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boldness of losty conception weave arnund it the other perfections of Deity? Then what are we to make of the attribute of power itself, which is given to the Spirit of God, as we read of “many signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God?" Is it at all conceivable that truth, holiness, goodness, grace, glory, eternity, omnipresence and omniscience should be attributed to power,--and power too? Is it not absurd to talk of the power of the power of God? So far from the Spirit of God being identical with the power of God, they are accurately distinguished in the sacred scriptures, "not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit saith the Lord."2
When therefore we survey the different parts of our argument, we confidently challenge any and every man who can divest his mind of prejudice, and who will rationally and coolly consider the import of language, to say, whether there is not the most overwhelming proof of the Spirit's personality, or real personal existence. If He possesses the power of spontaneous action, and actually and voluntarily exerts it ; if Me performs those actions which can be predicated only of a personal intelligent agent--speaking, testifying, searching, shewing, and the like ; if He operates, and is affected in such way as to imply personality--working miracles, conferring gifts, being vexed and grieved, &c.; if He discharges the functions of various offices--teaching and sanctifying; if He is possessed of various attributes of a personal intelligent agenttruth, holiness, goodness, grace, power, &c., ought we, can we for one moment doubt with respect to His real personal existence? If these things do not prove personality what else can? It is just as impossible to prove the personal existence of Jesus Christ, or even of God the Father, as it is of the Holy Spirit, if there is no conclusiveness in the arguments that have been adduced.
1 Rom. xv. 19,
2 Zech. iv, 6.
THE PERSONALITY OF THE SPIRIT.
An attempt to understand the Unitarian doctrine concerning the Spirit
Quotation from Faustus Socinus—Quotation from Dr. Channing-From Leslie—The Unitarian’s alternative--His notion of the spirit examined Put to the test of common-sense interpretation of scripture, John xiv. 24 26—Another supposition with regard to the Spirit examined—Its falsity exposed, when put to the test of scripture, Heb. ii. 4: Acts, xiii. 2: Acts, viii. 28: xi 19, 20: xv. 28: xvi. 6—If Unitarian views are true, the sacred writers liable to a serious charge, Acts, vi. 3: John, i. 33: Acts, v. 3, 4– The Unitarian notion of inspiration examined-Nature of inspiration-An argument thence deduced in favour of the divine personality of the Spirit -Unitarian view of inspiration—Quotation from Priestley and Belsham, 2 Tim, iii. 16: Mark, xiï. 11-Dr. Bancroft's idea, Mat. xii. 31.
Perhaps it will be objected that we have not faithfully and accurately represented the opinion of those against whom we have been directing our arguments:--that we have taken advantage of expressions, and attributed to them sentiments which they disavow:--that they do not mean to intimate any such absurdity as that a mere abstract perfection of Deity, apart and separate from God Himself, should be represented as endowed with the attributes of personality. We confess that it is exceedingly dillicult to tell what they mean, and that we find it much easier to understand the proposition setting forth this great mystery, that the Divine Being—the One God exists in three distinct personal subsistences, than the assertions and explanations they advance relative to God and the Spirit of God. Let them speak for themselves. The Holy Spirit of God, they say, must be understood in the same sense as when we speak of the Holy wisdom, or the Holy will, or more especially the Holy power of God. Ilear a great Socinian, or as he would be called in modern parlance, a learned Unitarian on this subject. We shall translate his language for our English readers, but his own words may be consulted in the note. * “ Briefly, every Divine power and
* Breviter omnis divina vis et efficacia Dei spiritus appellari potest, et idcirco Deus ipse dicit, se replevisse Dei spiritu Beseleel filium Uri; (Exod. xxxi. 3.) quia videlicet eum inplevisset scientia artis mechanicæ, qua opus erat ad ea omnia fabricanda, quæ ad sui cultum ut fierent, Mosi præceperat. Verum quia vis illa et efficac'a divina, qua aliqua ratione res sanctificantur, aliis longe præstat estque Dei maxime propria, camque et ipse frequentissime ac plurimum exerit, et sacræ litteræ commemorare necesse habent; propterea factum est, ut Dei spiritus, aut etiam simpliciter Spiritus nomine vis ista significetur, quæ, ut diximus, peculiari nomine Spiritus sanctus appellatur. Est autem hæc Spiritus pro vi et efficacia appellatio per mctaphoram a vento et flatu ducta ; quo res nimirum qualitate aliqua facile replentur, et simul commoventur atque agitantur. Siquidem ea vox, quæ in divinis litteris reddita est Spiritus apud Hebræos et Græcos, ut etiam in. terdum apud Latinos vox ipsa Spiritus, ventum et fatum significat. Eademque prorsus metaphora in eadem ipga re, de qua loquimur, apud Latinos obtinuit. Pro eo enim, quod sanctæ litteræ Dei spiritum dicunt, ipsi divinum afflatum nominant, et quempiam Dei numine afilari aiunt vel etiam, ut Cicero (a) de poetis dixit, divino quodam spiritu afflari.
