not be deceived. 6. He that hath this hope in him, purifieth himself, even as he is pure.” The hope of a real Christian, leads to sanctification. But do the hopes of mankind generally, possess a purifying influence ? There are many, we have reason to believe, who hope they are Christians against evidence, hope in the midst of a general neglect of duty. But of what avail is a hope that has no purifying influence ? that leaves its possessor a selfish, prayerless, impenitent enemy to God? Every false hope shall perish, when God taketh away the soul. O how much to be deplored is the state of that man, who thinks he is ripening for heaven, when he is ripening for hell! Whose dreams of safety shall last only till death, and who, instead of ascending to glory, shall descend into the regions of endless mourning!
PUBLISHED BY THE
AMERICAN DOCTRINAL TRACT SOCIETY.
PERKINS & MARVIN, Agents,
PERSONALITY AND OFFICES
In the work of redemption God makes the fullest manifestation of himself. In this divine work the united glory of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, shines wit the greatest brightness. It enables us to contemplate distinctly the Three, who unitedly are the One Jehovah, the God of salvation. To the DIVINE THREE, peculiar offices are respectively ascribed, the accomplishment of which constitutes the great work of redemption. This work is One. It corresponds with the mode of the Divine Existence, which comprises three Persons existing in perfect unity of being and design. In this Tract it is proposed to exhibit some of the testimonies which the Holy Spirit has given in the sacred Scriptures respecting his own Personality and Office.
I. The Scriptures afford abundant proof of the Personality of the Holy Spirit. In other words, they teach that he is a personal Agent, in the same sense that the Father is a personal Agent, or that the Son is a personal Agent.
In exhibiting some of the proofs which the Scriptures afford that he is such an Agent, I begin with the benediction which concludes the Second Epistle to the Corinthians. “ The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all.” In this form of blessing, which is implicitly a prayer, while it is evident that Christ is named as an Agent distinct from the Father, it is equally evident that the Holy Spirit is named as an Agent distinct from either.
In Christ's commission to his disciples, just before his ascension, he says, “Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” Matt. xxviii. 19. Here are the same Three to be always acknowledged distinctly in the administration of the sacred ordinance of baptism. The Son is to be acknowledged in distinction from the Father, and the Holy Ghost in distinction from both the Father and the Son. It is therefore plainly implied, that as the Father is an Agent, and the Son an Agent, so also is the Holy Ghost. Speaking of the united participation of believing Jews and believing Gentiles in the blessings of the gospel, the apostle says, “For through him [Christ) we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.” Eph. ii. 18. The same distinction implying three Agents, is here brought to view.
There is another class of texts which more directly assert the Personality of the Holy Spirit—those which ascribe personal agency to him. If a being who acts, is an agent; and if one who acts voluntarily and understandingly, is a Personal Agent, it will appear from the texts which follow, that the Holy Spirit is such an Agent. Our Saviour told his disciples, “ The Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”
John xiv. 26. " When the Coinforter 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.” John xv. 26. I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you ; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.” John xvi. 7, 8. In these divine declarations, the Holy Spirit is expressly said to perform the agency of teaching, reminding, testifying, reproving. As an intelligent Agent he is sent to perform these acts: He proceeds from him who sends him: He comes and accomplishes the agency assigned to him. What can be plainer than the exhibition which is here made of the Holy Spirit's Personality ?
In the passages referred to in the margin,* we read of his speaking through the apostles ; revealing ; teaching ; bearing witness ; separating men to the apostleship; sending them forth to preach; signifying his pleasure respecting particular acts of the apostles; forbidding them to preach in certain places; appointing overseers to the church ; inspiring the ancient prophets ; effecting the renovation of the heart ; conferring gifts on men; giving efficacy to the preaching of the gospel ; leading Christ; giving spiritual life; dictating to the apostles ; searching the deep things of God; strengthening the servants of God with might; speaking to the churches; being grieved, &c. Can these operations be ascribed to any other than an intelligent, voluntary Agent? And does not the fact that they are ascribed to the Holy Spirit, prove that he is such an Agent ? If all these instances are to be resolved into the bold figure of personification, is it not without a parallel in all the sacred writings, even the most poetical, and much more the prosaic ?
The Holy Spirit is an adorable Agent, a Person in the Holy Trinity, possessing attributes equal with those of the Father and the Son. It is true, that he is sent bay the Father, and the Son; that he receives from the Son and communicates to men. Christ promised his disciples, “I will send him unto you;" and he said, “ He shall glorify me; for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you.” John xvi. 7 and 14. But this does not imply any inferiority in his nature or attributes. It only shows that in the Divine operations by the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, there is an official order. That no inequality exists between them, is evident, since the work which is ascribed to the Holy Spirit in the economy of redemption, is no less that of divine efficiency, than what is ascribed to the Father, or the Son. It is no less an exertion of omnipotence to renew, than to create; no less an exhibition of divine goodness and g ace to sanctify, than to atone.
* Mark xii. 11. Luke i. 26;
xii. 12. Acts v. 32; xiii. 2; xii. 4; XV 28; xvi. 6; xx. 28; xxviii. 25. Tit. ïi. 5; Heb. ii. 4.' 1 Pet. i. 12. Matt. iv. 1. John vi. 63. Acts ii. 4. 1 Cor. ï. 10. Eph. ii. 16. Rev. ii. 7, Eph. iv. 30.
The Holy Spirit is by those who are inspired by him expressly called God. When Ananias had been guilty of attempting to deceive the apostles respecting the price of his possession, Peter said, “Why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land ? Whiles it remained, was it not thine own ? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? Why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.” Acts v. 3, 4. Spiritual teaching, convicting men of sin, renewing the heart, sanctifying the affections, producing holy love, repentance, faith, and all the Christian graces, are called the operations of God, and are ascribed to God. But the same operations and effects are ascribed to the Holy Spirit. Therefore, the Holy Spirit is, according to the Scriptures, truly God.
Both the Personality and Divinity of the Holy Spirit are clearly proved by what our Saviour says of the peculiar heinousness of the sin of blasphemy against him. “Verily I say unto you, all sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme: But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation.” Mark iii. 28, 29. in these words, blasphemy against the Holy Ghost is represented as distinct from all other kinds of blasphemy. They teach that men may blaspheme the Father, and that they may blaspheme the Son, and yet, on the terms of the gospel, be forgiven ; but that if they blaspheme the Holy Ghost, they cannot be forgiven. Consequently, the Holy Ghost is not a mere influence or attribute of the Father, or of the Son; for if he were, to blaspheme that influence
l; or attribute, would be the same thing as to blaspheme the Father or the Son. But a distinction is here made by our Saviour between that blasphemy which is against the Holy Ghost, and all other kinds wherewith soever they shall blaspheme. Since, therefore, blasphemy against the Holy Ghost is distinct from that against the Father, or the Son, the Holy Ghost is distinct from either of the other adorable Persons in the Trinity ; and being One against whom men are liable to commit blasphemy, this distinction implies personal, or voluntary and intelligent agency.