Quamobrem non erat, cur quisquam Dei spiritum in sacris litteris personam aliquam significare existimaret, etiamsi quædam illi attributa inveniret, quæ personarum sunt propria. . Sive enim vis ista atque efficacia divina, quatenus Deus per eam agit, consideratur, et Dei spiritus nominatur, metonymiæ sane et prosopopejæ aptissimus est locus; Metonymiæ quidem, ut spiritus Dei nomine ipse Deus, qui spiritu suo agit, significetur ; prosopopæjæ vero, ut quando per spiritum suum Deus agit, ipsi spiritui actio tribuatur. Sive ead. m ista vis atjue efficacia divina, quatenus res, in quibus Deus agit, ab ipsa afficiuntur, consideratur, ac Dei spiritus appellatur, nulla est causa, cur similiter vel per metonymiam is, qui ab eo spiritu affectus aliquid agit Spiritus Dei nomine intelligi non possit, vel per prosopopæiam, quandoquidem is, qui ita affectus est, per eum spiritum agit, actio illa ipsi Dei spiritui ascribi nequeat. 1) ferusio Animadversionım Fausti Socini Senensis, in assertiones Thcologicas Collegii Posnaniensis de Trino et uno Deo ; adversus Gabrielem Eutrop:sun Canoniem Posnaniensem, ab eodem Faus. Soc. c. xi. p. 291, 292.
a! Cic. pro. Arch
virtue can be called a Spirit of God, and therefore God Himself says, that he had filled with the Spirit of God, Bezeleel the son of Uri; because, forsooth he had filled him with the knowledge of a mechanical art necessary to his making all those things as they should be, which he had prescribed to Moses in relation to His worship. But because that Divine power and virtue, by which, in some way, things are sanctified, is especially proper to God, and which He both most frequently and most of all exerts, and the sacred Scriptures find it necessary to mention, is by far more excellent than others; therefore it has happened, that that power is denoted by the name of Spirit of God, or even simply the Spirit, which, as we have said, is called by the peculiar name the Holy Spirit. But this
, name of Spirit for power and virtue is metaphorically taken from a wind or breath, (Patu,) by which things, that is to say, of some sort, are easily filled, and at the same time mixed up and agitated. Inasmuch as that word, which in the sacred Scriptures is rendered Spirit by He:brews and Greeks, as also sometimes by Latins, that very Word Spirit signifies a wind, a breath, (flatum.) And generally the same metaphor, in the very same thing of which we speak, obtained among the Latins. For that which the sacred Scriptures call the Spirit of God, they denominate a Divine breath (aflatum,) and say that one is inspired (afllari) by the impulse (numine) of God, or even, as Cicero said of the poets, by some Divine Spirit to
“Wherefore it vloes not follow that one should think the Spirit of God in the sacred Scriptures signified any person, though he should find some things attributed to it which are proper to persons. For whether that Divine power and virtue in so far as God acts by it, is considered and is called the Spirit of God, that is iruly the filtest occasion for metonyMy or personification (prosopæix) ---of metonymy indeed,
as by the name of Spirit of God may be signified God himself, who acts by his own spirit; but of personification, as when God acts by Ilis own Spirit, the action may be attributed to the Spirit itself.
Or if that same Divine power and virtue is considered, in so far as the things on which God acts are affected by it, (abipsa,) as it is called the Spirit of God, there is no cause why, in like manner, either by metonymy he, who affected by that Spirit does any thing, might not be understood by the name of the Spirit of God; or, by personification, seeing that he who is so affected, acts by that Spirit, that action cannot be ascribed to the Spirit of God.”
Now if there is not mystery here, we leave it to the common sense of our readers to say, whether there is not a great deal of mysticism, or learned subtlety. It is indeed exceedingly difficult to tell what those, who deny the personality of the Spirit of God, do really believe in relation to him. One talks of a powerful influence of the Deity (a vis et efficacia) in general ; another of a special influence, enabling its subject to work miracles ; another of an “extraordinary power or gift of God, first to our Lord Jesus Christ himself, in his life time, and afterwards to the Apostles and many of the first Christians, to empower them to preach and propagate the Gospel with success." At one time we are told it is an attribute, at another a figure of speech, a metonymy, a metaphor, a proropopeia, at another a gift, a grace, the knowledge of some mechanical art ; at one time, the chief of the Heavenly spirits, at another supreme minister of God ; at one time the energy or Spirit (temper probably) of God; at another God Him.' self: now something different from God, and then again the very God himself. There is no uniformity or consistency in their opinions. Surely it is not half so difficult to
1 Lindsey's Memoirs, p. 212.
2 See Dr. Channing's remarks on Dr. Worcester's letter to him, pages 38, 39.